The only way of blessing

Over the next few days I intend to quote from ‘Bible Delight’ By Christopher Ash and published by Christian Focus which has as a subtitle – ‘Heartbeat of the Word of God: Psalm 119 for the Bible teacher and the Bible hearer’ and so is for all of us church leaders and church partners alike. Todays quote is here.

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the instruction of the LORD!Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who  seek him with  their whole heart.Yes, who do no wrong, but in his ways they walk!You have commanded your precepts to be kept deeply.

Psalm 119 vs. 1-4 (Literal translation by the author)


Verses 1-4 state the great objective foundation truth upon which the whole psalm is built. Both verse 1 and verse 2 begin ‘Blessed are those who(se)…’ Here at the start is a great billboard: Come this way for blessing! There is only one kind of human being who will be blessed. And the challenge to us is this: the man or woman who is blessed is not the one who rests in a status, but the one who walks in a way. Right at the start of our Psalm we need to recapture a manner of thinking about the Christian life that we have neglected. If we asked many Christians how blessing comes, their first answer would not be to describe a walk. ‘Blessing’, they might say ‘comes through an assured status. I am justified by faith. I know that sin’s penalty is paid. I am confident that the righteous anger of God has been poured out on Jesus Christ who died as my substitute (a propitiatory sacrifice). And now I have in my pocket a sure ticket that will give me access through the pearly gates when I die. That is blessing.’

That is gloriously true. But if we stop there it is a truncated truth because we have here a way (1a),  a walk (1b), a keeping (2a), a seeking (2b), a doing (3a), and a walking again (3b).

In verse 4 he tells the LORD, ‘You have commanded your precepts to be kept deeply!’

He says this, not because the LORD did not know (‘LORD I thought you might like to know that…,’ or ‘just in case you had forgotten’), but to show that he, the singer, has begun to grasp this great truth. He has begun to understand that this is the only way to blessing, to walk in the way of the LORD with diligence and integrity.

These words ‘walk’, ‘ways’ and ‘keep’ (that is, guard), crop up again and again. The governing metaphor of the life of faith in this psalm is to walk in the way of the LORD. We are to think not just of a ticket, but of a journey. And we will not be able to sing this psalm unless we are persuaded of this gateway truth.’

We need therefore to ask who can sing this psalm. Because we might read in v.1 the words ‘Blessed are those whose way is blameless’, and respond, ‘Well, there we are, I knew I couldn’t be expected to sing it! Only one man has ever been blameless, and it is not me. The Lord Jesus Christ can sing this psalm. But he must sing it alone. I always suspected it was a solo and not a congregational piece.’

But this is not so.

(continued tomorrow)

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