Saturday, 6 October 2012

The Verse - Psalm 86:11-13

Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

There is so much good stuff in the Psalms, but for some reason these verses in Psalm 86 really stood out to me, so I wanted to share them with you.

I've heard that many Christians find praying through the Psalms really helpful, and it struck me that this would be a great prayer. David, who is the psalmist here, asks God to "unite [his] heart to fear [God's] name." In other words, he wants his heart to be undivided in its love for God and desires that he would love God only. 

Although we long to love God with all our heart, this is really impossible due to our human condition. We need God's help in order to love God. I guess that is really the first step: acknowledging that we human beings can't love God like He deserves. Secondly, we need God's help even to begin to love Him as we should.

Paul also struggled with this, writing in Romans 7:15: "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

However, in verses 24-25 of the same chapter, he realises the answer:

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. 

The answer is Jesus and the Gospel. Do you want to love God more? Look to Jesus, and His ultimate, insurmountable, divine love will create in you a greater love for God. This is also what David did, as we read in Psalm 86. After praying for a deeper love for God, David immediately starts praising God and thanking Him for His unique attributes - His faithful, unwavering love and mighty redemptive power. Shouldn't we do the same? If we want to love God more, we need to reflect further on who God is and what a great salvation He has accomplished for us. We also need to ask God to give us this love.

These verses remind me of a hymn I really love which we sing at church, especially the last stanza:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.


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