Monday, February 8, 2016

Thoughts on Psalm 119:24

24 Your testimonies also are my delight
And my counselors.

I have a challenge for you.

But first, let’s consider this verse. One thing that strikes me about it is that it is a statement, not a request. The psalmist isn’t asking for joy nor asking for counsel. He is singing praise because he recognizes and therefore declares the source of his joy and the source of his counsel: the word of God.

As we progress through Psalm 119, we will discover the psalmist did not have an easy, trouble-free life. He has been afflicted, indignant, weak, lied to, persecuted wrongfully; his enemies had tried to kill him, he’d been tempted, he had wept rivers of tears.

But in the middle of those circumstances, he had delight because his joy was founded on that which is unshakable: the word of God. He found delight in God’s word.

But what was it specifically in the word of God that he found such delight in? The second half of the verse reveals it: counsel. God’s word is our counselor.

At the end of 2014, my wife and I felt a prompting from the Lord that it was time to move. We had been in Oregon for 2 years, I had been working with Carestream for 4 years. We had helped start a ministry, the company was talking about promoting me, and I had dedicated two years to a particular product of which I was the technical lead.

So it wasn’t an easy decision for me. I was especially afraid that if I left, the product and ministry would suffer, for which I had worked so hard. But truthfully, it’s important for me to know that I am in the will of God, and not just doing my own thing. I wasn’t sure, so I was really in distress about this situation.

I went to the Lord for counsel. “Should we move?” A very simple question. Still, I was only about 75% sure when I gave my notice at work and at the ministry. For several days I was in anguish, wondering if we were doing the right thing. Then on Friday, Jan 16, 2015, I read these words:

Don’t be in anguish for the boy or for your maidservant. Listen to Sarah, because your descendants will be established through Isaac. But I will also make the son of the maidservant into a great nation, because he is your son. (my translation of Gen 21:12-13 NVI)

I wept for nearly an hour. God spoke so clearly to me - that my product was Ishmael, who I was in distress for fear of him dying. But God said it was time to go - and that He would make it into a “great nation” - a successful and blessed product. And furthermore that it was time to focus on Isaac (see verse 15).

Such clear direction. Such comfort knowing that God will take care of the things I care about. Such confidence in knowing we were in sync with God.

God wants to be your counselor. He doesn’t want you to have to always learn from the school of hard knocks. He doesn’t want you to guess your way through life.

Maybe you need advice about a relationship. Maybe you are facing a big decision and can’t see around the corner. Maybe there’s a relatively small problem that has just hung around and you haven’t quite figured out how to resolve it.

So here’s my challenge to you: think about that issue that you need counsel on. There is nothing too big or too small for God, He is familiar with all of your ways. If you can’t think of anything, ask the Lord what He would like to help you with.

Then talk to Jesus about it - He already knows about it, of course, but get it off of your chest and just have a real conversation with the Lord. At the same time, try not to complain. Instead, be honest about where you are and thankful that God is willing to help you.

Then take God at His word. He says the Bible will be your counselor - so look for His counsel. Search the Scripture, and you will find the answer you are looking for. It may take 10 minutes or 10 months - but it will be worth it. It will bring delight to your heart.

Ointment and perfume delight the heart,
And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel. Prov 27:9

One last thing - be willing to do whatever He asks you to do. It may not be easy, in fact it might be quite uncomfortable, but it will be the answer you are looking for.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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