There are sicknesses and diseases which come upon us that are not man's attack upon us. But there are also afflictions which enemies bring upon us. Of such troubles the psalmist spoke in Psalm 119:77, 78, where he wrote: "Let Thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for Thy law is my delight. Let the proud be ashamed: for they dealt perversely with me without a causes but I will meditate in Thy precepts."
What we find here and must learn is that because God made and fashioned us in His own image to walk in love toward Him, we sinners do not deserve to live on this earth, even as God told Adam: "In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." And as Paul states in Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death."
The psalmist had confessed that he deserved the affliction which men had brought upon him; but now he prays that in the mercy of God he may be given life wherein he will walk in God's commandments. The unbelievers will be punished with the shame of being cast into the lake of fire. The psalmist, however, wants to live, not to enjoy feasting, worldly pleasures, and amusements, but to serve God as man was made and fashioned to do.
What an example we have here to follow. Let us examine our soul as to why we want to live here on this earth. The psalmist does not pray for God's mercy because he keeps God's law. That earns us absolutely nothing. But he wants to live so that he may serve God as is his calling on God's earth with God's creatures. We sing these words, but let us also make them our prayer:
Show mercy, Lord, that I may live.
For in Thy law is all my joy;
While those who wrong me are rebuked,
Thy precepts shall my thought employ.
In His mercy God makes us want to live a life of love toward Him. In that mercy Christ died that we might live. In that mercy Christ was taken to heaven that we might be lifted up to live with Him in perfect sinlessness. The wages of sin is death, but God's mercy gives us life.
Song for Meditation: Psalter #331
Why not sing along??
Placing ourselves, our persons, our inmost heart and mind before the face of the living God, we may address an idol, a god of our own imagination, that is neither God nor Lord nor righteous, that is wholly like unto ourselves; to whom we speak but who does not speak to us; whose voice cannot possibly be heard in our inmost heart. And thus praying with ourselves and to ourselves, it is wholly conceivable that we approach this idol of our imagination with our abominable tithes, fasts, works, reforms, charities, philanthropies, devils cast out and wonders performed, and say: I thank thee, God, that I am so good, while all others are evil! . . .
And the reason is, that we did not pray to God, but with ourselves!
We were never in the presence of God!
His holiness did not flash into our inmost soul; His sovereign majesty never overawed our deceitful heart; His voice never thundered into our conscience: Thou shalt love Me!
But what if we pray to God who is God? . . . . – Herman Hoeksema [Standard Bearer, Vol. 8, pg. 218]
- Date: 2-August