From Your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way
This summer I will be teaching Jr High kids a lesson series on God’s precepts. I had not quite decided on how I would put these lessons together or what direction I would go in concerning the subject. I was not sure what Scriptures I would use to teach them. I pondered pulling from Deuteronomy or from John using Jesus teaching about loving Him equating with obeying His commands. I simply tucked the title of the lesson back in my thoughts and waited for the Lord to lead me.
Then about a week ago I was scrolling through my Timehop app and came across a little Facebook note that I had written many years ago before I ever began to officially blog. The note was just a personal lesson that the Lord revealed to me as I was reading through Psalm 119, specifically verse 104.
What the Holy Spirit had revealed to me that day was found by opening my eyes in a new way to the word false. In Psalm 119:104 the psalmist did not write that he hated every “wrong” way, but every false way. As I read that, the Holy Spirit prompted me to ask, maybe it’s not so much about what is right or wrong, but more so about what is true or false.
“For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator,”
Perhaps as we look at the things in this world and the choices we need to make we should spend a little less time trying to argue and decide who and what is right and who and what is wrong and focus more on who and what is true. Our enemy, Satan, the deceiver, attempts to hand us a false substitute. Think about it… He himself is who he is in his attempt to be someone he can never be… Creator God.
Satan wants us to settle for his cheap offer and how often we have and how often we do still. He offers cheap thrills and momentary pleasures that leave us empty and starving. He hands us McDonalds and convinces us that it’s fillet mignon. We settle for temporary surface circumstantial happiness, when we could be partaking of everlasting deep resounding joy.
“therefore I hate every false way”
Jesus clearly proclaimed, “I am the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus also told those that followed Him that God had promised that He would send us the Spirit of Truth, and He, the Spirit of Truth, would guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Jesus tells us that God’s word is truth (John 17:17) and we know that God is true (John 3:33).
If God is truth and His Word is truth and the Holy Spirit is truth and Jesus is truth then anything or anyone that opposes that truth is false. In order for us to be able to determine and discern what is true and what is false, God has given us His precepts. By these and these alone can we gain understanding and insight so that we might not be deceived.
The word precepts in Psalm 119:104 in the Hebrew is piqqud and it comes from the Hebrew verb paqad which means, to attend to, visit, muster, appoint. It can mean, calls me to account, properly, appointed, i.e. a mandate (of God…).
We live in a fallen world. A fallen deceived world often led by a deceived people with a false and even warped sense of reality. All of us enter this world in darkness. We are blind. We are lost. We are deceived. We are held by chains of death that are fastened with bonds of sin that are yoked to an enemy named Satan that desires nothing more than to drag us all into an eternal hell with him.
Our only hope is truth.
Truth that has been visited to us through the Word of God. The Word of God, these precepts, do not change. They are the mandate of God and they hold true for both angel and demon and all of mankind. By them and them alone can we gain understanding.
We gain understanding because they bring to light what is hidden. They do not shift or fade. They are solid and because they are solid they call us to account. How often do we not realize that something is crooked until something straight is laid up against it? How often do we not realize that something is a going downhill until we step far enough back from it to see more of the picture?
God’s precepts are our straight edge. They are our level. They can and will reveal what is true so that we might discover what is false.
God has visited us with His mercy by gifting us with His Word. He even fleshed out His Word in the person of Jesus Christ so that we might gain even more understanding and be able to distinguish between what is true and what is false.
His precepts attend to the thoughts of our hearts and cause us to wrestle with the things of this world. His precepts break our hearts and sting our pride. His precepts call us to a higher ground that by traveling up sometimes feels like we are storming the beaches of Normandy… but turning away from them leads us in a false way… a false way that leads to certain eternal death.
God’s precepts get us to the point of the matter of all things. God’s precepts cut through all the verbal gymnastics, wordy innuendoes, and flowery grins. God’s precepts reveal the truth in such a way that we not only can see the false way, but we grow to hate it.
Before Jesus went to the cross He stood before Pilate and Pilate asked Him what is truth…
Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”
And when he had said this, he went out again…
Pilate asked what is truth as He stood face to face with the testimony of truth and then he walked away. He didn’t wait for an answer. He didn’t wait for an answer because he didn’t really want to hear the answer. He wanted his truth to remain relative… and truth is not relative. Truth is absolute.
God’s Word is truth. Beloved of God, do not walk away from it. God’s precepts are for seeking. Opening up His Word is scheduling your appointment with Him. Digging into God’s precepts is opening up your heart and mind for a visiting from the Spirit of God Himself so that He might attend to the deepest regions of your soul.
This is why the psalmist continued to write…
Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything,
I hate every false way. Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul observes them.
The unfolding of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
I opened my mouth wide and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
After Your manner with those who love Your name.
Establish my footsteps in Your word,
And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.
So after all this getting to the point, I believe I will be using Psalm 119 to put together a four lesson series on God’s precepts to teach a group of Jr High kids this summer 😉
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