This is the last verse of the first section of the wonderful Psalm 119. Each verse, up until now, has used a different expression for the law of God in His word. Now, for the first time, the psalmist reuses a word: ‘statutes’ – God’s prescribed limits.
At first, this appears to be a rather gloomy verse: could God ‘utterly forsake’ someone?
Think of it like this. God wants to walk with us every day of our lives. But He wants us to walk on His path; He never guarantees that He’ll accompany us if we cross the boundaries that He has set.
I heard a story once about an African bishop. He was due to catch a train to go to a conference at which he was the main speaker. Just before he left, he had an argument with his wife in the kitchen. He set off for the station without putting things right with her, because he was afraid of missing the train. As he hurried on his way, God spoke to him: “You should go back and put things right with your wife”.
“But, if I do that, I’ll miss the train!”
As he continued walking fast towards the station, God spoke to him again: “Go back and make it up with your wife”.
“But, Lord, I must catch that train. I’m the main speaker at the conference – I have to be there!”.
“Alright”, God said, “You go to your conference; I’ll stay in the kitchen with your wife”.
Remember these words of Jesus? ‘If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift’ (Matthew 23:23-24).
That’s just one ‘statute’ – one of God’s prescribed limits. Step outside them and the loss is ours.
But look what happens when we keep within them. God says: ‘I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them’ (Isaiah 42:16).
Let’s follow the way He’s leading us along. I may not know the route, but He does and, so long as I walk in step with Him, I’m safe and blessed. And if God’s with me and blessing me, that’ll overflow into other lives. Fantastic!
Prayer: Father, thank You that You have planned my path through today. Thank You that, when I stick to Your way, I will be safe, and my life will be fruitful. Today, I commit myself to follow Your way. Please show me when I’m likely to go off course and help me to recognise and stay on Your path. Amen.
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