Psalm 119

The (Long) Road Back

Part 2, The Starting Point

The people of Judah who have survived the seventy years of exile in Babylon have now been allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. It is a new beginning for them. God’s plan for the nation was that they were to be a witness to the world of God’s desire to bless all He created. However, they rejected following God and followed the ways of the world and worshiped idols instead. They were still a witness to the world but not of God’s blessing. Instead the destruction of the nation and the people taken into captivity was a witness of what happens to a nation and a people who trust in the ways of the world.

Isaiah 57:20&21 says, “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’” NASB

Let’s stop and ponder these verses for a minute. What these verses are saying is if you do not have peace and things are in constant turmoil to the point where there is no peace, you are on the wrong path in life! Really! It is just that simple.

As we study this period of Israel’s history where they are rebuilding the Temple I want us to be thinking about our own Temple. The Apostle Paul has told us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

So here is what I am saying. If we do not have peace or rest in our lives, could it be that we have taken the wrong path in life and made the wrong things our priority? If the answer to that question is yes then we may need to rebuild our Temple.

I have heard it said that we can change from a bad habit and form a new habit in 3 weeks or 21 days.  I’m not buying it. I have found that the longer and more ingrained the habit, the longer it takes to break it and more importantly, make a new habit. This is especially true when we are dealing with our core beliefs.

So, as we study this section, I hope we can see some parallels between what the people faced in rebuilding their Temple and learn some things we can use in rebuilding our Temple and our lives. So here we go!

In the previous studies we saw that the people were excited about the prospect of changing their lives for the better by returning to a time and place in their lives when they had hope and peace. Emotional energy is great for starting out but discipline and perseverance is needed to keep us on track. It is great to have hope but if we are going to have rest and peace we need to set out on the right road in life. The place where we need to start is the Word of God.

Psalm 119 is a great place to start. Although it is our reading for today I want to encourage you to also read a section each day. Each section starts with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet and contains eight verses. In Deuteronomy 6 the people of Israel were told to teach the Word of God to their children. What better way to teach them the Word than by teaching it as they taught their children the alphabet?  What better foundation for life? The Word of God needs to be at the core of every believer, especially if we want peace in our life. In John 14:27 Jesus tells us that He is the source of peace. In John 1:1-4 we read that Jesus is the Word. Let that sink in. How important is the Word of God in your life? In John 1:14 we read, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” NASB

If you believe in Jesus and are a follower of Jesus, you must also embrace the Word of God for the two cannot be separated.  They are one and the same.

When I realized this my prayer became, “Lord I want the Word of God to become flesh in my life.” By this I mean I want my beliefs and actions to come from, and reflect, Jesus in my life as I live and obey the Word of God.

Let me close with this example I read from a blind man who was listening to a Far East Broadcasting radio program. He said that he was recording the program in order to memorize the Bible verses. The result was that he was receiving a quality education and that God was gradually transforming his life.

As we focus on the Word of God we will develop our relationship with Jesus and God will transform our lives. When we have a right attitude toward the Word of God and embrace it,  we are on the road to rebuilding our Temple.

Be blessed by God’s Word.

Pastor Dave