Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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This morning I read the following section of the longest chapter in the Bible. And these are some of the thoughts I had while I read it.
Psalm 119:97: “O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”
You who have heard me and believed me are free to meditate on the law of God all day long without the interference of useless religious weights. If you have listened to me, you are not burdened with dead works, useless ceremonies, or vain religious works that would occupy your mind and consume your life. You are free to come to know God’s “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” and be “made free from the law of sin and death”.
Psalm 119:98: “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies, for they are ever with me.”
Not only are you free to have your minds on the law of God all day long without the interference of useless religious weights, but God is free to have His mind on you all day long without any interference. He will “never leave you nor forsake you”, and living in His presence makes you wiser than anyone who is not living in His presence.
Psalm 119:99: “I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for thy testimonies are my meditation.”
In 1977, when I attended the Graduate School of Theology at Oral Roberts University, I had more understanding in the things of God than any professor in the school, not because I had more understanding than they, but because I meditated on the law of God without interference. My heart and my mind were not cluttered with vain religious activities and dreams. The truth had made me free from having to pursue a religious career. I was not burdened with false doctrine, with organizational strategies, with the strain of trying to “network” with vain men for a successful professional career, or with life-wasting rehearsals for religious performances. I had more understanding than all my professors because they were all divided in their hearts between the law of God and the spirit of Christianity.
Psalm 119:100: “I understand more than the ancients because I keep thy precepts.”
When Moses gave Israel the law, he told them that if they kept that holy law of God, it would be their wisdom. If they did not mix God’s law with the vain religious traditions of the nations around them, then they would not become mixed up themselves. As a young man serving Christ, I discovered that I had more understanding than any of the white-haired elders in any sect of Christianity. This was because I was keeping God’s precepts and was not trying to blend God’s precepts with the traditions of men. They were mixing Christian doctrines and traditions with the Word of God, and that mixture had confused them. But I was not confused because I had been taught to keep God’s precepts as holy and not to mix them with any human thought, mine or anyone else’s.
Psalm 119:101: “I have refrained my feet from every evil way,
that I might keep thy word.”
You will never fully keep the Word of God as long as you are a partaker of any evil way. Jesus has delivered us from every evil way that Christianity offers, so that we may humble ourselves completely to keep God’s Word alone. It was the desire of my heart to know God and to serve Him acceptably, and He delivered me, and He will deliver everyone who hears me, from the very thing that would have hindered me from keeping His Word — the abomination of Christianity. In one place David sang, “I hate every false way.” When I read those words as a young man, I felt those words deep in my soul even though I didn’t yet have the knowledge that would enable me to be able to hate every false way. I wanted to hate every false way, but unknown to me, some false ways were still influencing my heart. But God, “who knows the heart” knew I wanted to “refrain from every false way” and keep His Word with all my heart, and He has brought me to a place where I can do that without the interference that vain men offer me every day. The law of God is saving me and keeping me from every false way.
Psalm 119:102: “I have not departed from thy judgments, for thou hast taught me.”
I was instructed in the right ways of God from the beginning, and because I was instructed rightly, I have maintained God’s ways. Had I rejected my instructor and His godly counsel, I would have departed from the judgments of God, trusting my own opinions or the opinions of some white-haired religious leader instead. And because I was taught the truth and have not departed from God’s judgments, I have confidence toward God that He will save me “and my house” for we will serve the Lord.
Psalm 119:103: “How sweet are thy words unto my taste!
Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”
From the beginning of my walk with God, and because I was taught by men who knew God, I have considered the words of God to be sweeter than the words of men. I was taught to love whatever God says or ever has said, to eat His words and let them nourish my soul. I was taught to enjoy them, to pursue them, to pray for them, to receive them gladly, and I was taught that if God said anything different from what I thought, then I was foolish and had to repent and agree with God. I love whatever God says!
Psalm 119:104: “Through thy precepts I get understanding; therefore,
I hate every false way.”
Look at me now! I was as blind as anyone, as foolish, or more so than any. But God’s precepts have given me understanding. No other precepts gave me understanding in the things of God. They got in my way. I loved as a young man the understanding that God’s precepts gave me. Nothing else did that for me. And because I loved what God’s precepts did and honored God’s precepts above everything that everybody else said, He has brought me to a place in the Spirit where I can “hate every false way.” He has led me out of Christianity, which is a place I would never have come to on my own. I would have died for Christianity, “thinking to do God a service”, but His precepts gave me understanding and delivered me from that darkness, and those same precepts have delivered everyone who hears me, so that they too, can “hate every false way.”