Psalm 119: Kaph & Lamedh B

“Forever, O LORD, Your word stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.” (89-90)

I love to be reminded of the unshakable and unbreakable things in life. They are few, and most of them are orbiting the LORD.

When my dad teaches Ephesians one, he often talks about the repeated phrase: in the heavenly places. All the things Paul says are true about our identities are in the heavenly places. My dad would assert that things which are true in the heavenly places are perfectly true, whether or not we can perceive them as true from our fallen perspectives here on earth.

Carly and I talk about the Word being our anchor on here a lot. I can get emotional, I can get riled up, or carried away with my thoughts, or in my circumstances, but the Word stands firm. I love that about the Word. Also, the only reason the earth is still in existence (especially with how long mankind’s had access to nuclear weapons) is because the LORD is the one who established it. He’s not done with it, til He’s done with it. It is standing on His preexisting terms.

He is faithful throughout all generations. We can look back and testify to that. We can also hold on to that as a promise, looking forward. No matter how freaked out older generations can be by younger generations, we can count on the LORD being faithful to them as well.

He is trustworthy, and He is true, even when everything else feels a lie.

-Bethany

Psalm 119: Teth & Yodh B

“My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver.” 119:71-72

Bethany referred to these same verses last time around; they‘re just so good!

My suffering was good for me. Notice the author doesn’t use presenttense, right? I doubt anyone is in the midst of a trauma and thinks “this will be for the best”. But most people, with healthy perspective, will eventually admit that they’ve grown from the suffering in the lives.

Just the other day, my husband was swaying on the porch swing, reflecting on his past. He wondered out loud if he’d appreciate and love our family as much as he does if he hadn’t experienced so much loneliness and pain as a young adult. It shapes you, the pain.

Consider a hardship or trial in your life and how it ended up being good for you.

-Carly

Psalm 119: Zayin & Heth B

“Remember the word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me.” (49-50)

Don’t forget in the dark what you heard in the light. This is a bit of advice that’s stuck with me through many years and valleys. It’s something I try to remind friends in similar moments of panic.

When everything feels sideways and you feel like you can’t “hear from God”, take a deep breath and think.

What is a promise He makes in His word that is one hundred percent, all-the-time true? What is a promise you feel He’s given you directly? What were you sure of the last time you felt sure?

Sometimes the dark place feels so dark, we can find ourselves crying out to the LORD, “You remember the plan, right? You remember what You said?”

The truth of Who He Is, and the sureness of His promises, is always a good thing to circle back to in times of affliction. Don’t take your eyes off Him, lazar focus them onto His face. He is your hope.

-Bethany

Psalm 119: He & Waw B

“Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” 119:36-37 ESV

I liked the NLT version, which translates it to give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money.

We are eager people. Our attention fixates on whatever we put in front of it. I love the psalmist’s prayers to turn their heart towards God, instead of themselves. It reminds me not to be afraid to ask the Lord to grow my love for him.

It’s a weird request, really. “Make me love you, please.” Does God really inspire our affections towards him? I don’t know. But I have prayed this prayer, and I’ve experienced a wonderful answer.

When I (genuinely) ask God to help me direct my attention and eyes towards him, he does. Sometimes he pulls the rug out from under me a little, because he knows my response is to run back to him. Or he’ll put a godly, more mature person in my path who will encourage me and hold me accountable. Other times, he’ll speak to me through his Word. The verses will leap off the pages, catch my attention and pull me away from myself and towards him.

This is a valid prayer, asking him to help you grow in your relationship with him. Don’t be afraid to ask.

-Carly

Psalm 119: Gimel & Daleth B

“I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart.” (32) NASB

I’m not sure I have a comment about this verse, I just want to meditate on it awhile. While I prefer the NASB, I thought it would be interesting to check out what other English translations said.

“I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.” NIV

“I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.” KJV

“I will run the way of Your commandments [with purpose], For You will give me a heart that is willing.” AMP

“I will run the way of your mitzvot, for you have broadened my understanding.” CJB‬‬

“I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.” NLT

Our heart is apparently where we understand. Our heart is connected to our active knowing. I love the idea of knowing the commands of the LORD–and pursuing them–in a way that expands something in the core of ourself.

How did this verse strike you? Is there a translation that resonates more than the others?

-Bethany

Psalm 119: Aleph & Beth B

We’re taking this lengthy chapter a few sections at a time! I felt so refreshed reading this today after the godlessness of Israel in Judges.

“Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LordJoyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.” 1-2

We can’t follow and obey God’s instructions and laws if we don’t know them. Studying the Bible regularly is crucial to doing what is right in God’s eyes instead of our own. 

“I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us. I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.” 13-16

What a great reminder of all the different ways we can study God’s words.

Memorization. Even if you’re not great at it, or it feels pointless considering all the access we have to Scripture, I highly recommend this. Memorizing Bible verses just…feels like it sinks in more. And I retain the information so much more! Plus it’s fruitful to have pieces of the Word to rely on by memory.

How do you immerse yourself in the Word? What are your Bible study habits?

Beth and I both try to mix it up. Sometimes I like listening to the Bible on my phone (thank you, YouVersion App!), but mostly I like reading it directly from the book and marking up the pages as I go. It helps me stay engaged in the text, process the information and gives me something to build on the next time around.

I also (occasionally, not as much as I want to) try to memorize chunks of the Bible here and there. Like anything, the more you’re submerged into whatever you’re studying, the more you retain.

Share your study habits with us! We love hearing the different ways people interact with the Word.

 

-Carly

 

Judges 19-21 B

Chapter 19 is hard to read. I find myself physically bothered.

“Now the sons of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and inquired of God and said, ‘Who shall go up first for us to battle against the sons of Benjamin?’ Then the LORD said, ‘Judah shall go up first.'” (20:18‬)

The only reason I plucked out this verse was because it felt like it had been a real while since I saw the sentence, “then the LORD said.” He’s been left out of a lot lately. He’s seemingly involved here, though.

This horrific story doubles as an unfortunate origin story for the future King Saul. Gibeah was his home town. A real slap to Israel’s face and perhaps why Saul hides in the luggage when he’s chosen as king. These are dark days, a stain, in their history.

It seems each horrible action has an even worse repercussion:

  • Towns people harass their neighbor.
  • A woman is raped to death.
  • Said woman is dismembered and sent around the country.
  • An army is formed and bloody civil war ensues.
  • An entire tribe is almost destroyed.
  • An “innocent” (hard to say for sure) people-group is murdered–save 400 virgins who had just witnessed the death of their families.
  • They are forced to marry the few survivors of a civil war, forced to marry the kind of men who would harass their neighbors and rape a woman to death.

This is not justice. This is death begetting death. This is injustice snow-balling.

As easy as it is to judge these people, let’s never take our eyes off ourselves. We’re all capable of being pretty horrible when we allow our offenses to snow-ball.

Are there any feuds in your life? Long standing enemies? Opportunities to take a bad situation and make it worse?

Let’s take a look at our offenses and ask the LORD about restoration and justice. How can He lead you to resolve? How can you avoid escalating things?

Thankfully, tomorrow we dive back into the Psalms, staring with the first two stanzas of chapter 119. That will be refreshing, I think.

-Bethany