Psalm 38, 119:25-48
Some days I struggle to find the passage that moves me. Some days I every passage moves me and sometimes in disparate ways. Today was a day that had me flailing around like an octopus trying to grasp the many inspirations in the various passages. This being Advent, I finally settled on the Psalm 119 passage as my focus for the day.
As it is a season of renewal and preparation, Psalm 119 gives us a guideline for spiritual growth and development. It leads us toward spiritual maturity all the while realizing that we must count on the Lord to be our teacher. As Christians, we have the spiritual guide in the Holy Spirit as we seek out God’s truths for our lives.
The passage begins with the writer lamenting the shortcoming of man’s ways as he juxtapositions them against the way of God, moving the writer to a place where he is ready to learn. At that point the passage moves to a series of verses that begin with the verb of the writer’s request from God. Finally, the passage completes with a series of “I” statements from the writer as he pledges to be faithful to the instruction of the Lord.
Fine and dandy for the psalmist. But what about us?
It is quite simple really.
The ways of the world. The ways we create. All of them fall short of the expectations of God. When we accept that our ways do not make the best path for us, we can then turn to the right ways of the Lord and at that point are ready to take the instruction he has prepared for us. Until we realize with certainty that the expectations of the Lord are truly better for us than anything we can come up with ourselves it is easy to pay lip-service to worship, but when the reality strikes home and becomes the centerpiece of our meditation, we can learn and apply the lessons.
In the field of education, we appreciate the difference between teach and learn. When we are ready to learn, the Lord stands ready to teach, give, lead, turn, and confirm, for only then will the lessons have meaning for us.
Learning changes behavior. It physically alters the brain and leads to new ways of thinking and thus action. Once we have learned those lessons the Lord has for us, we turn to application of them. We then may make the pledges and keep them.
In this season of Advent, let us be prepared to learn, take, follow, turn, and accept what the Lord is ready to do for us.