This Psalm of David provides the child of God with 12 Actions for Abiding coinciding with the command from the Lord Jesus Christ in John 15:4 ‘Abide in Me’, which is the place where every child of God should seek to dwell, for it is in Christ and in Him alone that we serve and receive our eternal rewards and in turn bless the heart of God, ‘For without Me ye can do nothing’ (John 15:5). Therefore this practical list of actions which proceed from the life of one who is abiding in Christ is invaluable instruction for the born-again believer who wants to please God for this action of abiding fulfills all other commands of the Scripture as we dwell in Christ allowing Him to completely fill us with His presence.
The first verse asks two questions pertinent to the days of David, and could be modified slightly for the New Testament believer to say: ‘LORD, who shall abide in the Lord Jesus Christ? Who shall dwell in thy Holy Son?
For the Lord Jesus Christ in John 15:1 emphasized the fact that He is now The True Vine, no longer the nation of Israel, the vine out of Egypt and the Old Covenant rituals, but now it is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God Who replaces the Tabernacle which in itself was typical of God’s dear Son, no longer the holy hill of Zion, but the Holy Son of God replacing these physical places of worship in the presence of the LORD Jehovah, now the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s Man and Method of communing with Him for ‘No man comes to the Father but by Me’ Jesus said in John 14:6.
In (v.2) three Actions of Abiding occur: ‘He that walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness and speaketh the truth in his heart.’ The physical and spiritual aspects of the believers life are focused upon here with the words ‘walk’ and ‘work’ showing the necessity of not only walking in righteousness emphasizing the everyday actions of life, but also there must be a concerted effort empowered by the Holy Spirit to produce tangible lasting works which He alone can produce.
However, the real basis of the first two is found in the third action of abiding and it is the key to spiritual success because David here gives us a phrase ‘Speaking the truth in his heart’ that defines perfectly the action of meditation on the Word of God which is the underlying source for all spiritual success!
This brief but most powerful declaration unlocks the storehouse of spiritual blessing and in fact gives the key to abiding in Christ, Who is the Living Word, yes, we must consume and digest the Living Word of God if we are to have any real spiritual success just as Joshua of old recorded: ‘This Book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein, for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’
His statement was not new to the Israelites that day, no, his predecessor Moses said the same thing in Deuteronomy 6:6-9: ‘And these Words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and why thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt writh them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.’
David’s testimony to the need for meditation is found elsewhere in his writings as in Psalm 1:2 ‘But his delight is in the Law of the LORD and in His Law doth he meditate day and night.’ In Psalm 119, the Psalm which exalts and magnifies the Word of God, meditation is referred to seven times showing the vital necessity of this practice for success and blessing from the God of heaven.
But, it does not stop in the Old Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ said in John 15:7 ‘If ye abide in Me and My Word abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.’ He also made this pwerful statement concerning His Words ‘The Words that I speak unto you they are Spirit, they are Life.’ (John 6:63)
Yes, this simple phrase found in the fifteenth Psalm, was made by a man who understood completely the necessity of meditating on the Word of God. It was David’s way of being filled with the Spirit and he knew it, he knew the effects of digesting and saturating his soul with the Word, for if you want to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, be filled with God’s Holy Word, the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, for He transforms this miraculous written revelation of Himself into the delivering power of His Spirit!
In the first verse of Psalm 119 David gave the literal translation of what is being emphasized here: ‘Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who WALK IN THE LAW OF THE LORD.’ This underlines his method of having the Spirit’s presence and power, to him walking in the Law of the Lord produced the same fruit as the New Testament teaching of walking in the Spirit, he was ‘undefiled in the way’, without sin, pure and holy as he practiced walking in the Law of the Lord.
And so, we must at all costs make this a priority in our lives, first digesting, reading, memorizing, meditating, ‘speaking the truth in our hearts’ rolling it over in our minds, allowing the Living Word of God to saturate our souls, permeating our very being, ‘bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ’ (II Corinthians 10:5), allowing Him to rule our thinking, ‘letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:16), being filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:18,19)and thereby allowing Him to do the ministering in and through us.
Therefore, this seed of truth, planted and practiced by the saints of old, is developed into the magnificent Vine and branches teaching of Christ in John 15, the night he taught the eleven the vital truths they would need to go on and ‘turn the world upside down’ through the power of the Holy Spirit, as they abided in Him.
David continues with his list of practical principles of abiding in (v.3) ‘He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor.’ This trio of Godly actions focus upon the negative aspects of our conduct toward others. The first three actions were positive things we should do, and this next verse emphasizes the things we should not do in relationship to others. The word backbite emphasizes the idea of gossip or slander zooming in on the most practiced sin against others which is harmful speech. This all too common practice among the people of God is motivated and produced by the slanderer himself, Diabolos, the devil. Now, this is not shifting the blame and saying the devil made me do it, no, but we must recognize the source so that we can apply the proper remedy, and in this case, we must resist the devil utilizing the truth of the Word of God.
Replacing wicked thoughts with right thoughts from the Word of God, in this case, ‘speaking the truth with love’ or ‘loving thy neighbor as thyself’ are Scriptures that can be utilized in resisting the devil, and then ministering to that one by praying for them instead of ‘backbiting with his tongue...doing evil to his neighbor...taking up a reproach against his neighbor’
Verse four shows four more positive action the saint should perform when abiding: ‘In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoreth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.’
When the saint’s love for God is active, they will hate evil. This principle is demonstrated here when David says ‘a vile person is contemned’ the emphasis is upon someone who is a reprobate, a person that has rejected the truth and refused to respond to the works and working of God. This type of person must be despised by the believer as this verse rightly teaches. The direct opposite is then shown ‘But he honoreth them that fear the LORD’ showing the right response of the believer when he recognizes he is in the presence of someone whose life is regulated by a holy and righteous fear of God.
In recent days the LORD has placed me among what seems like a multitude of reprobates. Although, these men and women appear that way on the outside, unless this is proven by their conduct, it is not for me to pronounce this judgment upon them, but, instead, just as was case with the Lord Jesus Christ, these who are in the worst case on the ladder of life must be ministered to by His Spirit in order to truly discern their spiritual condition. It could well be that He has placed me in the midst of a giant mission field heretofore unreached by the power of His Spirit, and therefore it is for me to ‘Go and preach the Gospel to every creature’ and allow Him to do His great work of saving the souls whom He chooses.
The last two actions for abiding in (v.4) demonstrate the character of one who does what he says he would do regardless of the possible negative consequences he might inflict upon himself. His word is as good as gold and will not change his conduct even if it brings pain or loss. These two actions deal with the pocketbook so to speak showing that the saint who abides in Christ will not charge exorbitant interest, and refuses to take a bribe against someone who is innocent. Money will not move this person to be unjust or crooked in his dealings. He can not be bought!
The summary statement at the end of the Psalm gives great comfort to the believer: ‘He that doeth these things shall never be moved.’ Abiding in Christ provides the ultimate reward of an unshakable faith walk with Him. This, in essence, is the goal of every child of God, to mature to the point that regardless what comes our way, we will Rejoice Regardless, knowing that abiding in our unchanging Lord, is where the stability and blessing are, and always will be!
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