Finally, if you’re still tempted to cast aside God’s Word for the sake of worldly gain, consider how he compares the value of God’s word to all earthly treasures:
“Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold” (v. 127).
God’s Word is exquisite, sublime, splendid, and sweet. God’s Word is powerful, faithful, righteous, and true. God’s Word is great, glorious, grand, and good. Why? Because in it we see God! Through it, he draws near! By means of its truth, we experience the incomparable joy of knowing him and seeing him and beholding the beauty of his infinite elegance.
Hear, O Lord, our prayer: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law!” (Psalm 119:18).
Posts Tagged ‘Sam Storms’
Tags: Better than gold and silver, Bible, Bible daily, Bible reading, Bible study, daily Bible, Psalms, Sam Storms, Scripture
Tags: Bible, Bible daily, Bible reading, Bible study, daily Bible, God's Word satisfies and preserves, Psalms, Sam Storms, Scripture
On numerous occasions the psalmist speaks of his commitment to persevere in obedience to God’s Word in spite of the evil done to him by the wicked. What he has in mind is how the Word of God satisfies his heart and keeps and preserves him from the ways and destructive tendencies of those who hate God. “The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law” (vv. 69-70). Or again, “Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words” (v. 161). See also vv. 78, 85-87, 95, 98, 110, 115, 150-151, 157-158.
Tags: Bible, Bible daily, Bible reading, Bible study, daily Bible, Psalms, Sam Storms, Scripture, Sweet Word; sour sin
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. (Psalm 119:103-104, ESV)
We find in God’s Word the only reliable remedy against the impulses of the flesh and the temptations of the world (see vv. 9, 11, 36, 37, 104, 105). Only when God’s ways are sweet to the taste will sin turn sour in our souls.
Tags: Bible, Bible daily, Bible reading, Bible study, Blessings of ingesting God's Word, daily Bible, Psalms, Sam Storms, Scripture
What blessings and benefits accrue to those who by God’s grace and energizing presence actually ingest his Word? What may those expect who fix their faith on obedience to what he has revealed? Here’s a sampling:
- they are declared: “blessed” (vv. 1-2),
- they “shall not be put to shame” (vv. 6, 31, 46, 80),
- they will be kept from sinning against God (vv. 9,11),
- they enjoy beholding wondrous things (v. 18),
- they are spared scorn and contempt (v. 22),
- they receive counsel (v. 24),
- they experience true life (vv. 25, 37, 93),
- they are strengthened (v. 28),
- they experience the enlargement of the heart (v. 32),
- they avoid selfish gain (v. 36),
- they find wise answers for their enemies (v. 42),
- they experience comfort and delight in the midst of affliction (vv. 50, 52, 92, 107, 143, 153),
- as well as “great peace” (165).
Tags: Bible, Bible daily, Bible reading, Bible study, daily Bible, Psalms, Sam Storms, Scripture, Word-roots
(6) The psalmist is also determined to undertake the discipline of meditation. He often speaks of “fixing” his eyes on the commandments of God and laboring “never to forget” them (see vv. 6, 15, 16, 23, 27, 48, 61, 78, 83, 97, 99, 141, 148, 176). This is a healthy and much-needed reminder that God does not operate on us in an intellectual or spiritual vacuum. In other words, if he is going to illumine our minds and incline our wills, his Word must first take root in our hearts.
Tags: Actively embrace the Word of God, Bible, Bible daily, Bible reading, Bible study, daily Bible, Psalms, Sam Storms, Scripture
Sam Storms has a wonderful commentary on Psalm 119. Here is a quote:
Although utterly and in all ways dependent on God for help, don’t overlook the fact that the psalmist repeatedly commits himself and “promises” to take action to learn, store up, and diligently keep the Word of God. The antecedent priority of God’s work in his heart does not preclude or undermine his responsibility to exercise his will in the active embrace of the Word. We see this, for example, in vv. 8, 11, 15 (“I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word”), 30, 32, 44, 57, 59-60, 101-102, 106, 112 (“I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end”), 145.
Personal note: Being from Minnesota and knowing many farmers, I am reminded how farmers are completely and totally dependent on God for the success or failure of their crop, as only God controls the weather and gives the growth. This spring has seen days on days of rain, flooded, soggy fields and many farmers have NO crop planted yet.
However, no farmer I know just lies on his couch all day praying for God to take care of his weeds or fertilizing or whatever. Diligent farmers work very hard, while at the same time recognizing their dependence on God. It is the same with our walk of faith. As Sam Storms said above, “The antecedent priority of God’s work in his heart does not preclude or undermine his responsibility to exercise his will in the active embrace of the Word.”
I think Paul puts it this way in Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Tags: Bible, Bible daily, Bible reading, Bible study, daily Bible, Incline my heart, Psalms, Sam Storms, Scripture
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Psalm 119:36 ESV
(4) There is great significance in the fact that the psalmist also prays that God would do more than teach him what the Law means; he prays that God would “incline” his heart to observe them (see vv. 10, 35, 36, 37, 88, 117, cf. 133). In other words, God is present to incite our souls to obey the insight of our minds! He is committed not simply to illumine our understanding but also to incline our wills.
Knowledge that does not lead to action serves only to breed arrogance and pride.
Tags: 1 Kings, Bible, Bible reading, Bible study, daily Bible, Sam Storms, Scripture
1 Kings 13-14 (ESV)
A Man of God Confronts Jeroboam
13:1 And behold, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel. Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make offerings. 2 And the man cried against the altar by the word of the Lord and said, “O altar, altar, thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who make offerings on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’”3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign that the Lord has spoken: ‘Behold, the altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.’” 4 And when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him.” And his hand, which he stretched out against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself. 5 The altar also was torn down, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the Lord. 6 And the king said to the man of God, “Entreat now the favor of the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.” And the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him and became as it was before. 7 And the king said to the man of God, “Come home with me, and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.” 8 And the man of God said to the king, “If you give me half your house, I will not go in with you. And I will not eat bread or drink water in this place, 9 for so was it commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came.’” 10 So he went another way and did not return by the way that he came to Bethel.
The Prophet’s Disobedience
11 Now an old prophet lived in Bethel. And his sons  came and told him all that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. They also told to their father the words that he had spoken to the king. 12 And their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him the way that the man of God who came from Judah had gone. 13 And he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him and he mounted it. 14 And he went after the man of God and found him sitting under an oak. And he said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” And he said, “I am.” 15 Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.” 16 And he said, “I may not return with you, or go in with you, neither will I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place, 17 for it was said to me by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by the way that you came.’” 18 And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he lied to him. 19 So he went back with him and ate bread in his house and drank water.
20 And as they sat at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back. 21 And he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command that the Lord your God commanded you, 22 but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’” 23 And after he had eaten bread and drunk, he saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back. 24 And as he went away a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his body was thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside the body. 25 And behold, men passed by and saw the body thrown in the road and the lion standing by the body. And they came and told it in the city where the old prophet lived.
26 And when the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard of it, he said, “It is the man of God who disobeyed the word of the Lord; therefore the Lord has given him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word that the Lord spoke to him.” 27 And he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And they saddled it. 28 And he went and found his body thrown in the road, and the donkey and the lion standing beside the body. The lion had not eaten the body or torn the donkey. 29 And the prophet took up the body of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back to the city  to mourn and to bury him. 30 And he laid the body in his own grave. And they mourned over him, saying, “Alas, my brother!” 31 And after he had buried him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. 32 For the saying that he called out by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel and against all the houses of the high places that are in the cities of Samaria shall surely come to pass.”
33 After this thing Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but made priests for the high places again from among all the people. Any who would, he ordained to be priests of the high places. 34 And this thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, so as to cut it off and to destroy it from the face of the earth.
Prophecy Against Jeroboam
14:1 At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick. 2 And Jeroboam said to his wife, “Arise, and disguise yourself, that it not be known that you are the wife of Jeroboam, and go to Shiloh. Behold, Ahijah the prophet is there, who said of me that I should be king over this people. 3 Take with you ten loaves, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what shall happen to the child.”
4 Jeroboam’s wife did so. She arose and went to Shiloh and came to the house of Ahijah. Now Ahijah could not see, for his eyes were dim because of his age. 5 And the Lord said to Ahijah, “Behold, the wife of Jeroboam is coming to inquire of you concerning her son, for he is sick. Thus and thus shall you say to her.”
When she came, she pretended to be another woman. 6 But when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why do you pretend to be another? For I am charged with unbearable news for you. 7 Go, tell Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over my people Israel 8 and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, and yet you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my eyes, 9 but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back, 10 therefore behold, I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both bond and free in Israel, and will burn up the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone.11 Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat, for the Lord has spoken it.”’ 12 Arise therefore, go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the child shall die. 13 And all Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found something pleasing to the Lord, the God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam. 14 Moreover, the Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam today. And henceforth, 15 the Lord will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger. 16 And he will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he sinned and made Israel to sin.”
17 Then Jeroboam’s wife arose and departed and came to Tirzah. And as she came to the threshold of the house, the child died. 18 And all Israel buried him and mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by his servant Ahijah the prophet.
The Death of Jeroboam
19 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 20 And the time that Jeroboam reigned was twenty-two years. And he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his place.
Rehoboam Reigns in Judah
21 Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. 22 And Judah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done. 23 For they also built for themselves high places and pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree,24 and there were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations that the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.
25 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. 26 He took away the treasures of the house of the Lordand the treasures of the king’s house. He took away everything. He also took away all the shields of gold that Solomon had made, 27 and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze, and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house.28 And as often as the king went into the house of the Lord, the guard carried them and brought them back to the guardroom.
29 Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 30 And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. 31 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. And Abijam his son reigned in his place.
Tags: Bible, Bible daily, Bible reading, Bible study, daily Bible, Psalms, Sam Storms, Sam Storms - Psalm 119 Part 2
1) One of the first things that struck me was the variety of ways in which God’s rules and laws and precepts are described: they are “righteous” (vv. 7, 75, 106, 164), indeed “righteous forever” (v. 144); they are “good” (v. 39), they are “sure” (v. 86), they are “firmly fixed in the heavens” (v. 89), they are “exceedingly broad” (v. 96), they are “right” (vv. 128, 137, 172), they are “wonderful” (v. 129), they are “true” (vv. 142, 151), and they endure forever (v. 160).
(2) Little wonder, then, that the psalmist would go to such vivid verbal lengths to describe his attitude, indeed his appetite for the Word of God. Consider, for example, the following brief sampling, and ask yourself if such colorful and passionate language accurately describes your perspective toward the glory and power of God’s Word:
“In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches” (v. 14).
“I will delight in your statutes” (v. 16).
“My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times” (v. 20).
“Your testimonies are my delight” (v. 24; cf. vv. 35, 77, 92, 143, 174).
“Behold, I long for your precepts” (v. 40).
“for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love” (v. 47).
“The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces” (v. 72).
“Oh how I love your law!” (v. 97).
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (v. 103)
“Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart” (v. 111).
“I love your law” (v. 113; cf. vv. 119, 159, 163).
“Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold” (v. 127).
“Your testimonies are wonderful” (v. 129).
“I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments” (v. 131).
“I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil” (v. 162).
“My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly” (v. 167).
Tags: Bible, Bible daily, Bible reading, Bible study, daily Bible, Psalms, Sam Storms, Why does God not deal with us according to our sins?
“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:10-12)
Were ever more beautiful words penned than these?
Consider for a moment how we “deal” with others. We keep fresh in our minds their injustices toward us. We nurture the memory of their faults and failings. We never let them forget what they did and we often make sure others are mindful of it as well. We seek every opportunity, often secretly and surreptitiously, to make them pay for their transgressions. We hold it in our hearts and over their heads and persuade ourselves that it’s only fair that they be treated this way.
Now consider again this description of God in his “dealings” with us: “He does NOT deal with us according to our sins” (v. 10a). Our sins do not constitute the rule or standard or plumb line according to which God makes his decisions on how to treat us. He does not recall or bring to the fore or publicly announce our history of hatred and lust and blasphemy and greed and pride before he formulates his plan for our life or before responding to something we’ve just said or done.
Better still is the second statement in v. 10, namely, that God does NOT “repay us according to our iniquities” (v. 10b). It’s certainly not because our iniquities do not deserve repayment. They are deep and many and heinous and are deserving of the most severe, indeed, eternal judgment. But those who “fear him” (v. 11b) need never fear that he will exact payment or demand suffering or insist, according to the rigors of his law and unyielding holiness, that we endure the penal consequences of violating his will and ways.
In fact, so far is it from the realm of possibility that we might ever be dealt with “according to our sins” or repaid “according to our iniquities” that David compares it to the distance between earth and the highest heavens and the distance between east and west.
The Hubble Telescope has given us breathtaking pictures of a galaxy some 13 billion lights years from earth. Yes, 13 billion light years! Remember, a light year is 6,000,000,000,000 (six trillion) miles. That would put this galaxy at 78,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles from earth! In case you were wondering, we count from million, to billion, to trillion, to quadrillion, to quintillion, to sextillion. So, this galaxy is 78 sextillion miles from earth.
If you traveled 500 mph non-stop, literally sixty-minutes of every hour, twenty-four hours in every day, seven days in every week, fifty-two weeks in every year, with not a moment’s pause or delay, it would take you 20,000,000,000,000,000 years (that’s 20 quadrillion years) to get there! And that would only get you to the farthest point that our best telescopes have yet been able to detect. If the universe is infinite, as I believe it is, this would be the mere fringe of what lies beyond.
My point, the point of the psalmist, is that the magnitude of such distance is a pathetically small comparison to the likelihood that you will ever be dealt with according to your sins or repaid for your iniquities! If you were ever inclined to pursue your transgressions so that you might place yourself beneath their condemning power, 78,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles is an infinitesimally small fraction of the distance you must travel to find them!
Now, here’s the question: Why does God not deal with us according to our sins? Why does he not repay us according to our iniquities? In other words, on what grounds does he take such magnanimous and marvelous action? Does he simply wave the wand of mercy and dismiss our guilt? Does he merely shrug off our rebellion and unbelief and hostility as if they were nothing and of no consequence? Does he ignore the dictates of his holiness when he forgives us? Does he pretend that justice matters little or that love trumps righteousness?
Clearly the answer is no! The reason why God does not deal with usaccording to our sins is because he has dealt with Jesus in accordance with what they require! The reason why God does not repay us according to our iniquities is because he has repaid his Son in accordance with what holiness demands (in perfect harmony, I might add, with the will and voluntary love of the Son himself)!
David wrote these words of hope and life from within the context of the Old Testament sacrificial system. He could confidently speak of such grace and kindness because he personally knew of the Day of Atonement, of the blood sacrifice, of the scapegoat onto whose head his sins were symbolically placed and transferred (see Leviticus 16).
In our case, on this side of the cross that forever and finally fulfills these old covenant types and symbols, we can confidently rest in the freedom of forgiveness because God has “put forward [Christ Jesus] as a propitiation by his blood” (Romans 3:25).
God did not willy-nilly cast aside our sins as if they were of no consequence. Rather, he “laid on him [the Son, our Savior] the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6b). God did not casually ignore the dictates of his holiness and righteous character. Rather, he “wounded” Jesus “for our transgressions” and “crushed” him “for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:5).
This, and this alone, is why we can sing and celebrate that God does not and never will “deal with us according to our sins” or “repay us according to our iniquities”. The measure of God’s “steadfast love” (v. 11) is the depth of the sacrifice he endured in giving up his only Son to suffer in our stead (cf. Romans 8:32).
I hope all can see why the current debate over penal substitutionary atonement is so eternally important, for if God did not deal with the Lord Jesus Christ according to your sins, he will deal with you in accordance with them. And if God did not repay in his Son what your iniquities deserve, he will repay you. It’s just that simple.
Psalm 103 begins with the exhortation that we not forget all the many benefits that God has graciously bestowed, chief among which is that he “forgives all your iniquity” (v. 3a). Now we know how. Now we know why. So let us all sing:
“Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands,
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace.
One in Himself I cannot die,
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!” (C. L. Bancroft, 1863)