Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. (Psalm 19:13)
Last time we talked about temptation and how it comes from our own desires. But, temptation could also come from external sources (although I believe we all carry enough baggage on our own). Things we see, hear, taste and touch:
Don’t be tempted by their beauty; don’t be trapped by their flirting eyes. (Proverbs 6:25)
So she tempted him with her charms, and he gave in to her smooth talk. (Proverbs 7:21)
Don’t let wine tempt you, even though it is rich red, and it sparkles in the cup, and it goes down smoothly. (Proverbs 23:31)
So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. (Proverbs 6:29)
Things of power, relationships, and money.
But I almost stumbled and fell, because it made me jealous to see proud and evil people and to watch them prosper. (Psalm 73:2-3)
The wicked will not rule the land of the godly, for then the godly might be tempted to do wrong. (Psalm 125:3)
My child, when sinners tempt you, don’t give in. (Proverbs 1:10)
Have I put my trust in money or felt secure because of my gold? (Job 31:24)
Now the things that can tempt us are legion, but not all of us are tempted by the same thing. In fact what tempts one, is no big deal for another. But understand, you can follow the temptation or you can escape it:
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
I suppose this passage is the NT support for this Psalm. I asked two questions at the top, dealing with the words deliberate and control. But there’s one more important question to ask: What is freedom? That’s next time.
I love you, Lord; you are my strength. (Psalm 18:1)
Last time we looked at the nature of God and how He loved us—like a Father. We also camped on those three little words: I Love You, and how we shouldn’t hesitate saying them, because it may be too late and the privilege of bringing reconciliation or hope or joy or belonging (and a myriad of other accompanying characteristics with love) is lost.
But I think that the silence and hesitation of saying “I love you” may be very natural. Why do I say that? Do you know how many times someone in the Bible says to the LORD “I love you?” ONCE. UNO. In all of Scripture, only one, single, solitary time does someone say to the LORD, “I love You.” And you know who it is right? It’s gotta be David right? A man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14); and if he knew God’s heart, then he knew that God would love to hear “I love you” from His child. And so the verse at the top of the page is from Psalm 18:1. The first thing out of David’s mouth in this song, in this prayer is: “I love you LORD.”
One of the first theological tenets that is learned by every kid in Sunday School is: God is love. The whole verse goes: We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. Godislove, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. (1 John 4:16) Don’t you think that a God who IS love, would want to hear that He is loved? And yet all we can muster up in the Bible is one time?
Now there is a time in the New Testament where words “I love you” appears, but it’s kinda coaxed:
After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)
Now Peter is not hurt by the fact Christ asked him the question three times. It has to do with his level of commitment, and you discover that, when you look up the Greek word for love. The first two times Christ asks: Do you agape love me? And twice Peter responds, “You know I phileo love you.”
The J.B. Phillips translation reveals the nuance that is missed in most other English translations: When they had finished breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others?” “Yes, Lord,” he replied, “you know that I am your friend.”“Then feed my lambs,” returned Jesus. Then he said for the second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” returned Peter. “You know that I am your friend.”“Then care for my sheep,” replied Jesus. Then for the third time, Jesus spoke to him and said, “Simon, son of John, are you my friend?” Peter was deeply hurt because Jesus’ third question to him was “Are you my friend?”, and he said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I am your friend!”“Then feed my sheep,” Jesus said to him.
In the end, Peter appeals to Christ’s omniscience, and Christ knowing that Peter was not there—yet—Jesus still gives him his assignment. And that should speak volumes to all of us. There are times and places and people when we cannot summon enough love, but Christ still calls us to serve.
Back to David. Although Psalm 119 has no author mentioned, people much smarter than I seem to think this is indeed a Psalm of David. That being said, there are 5 verses in this Psalm which fall into the “Close Call’ category.
O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. (v. 97) I hate those who are double-minded, but I love Your law. (v. 113) You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross; therefore I love Your testimonies. (v. 119) Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold. (v. 127) Consider how I love Your precepts; revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness. (v. 159)
The psalmist tells us that he loves God’s law, testimonies, commandments, and precepts. You could just say that he loves God law. That aligns itself clearly with what Christ tells us in John 14:15 – If you love me, you will keep my commandments. That’s what love does—it not only speaks love, it lives love in a life of obedience. And that’s what keeps you and me from falling into the “Talk is Cheap” trap. It’s not just saying that we love Him, it shows that we love Him.
One other Psalm:
I love the LORD, because He hears my voice and my supplications. (Psalm 116:1)
Here we find the Psalmist not talking to the Lord, but talking about the Lord. Do you? Do you tell others that you love the Lord? The are watching, and they might just listen.
So, if “I love you LORD” is not in your vocabulary, may I suggest to take a page from King David and begin your prayers with “I love you Lord.” Love be doing, by being obedient. And tell someone about it; that you love the LORD. It will radically change your life, and the lives of those you love.
Let the sea roar and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy. (Psalm 98:7-8)
What Kind of River Are You?
The word river is also translated a few times as flood; but there is an interesting thing found in its root word and is not only translated as stream, but also shine, beam, and radiant. Think about when Scripture intersects with river, light and life.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; and You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. (Psalm 36:7-9)
Do you know how a river moves—especially a rushing river? Waves and spray are tossed up and sparkle in the light. This is the sort of river which would clap it’s hands. It is not a lazy river, but a turbulent river.
What kind of River are you? Do you clap for joy that people may hear the you love Jesus? Do you let His light shine on and through you maybe even sparkle the people may see you love Jesus? Or do you allow them a cooling touch or a cooling drink to bring comfort and healing in Jesus name?
That’s what hands do; they clap for joy to the Lord, and they bring healing and comfort. What other ways can you use your hands for the Lord and His People?