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Discover and Celebrate

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Psalm 119:65-72
Mothers’ Union Harvest

The psalmist has had some bad things happen to him, he begins telling us this in v67. But by v71 he says that he can see some good has come out of his afflictions. There’s a story of a man that had something bad happened to him, listen to it now in his report of his accident:

 “When I got to the building I found that the hurricane had knocked off some bricks around the top. So I rigged up a beam with a pulley at the top of the building and hoisted up a couple barrels full of bricks. When I had fixed the damaged area, there were a lot of bricks left over. Then I went to the bottom & began releasing the line. Unfortunately, the barrel of bricks was much heavier than I was; and before I knew what was happening the barrel started coming down, jerking me up.

I decided to hang on since I was too far off the ground by then to jump, and halfway up I met the barrel of bricks coming down rather fast. I received a hard blow on my shoulder. I then continued to the top, banging my head against the beam and getting my fingers pinched and jammed the pulley. When the barrel hit the ground hard, it burst its bottom, allowing the bricks to spill out. I was now heavier than the barrel. So I started down again at a high speed. Halfway down I met the barrel coming up fast and received severe injuries to my shins. When I hit the ground, I landed on the pile of spilled bricks, getting several painful cuts and deep bruises. At this point I must have lost presence of mind, because I let go of my grip on the line. The barrel came down fast-giving me another blow on the head and putting me in hospital. I respectfully request sick leave.”

We laugh but this a story of someone having a really bad time but he does at least have the hope of time off work for a while.

We all go through bad times of all sorts and we can all react differently in various situations. Sometimes we realize afterwards that something good has come from it – even if it is only our learning not to do things a certain way again.

The writer of this psalm is telling us that bad things happening are good if it draws us close to God. I agree with that because I know people who have only really come to know the love of God because some bad thing, often the death of a loved one has pushed them to look to or for God for comfort. And often it is good to discover that even when things are seem to be going wrong, God is in control. He is still good and He is still working.

In this psalm the writer declares that he accepts God’s commandments. When we believe or trust someone we are ready to listen to them. That’s what he is saying here: I believe God and now I am ready for His instruction.

The trouble is that most people today don’t actually know God and even if they do they don’t totally believe He knows what is best for us.

In this psalm though the writer has suffered and it has pushed him over the edge of thing he can sort things out himself and so he turns to God. He realizes that he needs to start depending on God and not his own strength or knowledge. He recognizes that God is holy and works in a holy way. That God is a God of love and everything He does is in love. God is good and therefore His ways are good too.

The Bible tells us in several places that ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom’. And real wisdom is knowing that God is smarter than I am. Wisdom is acknowledging that because God made me, He knows what’s best for me. Wisdom is recognising that even when I don’t fully understand His laws I’m going to do what He says. He knows far better than Oprah Winfrey or Marjorie Proops! Decisions should be made matching His Word rather than our culture.

Personally I think that discovering God’s ways is most certainly a cause for celebration. The so-called ‘freedom’ of choosing for our selves is much harder. I can think of many a difficult decision I’ve had to make and have eventually realised that it is much easier to let God decide. For example I’m a workaholic and will often run myself raggedly into the ground. God told us to work for six days and have a seventh day of rest. When I do this I know that I’m actually more efficient not to say happier and healthier! I’ve learnt the hard way!

I think back to when my children were in their teens and, all being musicians, we had a real problem when some of the bands and orchestra’s they were in began holding Sunday morning rehearsals. I know that many parents have this problem, mostly with sporting activities.

My advice is to do what we did, listen to what God says, the Sabbath is holy, keep it holy by putting God first. I didn’t allow my children to opt out of church and go to rehearsal. Have they suffered as a consequence? No. They ALL use their musical skills, one even teaches it, in various ensembles and/or worship. We still go to concerts to see them perform long after those whose parents who caved in and let them go to the rehearsals have given up, on their music and their faith.

God knows better than we do and that is something to celebrate! He gives His wisdom FREELY and generously and I for one am eternally grateful.

I echo the psalmist when he says:  The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.  Amen to that!

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