Psalm 119:8 – “I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.”
There is some dispute over who wrote Psalm 119. Many say that it wasn’t, David. After all, the author is never named. But, I believe that Psalm 119 carries with it David’s distinctive writing style, and passion for God. C.H. Spurgeon, in his classic work, The Treasury of David wrote, “We believe that David wrote this Psalm It is Davidic in tone and expression, and it tallies with David’s experience in many interesting points. In our youth our teacher called it ‘David’s pocket book,’ and we incline to the opinion then expressed that here we have the royal diary written at varoius times throughout a long life. . . After long reading an author one gets to know his style and a measure of discernment is acquired by which his composition is detected even if his name be concealed; we feel a kind of critical certainy that the hand of david is in this thing, yea, that it is altogether his own.”
David had watched his predecessor, King Saul, walk with God and then stray from God. He had watched his predecessor’s mind become mad. He had seen the effects of the Holy Spirit being taken from the King. He had seen God utterly forsake Saul. And, now King David feared the same would happen to him.
In Psalm 51, fourteen months after his aggregious sin with Bathsheba, David confessed his sin before God. In verse 11 he wrote, “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”
When I read Psalm 119:8, I am reminded of Psalm 51. David seems to be saying that he is determined to obey God, among other reasons, so that God will not forsake him. Can you imagine that fear? Can you imagine what it would be like to live in fear that God would turn His back upon you and leave you forever without Him?
This is one of the differences between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. Jesus promised his disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit upon them (John 14:26; Acts 1:8). In 2 Timothy 1:14 we read that the Holy Spirit dwells within those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. We have been baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will not be taken from us. We do not have to worry about God abandoning us. He loves us and will never leave us or forsake us.
So, let’s rejoice today that God will not utterly abandon us. Yesterday I spoke to our Senior Highers. I shared with them from Revelation 21 about heaven. I had heard James McDonald, the Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Illinois share a sermon on heaven a couple weeks back and was so moved by it that I wanted our kids to catch it. McDonald showed how in Revelation 21 God reveals much about heaven. In it we see that:
1) God is constantly making everything new (Rev. 21:5)
2) God is near (Rev. 21:3, 7)
3) Suffering is Absent (Rev. 21:4)
4) Satisfaction is Abundant (Rev. 21:6)
5) Everyone is not Going to Heaven (Rev. 21:8)
Heaven could not be further from the fear of being utterly forsaken by God. But, hell? I think David’s fear of being utterly forsaken by God is a vivid description of what hell will be like?Those who taste hell’s flames will feel the desperation of being
utterly and completely forsaken. And that should compel those of us who have not been abandoned, but transformed by God to share His love with as many people as possible. May all of your friends and family know the power of the transforming work of Christ in a life.
Psalm 119:8 ends the first of 22 eight verse sections that make up Psalm 119. How appropriate that David ends this section with the declaritive statement that he will obey God’s decrees. He had talked about the benefits. He had talked about the trials. Now it was time to make the declaration.
May we follow with those hearts of allegiance that I mentioned in yesterday’s post. May we declare as Joshua and the people of Israel did in Joshua 24:14-16 “‘Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.’ Then the people answered, ‘Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!'”
Thank you that we do not have to worry about you abandoning us as you did with Saul. Thank you that your Holy Spirit dwells within us if we have allowed you to be our Savior. Help us to follow you with hearts that are fully committed. Help us to love you with pure hearts.
In Jesus’ name,