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Saturday, 30 July 2016

"Steadfast Obedience"

Message Summary: Today we call each reader to a steadfast and enduring walk with the Lord wholly committed to obeying His decrees.

"Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying Your decrees!" (Psalm 119:5).The Babylon Bee"The Babylon Bee", is a satire blog* that has some thought-provoking posts humorously illustrating conditions in the modern world and church. Satire is a writing style that some won't get or appreciate but I find it not only humorous but often quite insightful. For instance a recent post headline read,  "Megachurch Apologizes After Statement Of Faith Found On Its Website".

I read an interesting title
on the blog the other day that speaks to the rapidly eroding moral landscape. "Progressive Suddenly Realizes Some Of Her Current Beliefs Might Render Her An Intolerant Bigot Ten Years From Now". Think of common and historically held moral beliefs just ten years ago (let alone fifty years ago) that have now been determined by many to be intolerant, bigoted and hateful. It's all the more reason we must be steadfast in obeying God's decrees. We must be discerning and call out examples where that which was once thought evil is now called good and that which was good is now called evil (see Isaiah 5:20).

Steadfast Steadfastness is such a greatly needed character trait among those who follow Christ today! We increasingly appreciate steadfastness in the lives of people that we minister to and, in turn, those who minister to me. We appreciate the calls and emails I have received due to my back problem. That is such a source of encouragement and strength! Many are also examples of steadfastness in overcoming and dealing with adversity such as David, Chuck, Jim and many others. Larry, a longtime friend, called and had prayer with me. He and his wife Tina demonstrate steadfastness in their home, church and community.Psalm 119:5 In the daily text the Psalmist makes a petition that we also need to make: "Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!." Other versions read, "Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes!" "I pray that my ways may become firmly established so that I can obey your laws."  "Oh, that my ways may be established to observe and keep Your statutes [obediently accepting and honoring them]!"

Let's examine this short verse phrase by phrase:"Oh, that my ways were steadfast."  In making this more personal I state in a present tense petition to God, "Oh, that my ways are steadfast." There is no vacillation with our God. He is eternally steadfast and He calls His followers to a steadfast walk. Steadfast is defined as being "resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering." Notice the very personal petition, "my ways". We think of the old song, "Standin' in the Need of Prayer" that pleads, "Not my brother, not my sister, but it's me O Lord, standin' in the need of prayer." The words of this old spiritual may be seen as a selfish petition since the author is appealing to God on his own behalf rather than his brother or sister, "It's me, O Lord, standin' in the need of prayer". We all do well to plea for God's help to remain steadfast, courageous and obedient as our world continues to turn a deaf ear to timeless truths and principles established since the beginning of time.
"In obeying your decrees!" Although the author of Psalm 119 is unnamed many believe it was David. If so he certainly knew the evil that can be lodged in one's heart and the ongoing struggle of remaining faithful and steadfast to God, wholly committed to His Word. After all, the Scripture is clear and very frank regarding a time when he failed to remain steadfast in obeying God's decrees (see 2 Samuel 11). Men and women of God in any age need to petition for steadfastness. But in our own age when wrong is called right and right is called wrong and the understanding of what is right and wrong is constantly shifting, steadfastness in obeying God's decrees is especially important.
The writers of some of the great hymns of the Church acknowledge this struggle to remain steadfast in the words of their hymns. We appreciate their honesty. Can you identify the hymns these words are found in? 
  • "O how the world to evil allures me, O how my heart is tempted to sin!"
  • "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love."
  • "The arm of flesh will fail you; you dare not trust your own."
  • "Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul; take every virtue, every grace, and fortify the whole."
  • "When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay."
Today we call each reader to a steadfast and enduring walk with the Lord, wholly committed to obeying His decrees.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber


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