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Beliefs Have Consequences Commentary # 22
© 2000 Dorothy A. Miller
“Greater Than God’s Name?”

      Is there anything greater that the name of God?  Most of us would respond, “No of course not!” Surprisingly though, according to the Bible, there is something greater.  Psalm 138:2 says, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

      How can anything be greater than the name of God?  I believe this is how:  The Word of God, the Bible and all it contains, defines the character of God and illuminates us as to who God is, what His names actually mean and what He requires of us.

      For a moment let each one of us take a short “fantasy” test.  Imagine for a moment that you received as a birthday gift a lottery ticket, and then against all odds your ticket was drawn as the winner.  You have just won 33 million dollars!  How do you feel?  Would you be able to contain your excitement?  As you went to sleep that evening (if you could sleep at all) and when you woke up in the morning, what would be on your mind?

      A few days ago I was reading in Psalms 119 and some words grabbed my heart.  Verse 162 says, “I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.”   Spoil here refers not to food left too long in the refrigerator, but to the booty of war, a discovered treasure which you have the right to keep.

      These words greatly convicted me.  Do I really treasure God’s Word?  Am I as happy to possess and read my Bible as I would be to hold that winning lottery ticket? 

      You may remember that this Psalm, chapter 119, is quite unique.  Have you ever discovered its special identity?  Yes, it is the longest chapter in the Bible.  Yes, it is an alphabetical and acrostic Psalm. (This means it is divided into twenty-two parts, answering to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Every part is divided into eight verses; and each verse begins with that letter of the alphabet which forms the title of the part. For example, the eight first verses have the Hebrew letter 'aleph prefixed, the second eight verses have beth, each beginning with that Hebrew letter; and so on for the rest of the Psalm.) 

      The most exciting part to me however is that every verse in this chapter describes in a unique way, the Word of God. 

      Ten different words are mainly used to describe His Word, and each gives a different slant.

      In the 176 verses of Psalm 119 you will see God’s Word described as:    

 1. Testimonies;
 2. Commandments;
 3. Precepts;
 4. Word;
 5. Law;
 6. Ways;
 7. Truth;
 8. Judgments;
 9. Righteousness;
 10. Statutes.

Six of the verses also use:

 1. Faithfulness;
 2. Judgment;
 3. Name;

      The thrilling part of reading this Psalm is to see how every condition of life and the deepest needs of every person are addressed.  It may be that this Psalm is a chronicle of life as experienced by King David, and as could be experienced similarly each one of us. For example:

    1. You want to be blessed?
    Psalm 119:2 “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. 

    2. You want to find relief from guilt and anger?
    Psalm 119:6 “Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. 
    Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”

    3. You want the ability to avoid sin? 
    Psalm 119:9 “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.”
    Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

    4. You want to be smart and wise?
    Psalm 119:66 “Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.” 
    Psalm 119:98 “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.” 
    Psalm 119:104 “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” 
    Psalm 119:130 “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

    5. The world sends you to psychiatrists and psychics, but the Bible reveals to us the only  way to move safely into the future.
    Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
        This verse uses the example of something used in the days of the Psalm writer. They used little lamps fastened to each foot, like little flashlights so as they moved a leg forward the dark, each foot step would be illuminated so that they could safely find their way.  God offers us enough light to make our way, but does not burden us with the whole path lit up by a flood light as we often beg Him to do.  Its a matter of trust in His word and His way.

          Do you love His Word today as much as you would love finding a great treasure?...as much as holding a winning lottery ticket?  I am afraid most of us have a long way yet to go in this area.  God has graciously given us each more time to learn this vital lesson, and to grow closer to Him through the study of His Word.  Do we believe God’s Word is the most valuable treasure we could ever find?  Will we begin to value it that way now? Will I?  I hope so...                                         
                                                         Beliefs have Consequences!
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Beliefs Have Consequences Commentary #23
© 1999 Dorothy A. Miller
“Sounds Right to Me

      Today, while reading Psalm 126, I was reminded of something a  neighbor lady once told me.  She said that for years as a little girl, when the church congregation sang the classic old hymn Bringing in the Sheaves, she was singing with great devotion, “Bringing in the Cheese, bringing in the Cheese.” It sounded right to her!

      Interestingly, as I read this Psalm from which that classic hymn was written, this thought came to me.  Most of us, who have trusted Jesus as Savior and carry the name of “Christian,” are not much closer to understanding what bringing in the sheaves means than was my neighbor when she sang, “Bringing in the cheese.”

     That Psalm says in verses 5 & 6 “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

      Our society, our world, believes that our top goal in life is to be happy.  Whatever it takes to bring pleasure to ourselves, this is our purpose, our raison d’etre, our reason for being.  It sounds right to us. After all what could be better than personal happiness?

      For those who believe that God created us and wrote a manual called the Bible on how best to operate this creation, we must look at His Word to see if striving for happiness is indeed the essence of life.

      As seen in that Psalms passage, and throughout the rest of the Bible, God has an order, a progression of how we are supposed to live.  Sow in tears-reap in joy, planting in sorrow and bearing precious seed—bringing in the sheaves of harvest.  It is kind of similar to...work before wages.

      We are told in the Bible, in Isaiah 53 that Jesus was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”  In Philippians 2 we are told to have the mind of Christ Jesus and the passage tells us what that mind is.  Verses 7 & 8 tell us that “He made himself of no reputation, He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” 

      God then records the payoff in verses 9-11.  “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

      Then the application for us is made in verses 12-15.  “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out [or live out] your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.  Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”

      The bottom line is this. The message we get from the world is, “Don’t worry, be happy.”  This is your goal.  Your purpose in life to please yourself.  But listen to what God says about our purpose for existence.
      Isaiah 43:7 “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”
      Ephesians  2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
      Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” 

      Jesus explained to His disciples in John 12:25-26 “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”

      Again He said in Matthew 23:11-12 “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

      The apostle Paul who God used most to write the New Testament said in Galatians 2:20-21 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

      Let me offer three short verses that I believe sum up God’s wonderful design for living that is totally different from what the word says is true.  Jesus explains that ultimately, after some tears, and commitment to honor Him, He gives us joy and peace and a happiness beyond anything the world has to offer.

      He said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” and John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
All of that “sounds right to me” because it is what God says...
                                                              Beliefs Have Consequences!
                            
Next commentary “Faith... But In What?”                                                                             
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