John Stewart | The Voice of Zion October 2023 - The Sabbath Word Article --
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. – Psalm 119:1–8
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the entire Bible. Throughout its 176 verses, the writer expresses thoughts of delight, love, and obedience. The importance of God’s Word as the highest authority for a child of God emerges as central theme in the psalm. The familiar 105th verse comfortingly describes God’s Word and its care for the sojourner even now 3,000 years later: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Although it is impossible to ascertain who wrote Psalm 119, Biblical scholars suggest that perhaps David authored this psalm during his younger years when he hid from the jealous King Saul who sought to kill him. In his desperation, David sought temporary refuge among the Philistines and thus witnessed their pagan culture. The writer’s thoughts and prayers beseech God’s protection for a young person experiencing worldly trials and temptations.
Blessed Are the Undefiled
Although the psalmist laments over his failures, sins, and temptations (v. 36–38), he is moved to open his psalm by rejoicing that weak and stumbling travelers can yet remain in God’s grace and love: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord” (v. 1). The writer of Psalm 119 conveys the abundant joy and freedom of traveling on the narrow way keeping faith and a good conscience.
Similarly, the opening verse of Psalm 32, written by David, expresses the same wonderful joy over God’s love and care: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Experiencing God’s love and journeying under His immense grace thus constrains the children of God to also care one for another as indicated in the theme “The Dual Command of Love” assigned to this 19th Sunday after Pentecost.
Apostle John wrote of Christ’s love and grace: “Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:16,17). Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34,35).
God’s grace is the best teacher, as Apostle Paul wrote, “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12,13).
The Work of the Holy Spirit
The believer rejoices over God’s grace and can travel moment by moment believing sins forgiven in Jesus’ name and blood. When matters in life press, the wayfarer can yet dip from the fountain of grace that bursts forth in Zion! Apostle Paul instructed young Timothy in this way regarding care of the conscience: “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck” (1 Tim. 1:18,19).
Apostle John describes how it is the Holy Spirit that reveals the truth of God’s commandments: “This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (1 John 3:23,24).
The words of the psalmists and of the apostles apply not only to believers living in antiquity but prophetically extend to believers all the way to the end of time. This call extends even to those lost sheep who have strayed away from the care of the Good Shepherd. They too, along with us, can believe sins forgiven in Jesus’ name and blood. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.