Basing our lives on the promises of God – which are ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 1:20) – is the only way we can really live according to God’s ways. Tonight we looked at five promises of God found in Psalm 119:
God’s Unfailing Love & Salvation
‘May Your unfailing love come to me, Lord, Your salvation, according to Your promise.’ (Ps 119:41)
God’s unfailing love brings salvation to us and enables us to stand firm. ‘Salvation’ means to be rescued from the consequences of sin and disobedience and to be led into a relationship of unfailing love, where God is our heavenly Father who loves to give us good gifts. (James 1:17)
‘I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your promise.’ (Ps 119:58)
God’s grace, His unearned favour, is the foundation of His dealings with us (see Eph 2:8-9). We cannot manage on our own; our righteousness is as filthy rags. (Is 64:6) We need grace and mercy; we need God to treat us not as our sins deserve. (Ps 103:10)
God’s Sustaining Power
‘Sustain me, my God, according to Your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.’ (Ps 119:116)
To be sustained means to receive the help, support and strength we need to live; this verse connects it also to hope. Hope is probably the thing that we need most on a daily basis. If we have no hope, no expectation that God will do anything, then we will soon become depressed and despondent. Without hope and the expectation that God is involved in our daily lives, there really is no point to life. But the Bible paints a very different picture of life with God. The Message version talks of there not being ‘enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!’ (Rom 5:5, The Message) This is a picture of hope, a roomful of containers into which God pours His blessings and gifts, rather like those six massive jars filled with water which Jesus turned into wine at the wedding at Cana. (John 2:6-10)
‘Preserve my life according to Your promise.’ (Ps 119:154)
David is in awe of God’s majesty and wonders ‘what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?’ (Ps 8:4) The Bible teaches, right from the start of creation, that humanity is special, made in God’s image, made to be in relationship with God. Because of this, whatever our needs, whatever troubles we face in life, we can ask God to defend our cause and redeem us and preserve our lives.
‘May my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Your promise.’ (Ps 119:170)
Deliverance is very similar to preservation. The psalmist asks for God to deliver him, to rescue him, to help him according to His promise. Like all the other prayers, it presupposes that God hears and answers prayer because He cares about us.
How can we expect God to behave towards us, based on His word?
We can expect God to save us, to show love towards us and to be gracious to us.
We can expect God to sustain us, preserve our lives and deliver us from evil.
Our hope in these things is not based on our goodness or our merit. We put our hope in God and pray that every promise He has made to us in Christ Jesus will be fulfilled, according to His faithfulness. Amen.