The Joy of the Lord
Who amongst us has not at some time or another been taken advantage of in a business situation? Last year we went to Disney for the first time and I saw this little stand where they were selling pearls for “just $15”. There was a box of oysters and they guaranteed you a pearl when the oyster was opened, so I thought, cool, I’ll buy my wife a pearl for that price ! And they were right, as the woman popped opened the dead oyster, there was a beautiful round pearl that she measured and valued around $100. Cool again ! Buuuut, now came the pitch. With wife nearby, the saleswoman then lowered the boom on me. She proceeded to ask us how she (not me) would like this pearl mounted. In a nice GOLD ring, perhaps? How about a fancy GOLD necklace or earrings? We settled for a modestly priced necklace and since it was close to our anniversary we didn’t mind the little trick so much, HA ! Living in a sinful world its so easy to get cynical and hardened by it. As we age and people do us wrong and trials come into our lives, unless we keep our nose in the Good Book we’ll lose our joy in the Lord. So in the “Samech” section of Ps.119, which comprises verses 113-120, the psalmist urges us to stay focused on the Word rather than the things of this old world that seek to rob us of our heart for God.
First, he speaks of the matter of infidelity, detesting those who operate so. What he says in vs.113 is “I hate those who are double-minded” (NASV) is better here than the KJV as to what the Hebrew says. With no apologies to “KJV only” crowd, it says what it says ! Hate people, you may be thinking? This is comparable to how you may feel about dealing with a car salesman (another crowd offended, I’m on a roll). Yet the fact that people can be so lacking in scruples does not deter the writer’s love for the Lord: “. . . but Thy Law I love.” He’s not a thoroughly disgusted, no joy kinda believer, far from it ! He is appalled at the world’s shenanigans (that’s holy hate) but still has a passion and joy for His Lord !
He evidences this also in vs.116 in that he desires to stay focused and not mired by the world’s ways when he writes of instability, “Uphold me according unto Thy Word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.” He seeks the stability the Bible can bring to his mind and life when the world threatens to leave him jaded and calloused. How do you cope when life gets difficult? Oh we may be too wise for the bottle (Meds or Miller Lite) but do we find other more “acceptable” alternatives? Perhaps, withdrawing from ministering and being less active for God in your church since people hurt you in the past, or easing up on praying or reading the Bible because it just doesn’t seem to work like it once did, you think (not aloud) that God has hurt you ? The psalmist lays out the simple yet powerful key here that prayer (the entire section is one, with the possible exception of vs.115 !) and focus on the Scriptures are the stabilizers we need when the world rocks us !
When the world seeks to take advantage of you, take advantage instead of what God holds out to you in His precious Word, it will keep you on track ! Focus on it, follow it and His joy will still be yours !!!
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