Monday, August 18, 2014

God Gives So Much Grace

Today I am joining with my friend Juliet who is starting a series on Psalm 119 taking a section each week to reflect upon. She invites others to do the same and share their comments. Her post can be found HERE.

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, Who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart - 
they do no wrong but follow his ways.
You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees, do not utterly forsake me.
(Psalm 119:1-8)

What does it mean here to be blameless? Another word for blameless is guiltless. None of us can perfectly walk according to God's law, and I know I don't always seek him with all my heart. I also know that I do not obey his decrees perfectly, and I certainly am not sinless. How can I possibly fully obey his precepts? Can I even be considered one of the blameless ones?

I believe that I am covered by the blood of Jesus because of his sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection from the dead. He has taken my guilt away, and made me righteous in him. So in that light all those who look to him and confess their sins are in a way, blameless. He gave us his commands knowing that we would not be able to perfectly obey them, but he didn't leave us on our own. In the second part of I John 2:1, it says, "But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." We are weak and God knows this. We are maybe a little like what is left of this dandelion ready to explode at the slightest wind, scattering it's seeds wherever they will go.

(photography by Gayl Wright)
God gives so much grace. Sometimes we forget to ask him and muddle through as best we can in our own strength. We forget that He is strong and is always with us even if it seems we are alone. In I Corinthians Paul talks about his thorn in the flesh, and like Paul we all have weaknesses. We need to remember what God said to him about that as recorded in I Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Like the psalmist my heart's cry is, "Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands." I know that I fall short and it can be discouraging, but then he says, "I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws." I think the key here is in the phrase "as I learn your righteous laws." As we learn more of God's laws and get to know him better, we see his love and we desire to love him more and to follow his commands even though we know we will mess up at times. Look what it says in Psalm 103:10-12:

(photography by Gayl Wright)
The last line of the Psalm 119 passage says, "I will obey your decrees, do not utterly forsake me." It seems that the psalmist's desire is to obey, but he also realizes that it is not possible to do it perfectly. I believe he is asking God to look upon him with mercy and grace, knowing that he needs God's help to follow through. I know I do.  I need to remember to ask Him for grace every single day, knowing that He will help me in my daily struggles. As I think about these times we are living in I realize we all need God's grace in abundance in order to learn to live in peace and harmony with all people.

What about you? What comes to mind as you ponder these verses? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I'm also linking up with Lisha Epperson and her Give Me Grace series.

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