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THE AURORA OF AWE
AND THE GEYSER OF
PRESENTING THE PRAISE OF THE FAITHFUL REDEEMER,
SEEKING HIS FACE,
HEARING HIS SPEECH,
DELIGHTING IN HIS WORD
At times, it is well to study a highly specific segment of scripture and to relate this to certain others, so that BOTH the flavour and savour of the specific, and the impact of truth on the topical, can be jointly obtained. Today, in this we look chiefly at Psalm 71, in terms of the awe at the word of God and the God of His word, which is found when the heart is open, the mind clear and the spirit not side-tracked, seduced or otherwise engaged.
With this, we move to consider the awesome delight to be found, as in Psalm 119, in such a word as that which God has consigned to man; and then at the whole topic of information in this setting and perspective, what it is, what it brings, and how it relates to God.
The Plaint and Praise of Psalm 71
with Relish from Romans 5 and Isaiah 51
Psalm 71 is one of great thrust and passion, perception and eminent desire for praise: not to get it, but to give it. It can be wearisome to hear it self-acclaimed by this or that party, with dubious credentials! but when the task is to give it to another, and when in particular that other is God Himself, then if you know Him, the task becomes joy and the account factual instead of virtual reality!
Like a mother seeking the birth of her child, so the Psalmist seeks to give birth to the presentation of praise to that prodigy of mercy, of power and grace, of goodness and faithfulness, the Lord of his being, his strength, his deliverance and his heart.
HIS PLIGHT IN PERSPECTIVE Psalm 71:1-13
From his own birth, he has been taken and shaped by God, despite being born in sin (as shown in Psalm 51:5). Now he seeks deliverance, with the Lord his hope (4-5). From his youth – remarkable if he be David, he has trusted the Lord, and with his whole life in God's control, praise is continual from his lips. The same early trust might be said of the prophet Jeremiah (1:5).
Enemies surrounded him, saying that God has forsaken him! and many consider him a wonder, strange, unaccountable; but for all that, he desires the praise of God to fill his mouth. HE is not treacherous, but faithful (vv. 7-9). Age has now come; yet he is not bowed, but looks above.
He seeks reproach and dishonour for those who shamelessly harass him (71:12-13). When persecution comes because of one's trust in the Lord, service to Him and emplacement by Him, it can readily become as if a diplomat from a foreign country were attacked, because of his stand and standing, in the country to which he is sent. If the world hates Me, Christ declared, so will it hate you. Thus penalties may indeed come to the obstructionists, but not from man, who is in spiritual things is to turn the other cheek to mere assault, but from the God whose care is over history, not to prevent suffering on the part of His elect, but to deal with it as is fitting to Him.
To this aspect of judgment, we may compare Psalm 109, where persecution for righteousness' sake reaches its Messianic climax, and Psalm 69, where the religious mutants ply their craft, and the Messiah’s redemptive sorrow is shown in its grandeur. Following on from this (69:22ff.), there is to be found as marked a repudiation as truth requires; for where mercy is forgotten, then blight is apt to come uninvited. The failure to seek the divine mercy is like spitting out water, instead of swallowing, at the only source in a desert. What would one expect ?
To those scorning the solution to sin which He provides who made us, when He became man, not least for this very purpose, there thus comes their due. They inherit a reality which is now not merely defective, in their own psyches, but wilfully so, stubbornly corrupt.
It is not unlike a mathematical 'problem', and man is indeed a problem to himself.
If you REFUSE the one which is true, then nothing you do can help. ALL the rest is false. This is not changed if the 'one' answer is multiple in its opportunities. Thus the Trinity, one indeed, has the Sender, the Sent and the Spirit, who in One compose the answer, while the Sent One, the Son is the agent who performed the work, made the payment and so provided for the result.
What however if the solution be rejected ? What if one, to revert to mathematics, should insist on avoiding the correct and valid answer ? Then mental anguish might well attend the assuredly frustrated efforts one might make to get the result without the truth! Thus, in the spiritual sphere, if people insist on apathy or antipathy to the Lord, their lives may be rich or poor, blatant or secret, but they will be astray, unrealistic, given to pleasure or wealth or power or pride or self-will or thrill or oppressing or expressing, but there will be a void where there should be truth. They may experience bloated pleasure or inordinate self-approbation, but the books will not be right. Equipment accorded will not be used under licence, and the work of mental and spiritual power of God, will be used as if what NEVER produces even new information, had made it, a lie!
That is what the Bible calls it, and it is especially notable in Isaiah 44:20ff.. The topic is the making of idols, and the means wood plus fire, and as the thing is constructed, fire an agent, there are ashes. With what is not burnt, there is wood to be made into an idol. When this is done, the thing is worshipped, the objective of the work. God's comment, it is this.
"They do not know nor understand;
For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see,
And their hearts, so that they cannot understand.
And no one considers in his heart,
Nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say,
'I have burned half of it in the fire,
Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals;
I have roasted meat and eaten it;
And shall I make the rest of it an abomination?
Shall I fall down before a block of wood?'
"He feeds on ashes;
A deceived heart has turned him aside;
And he cannot deliver his soul,
Nor say, 'Is there not a lie in my right hand?'
In other words, the thing he has made, his idol has no more final objectivity than ashes, when its day is day, when its constitution is treated. To worship something drawn from 'Nature' is mere folly. The domain of the created which takes form and departs, is given format and loses this: it comes and goes.
What is to be worshipped in that ? It is mere construction and contrivance, often showing wonderful executive skill used the formation of its information; but the car does not think, the wood does not create its DNA, the brilliance which only intelligence can give, though illustrated in its construction, is not found within it, any more than does a microscope present genius to its users. It merely acts as made.
Thus, for all that may be said of the sophistication of this or that work in natural things, these are NOT the intelligence or the wisdom or the power which made it, but the product (cf. The gods of naturalism have no go!). Made, they are not makers of themselves. Even procreation merely activates what is made and presented for the making, by program and such devices.
What then ? Worship a product ? or the fabric of its nurture ? Is man mad ? How is it he so lacks understanding, desiring to give all power and propulsion to what can merely exercise its various ingredients and constructed powers, and be susceptible to an end!
Is the one whose production has included intelligence to worship what lacks it, its mere product!
Yes, this is precisely what millions do. They may not sing psalms, or make prayers to it*1, but they treat it as if a god, as if it wrought and produced, made codes and contrived the inflexible complexity which is now found in the least of living thing. It is as if it gave to each a unity of meaning and a matrix of reality so that it could have criteria for operation and characteristics for living. Nothing comprised in matter has ever been found to do ANYTHING like that*2. To invade mind with matter is mere chatter. Mind makes information, matter stores it; to show the opposite of matter is mere talk, naming what has certain characteristics as if this gave it others!
Thus those who seek to avoid not merely their obligations to God, for which He has given them abundant facility to perceive, but their necessity to repent of their own wilfulness in ignoring or disregarding or minimising His reality and power, His importance and creation, disdain or avoid the reception of His mercy where it may be found (Isaiah 53-55), cannot bend His righteousness or invent truth. They are like those who refuse to leave a city despite a tornado, and in addition, refuse the publicly available transport provided (cf. Hebrews 2:1-3, 6:19). Many such were recently left in Texas, so that the rescue operations were inundated as if by another flood!
To pursue the tornado analogy, as in Texas with its estimated tens of thousands who would not, who refused to depart from the area of destruction on the way: ignoring undesired truth does not make it depart, any more than staying put in the threatened city, makes this safe. Indeed there is more; for when judgment must and does come, then there at times a better result, at least for some. In Psalm 83:16 we see a similar thought of those persisting in seeking to fracture reality, refusing the God of their creation, or His will and word, linked to the concept that in some such persons, divine rebuke might even help them to be moved to SEEK the Lord!
In other words, God is very deep, and His will is not that any perish (cf. Ezekiel 33:11, John 3:17), but that they may be saved; and even some of the most obstinate may find a stimulus to reality when they meet the first overtures of judgment, the initial results of their folly. In that case, preludes of judgment may deliver them from the last act! That, no man is fit to face (cf. Romans 1-2, James 1).
If then some turn at last to the word of the living God, verified, validated and assured*3, to the Gospel of grace, to the God of all truth, then well.
Yet if not, then righteousness will not bend. It must be received, and all who imagine their own as an entry ground for the presence of God, are merely deceived (cf. Romans 10). Paul declares on this topic, that such are seeking to establish their own righteousness, failing to receive that which is from God only. The former is an abuse of terms, the latter the necessity for salvation
It is rather like little children seeking to play dads and mums, imagining in their little hearts, that the power and skill is theirs. In this case, however, it is as if the game is a moral and mental one, in which little children of crass lack of perception, imagine they can impress God and breach the gates of heaven without application, and donation of means by the kindly love, yes and pardoning grace of God.
HIS DIVINELY DIRECTED DESIGN FOR THIS LIFE Psalm 71:14-18
As to the Psalmist, his hope in the Lord flourishes, and his mouth will declaim the divine righteousness at whatever cost: there being no other than He, in whom it is utterly invested, nor will any other be sustained, except in Him whose it is. It is this righteousness which provides the Psalmist with power, and not his own; for though the divine plan has moulded his life, in sin did his mother conceive him.
There is no such thing as the righteous man self-asserting himself into place, like a self-launching aeroplane, or a hidden rocket without key. What finds God does so ONLY as one who moves from being unrighteous in the sight of God, to the rest of redemption (71:23), not only pardoned, but filled with divine goodness, with the Lord's own righteousness donated to his account (cf. Psalm 32, II Corinthians 5:17ff.). Now received by the Lord, he is one who both knows and shows the power of the Lord (71:16,18), in this, His purity. It is this which so many detest, even to the point of persecuting His servant. Yet the pardoned person loyal to God is as one flying in a beam of light, and while you may be discerned, it is the light which is your medium which is illuminating!
The Psalmist, we find, is now old, with grey head; the prominent pulse of youthful spirits has passed, nor is such natural force his any longer. Yet he seeks power for the residue of his earthly life, desiring that the Lord sustain him until he has declared the power and strength of God to his own generation. He needs that very power to proclaim this, being drawn on the one hand, propelled on the other, to declare Him - moved by the Lord as if by a propeller on an aeroplane. For such things, he does not hesitate to ask, probing into the divine perspective with a heart lavish in expectation, in hope, in appeal!
Such a brilliant desire with such a humbled heart and high aspiration leads him on, the Lord both his praise and his strength.
HIS REVIVAL AND EMPOWERMENT TO PUT HEART INTO THE PRAISE OF GOD
As high as has been and is the righteousness of God, low is the Psalmist's current lot. From "severe troubles", he asks the Lord, "revive me again", seeking to be brought up "from the depths" to which the psyche readily sinks, by the Lord who being its Maker, is his minder as well (71:21).
Here is the joy that no psychiatrist can even begin to provide - here is the ebullience of an inner strength from the resourcefulness of the Creator, his Lord, who is God and hence over all, as well as within his heart. God Almighty, the Creator and God the Redeemer, the Saviour, having delivered his spirit, mind and life, this creation-reclamation combination is something inseparable, for the God who created is also He who leads, the One whose righteousness gives tang to life and power to the faithful.
By a sacred hope, he trusts God to adorn his life with more divinely enabled works, to make him like an aircraft, to anachronise, now grounded for a time, but yet soon roaring into the air. Indeed, the divine comfort such as he HAS known, he TRUSTS to continue (vv. 19-21). He trusts, in his repentant, realistic seeking, to be revived again, increased, enabled, refreshed and blessed. Centred in the presence of his God, what matters for the Psalmist, the peripheral! Means for service will be supplied (v. 21).
Music to acclaim the wonder of his God can be multiplied, and God's faithfulness will he continually praise, his exuberance lipped with the praise of love, though many prefer the love of praise. Delivered from schemers, harassment by lurkers, whom God will confound, his tongue will shower forth praises of the Lord, like the sparkling glitters, which here we may see, in the great Southern Aurora (vv. 22-24).
THAT is an outcome of the Lord's work; but the Psalmist is devoted to the Lord, through the income of His works over his life (v.17), poured into his heart, operating beyond and through him. It is that God who is his very strength, whose praise by man he so covets on His behalf. It is this which he so singularity shows and insists on showing. He responds as does the atmosphere to the impact from the power of the sun on its magnetic field; but that to which he responds, it is not a power from the heavens, but from the grace and place of the One who made them. Knowing God more than His creation is like knowing the painter rather than the paintings.
To know HIM in truth is central (cf. John 17:1-3), so what matters the pain and pangs of persecution (vv. 10-14): instead of dwelling on such things, one must seek to enable others to find Him, moving from dregs to spiritual designs, from the murk to the light, from potential disorder to celestial comfort, from discomposure to integrity in the Lord. It is He who unites the heart to His fear, to deliciously reverence His name, moving it to that awesome and delightful wonder that is His – and so to worship and so to live, as in Psalm 86:9-13.
Indeed, in that Psalm of David, with the end of the preceding Psalm 85, we see the eternal life and the wonder that HE will make His footsteps the pathway for His saints, better far than stepping in the sand-yielding prints of one who leaderless, yet leads! In much, Psalm 86 (bold added) is complementary to our current Psalm 71:
nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord;
and will glorify thy name.
"For You art great, and do wondrous things: You art
Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth: unite my heart to fear Your name.
"I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart:
and I will glorify Your name for evermore.
For great is Your mercy toward me:
and You hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell."
THE REGALITY OF THE REALITY OF DIVINE RIGHTEOUSNESS IN THE HEART
Let us then relish this righteousness of God, indeed all the more, since Paul in Romans Chapters 10 and 5 makes it clear that there are options, legitimate and illegitimate like a child born out of wedlock. You can seek to establish your own righteousness,
· "being ignorant of God's righteousness", and so be with those who have
· "not submitted to the righteousness of God,"
or else, join the Christian company, that is those who
· "receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness",
so joining by faith with the company of those who "will reign in life" (Romans 5:17).
With His righteousness goes His word, that revelation being part of it, and so to be received (cf. John 17:6-8, 12:48-50). As to this, it is not a word to be made a basis for addition or a reservoir for subtraction (Revelation 22:18-19)! Man SHALL LIVE by EVERY word which proceeds out of the mouth of God (cf. Matthew 4:4 cf. Revelation 22:18-19, Matthew 5:17-20).
The chosen writer of Psalm 71 is enthralled with it. First, "My mouth will tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day" (v. 15); then "I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only" (v. 16) – no addition, nothing to add! It is "very high" (v. 19). Then thirdly, "My lips will greatly rejoice when I sing to You, and my soul, which You have redeemed" - for divine righteousness when given through faith, to one's account and heart for an environment, like spiritual air, does bring about redemption.
In fact, this is the ONLY way it can come, for all sacrifice is channeled through that once for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Redeemer, in whom "dwells all the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form" (Col. 2:9, Hebrews 9:12, 10:10,14), Christ our Passover. David continues "My tongue will talk of Your righteousness all the day long" (v. 24).
Why ? it is because this is the purity of snow, the redness of blood, the reality transferred, the heartland opened up to those licensed there to travel, given permanent all-season tickets in this way to live with God. What must therefore be the fear of God and the love involved in such transference to sacred premises (cf. Colossians 1:13, Ephesians 2:6)! for ONLY God and HIS righteousness and salvation, will remain (Isaiah 51:6). Thus it reaches us and we are reached by Him, becoming IN Him, members of His kingdom, eternal residents in His grace (Ephesians 1:6,11) who rose even from death (Psalm 16,22, Romans 8:32-39, 10:9-10). In this, we speak (Psalm 22:16-25).
"Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness," - II Peter 3:11. It is the KING’S righteousness, accompanied by His presence, a regal righteousness indeed.
As Isaiah declares: "The earth will grow old as a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner, but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not be abolished." To this He adds:
"Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law.
“Do not fear the reproach of man, nor be afraid of their insults,
For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool,
But My righteousness will be forever,
And My salvation from generation to generation."
Have it therefore, for it is a very core of divine cordiality and a kindness that keeps pure, the blood the cleansing agent, holiness the result. It is received by faith like a coat wrapped around you, covering you (Isaiah 61:10) and is never lost (John 5:24).
The Odium of Opprobrium and the Delight in the Way,
The Lament and the Aspiration
Awe is to be found as one ponders the word of God. You see this not only in the delight of those who present it, though as with Jeremiah, the gravamen may be profound as judgment looms for the nebulous, the dawdling and the rebellious, but in the account for example of Psalm 119 of the works in the heart of the Psalmist as he seeks life, the Lord of it and the word of Him who made it. As truth marches into one's heart, so pity moves out from one's spirit, and as divine mercy moves towards those who seek Him, so does human love work. While devastation after despised mercy afflicts the heart, yet invitation continues to revive it, and found, the truth enlivens even amidst judgment.
There is nothing uncertain about the truth, and when it is found where alone it has eternal residence, in God, then the emotions are purged, the clarity of day lighting the whole environment of the heart, irradiating the mind and bringing "great peace"! In this way, man, now redeemed in the salvation of God, is recast from mottled mutant, to restored child, at last brought to the household of faith and truth, where nothing changes and the Lord lives in every heart that is His (Colossians 1:27, Titus 2-3, Romans 5, 8).
Such things will be seen in some detail below, in biblical sites.
First, as to the burden of the gravamen, the substance of the judgment against the people, felt in the heart of the prophet, we need only consider Jeremiah 9 to feel it in its enormous thrust.
"Oh, that my head were waters,
And my eyes a fountain of tears,
That I might weep day and night
For the slain of the daughter of my people!
Oh, that I had in the wilderness
A lodging place for travelers;
That I might leave my people,
And go from them!
For they are all adulterers,
An assembly of treacherous men.
"And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies.
They are not valiant for the truth on the earth.
For they proceed from evil to evil,
And they do not know Me," says the Lord.
In this, it is difficult to make the quotation to be all from the Lord, though "says the Lord" comes at the end of it; but yet more so, to make it refer in the first part only to the prophet, in view of this. It seems in this case that one must say (since God has no limits to power or fulfilment of desire), that He is speaking anthropomorphically, as if in the Messianic incarnation already. Put differently, God is using Jeremiah as a sounding board, and allowing His divine pity to be expressed through this flute or lute, if you will, given form by the man, but the fact of His own pity the basis.
Pity does not make things different in itself; and when "an assembly of treacherous men", hypocritical, suave, sophisticated, subtle, ingloriously misaligned to the glory of God, stealers of His words, canny truants from truth, are in view, in charge and have long been so, these or their not dissimilar predecessors, the time comes when this smut and rust, to put it in agricultural terms, is so sever that to have it continue is worse than to arrest it! Consider the plight of even one child of such people, brought up in sedation of spirit, bred in hypocrisy of attitude, attuned to wickedness by example both private and public!
Thus the Lord acted, but the prophet felt indeed the pity of it; and when the destruction of the city, kept intact despite the grandeur of its betrayals for centuries (amongst revivals), actually arrived, then Jeremiah is the worse afflicted as you see in his other prophecy, Lamentations. Take for example, the first few verses.
"How lonely sits the city
That was full of people!
How like a widow is she,
Who was great among the nations!
The princess among the provinces
Has become a slave!
"She weeps bitterly in the night,
Her tears are on her cheeks;
Among all her lovers
She has none to comfort her.
All her friends have dealt treacherously with her;
They have become her enemies.
"Judah has gone into captivity,
Under affliction and hard servitude;
She dwells among the nations,
She finds no rest;
All her persecutors overtake her in dire straits.
"The roads to Zion mourn
Because no one comes to the set feasts.
All her gates are desolate;
Her priests sigh,
Her virgins are afflicted,
And she is in bitterness."
THAT is introduction: consider a little later. Here Jeremiah asks in apostrophe, any who passes by, IS IT NOTHING TO YOU! Do you see this desolation ? can you withhold grief! The sight is pathetic, woeful, devastating.
"Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Behold and see
If there is any sorrow like my sorrow,
Which has been brought on me,
Which the Lord has inflicted
In the day of His fierce anger.
"From above He has sent fire into my bones,
And it overpowered them;
He has spread a net for my feet
And turned me back;
He has made me desolate
And faint all the day.
"The yoke of my transgressions was bound;
They were woven together by His hands,
And thrust upon my neck.
He made my strength fail;
The Lord delivered me into the hands of those whom I am not able to withstand.
"The Lord has trampled underfoot all my mighty men in my midst;
He has called an assembly against me
To crush my young men;
The Lord trampled as in a winepress
The virgin daughter of Judah.
"For these things I weep;
My eye, my eye overflows with water;
Because the comforter, who should restore my life,
Is far from me.
My children are desolate
Because the enemy prevailed."
The case is a strenuous one, grief is overpowering, lament is inscribed into his very heart.
See how Jeremiah becomes so empathetic with Jerusalem the devastated, that he speaks of it as "I" and "my", for it is as if his own family. A prophet appealing with fantastic tenderness, and with its needful obverse, judgmental severity in view of what was predicted to come, one who had been authorised to offer terms of mercy again and again (as in Jeremiah 17), but who to a people recalcitrant beyond all measure, had to bear the final certainty of judgment to come, Jeremiah now had to face not only the impending fact. Now, it had actually happened, and it was the arrived fate which struck him like a bullet in the face. The sights of woe, as if a tsunami had devastated the entire city, but worse, it had stirred up merciless men to succeed it with torment, these brought him to lamentations so famous that they echo to this day.
Take this, again, in Lamentations 2:11ff.:
My eyes fail with tears,
My heart is troubled;
My bile is poured on the ground
Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people,
Because the children and the infants
Faint in the streets of the city.
"They say to their mothers,
'Where is grain and wine?'
As they swoon like the wounded
In the streets of the city,
As their life is poured out
In their mothers’ bosom.
"How shall I console you?
To what shall I liken you,
O daughter of Jerusalem?
What shall I compare with you, that I may comfort you,
O virgin daughter of Zion?
For your ruin is spread wide as the sea;
Who can heal you?
"Your prophets have seen for you
False and deceptive visions;
They have not uncovered your iniquity,
To bring back your captives,
But have envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions.
All who pass by clap their hands at you;
They hiss and shake their heads
At the daughter of Jerusalem:
'Is this the city that is called
"The perfection of beauty,
The joy of the whole earth" ?'
"All your enemies have opened their mouth against you;
They hiss and gnash their teeth.
'We have swallowed her up!
Surely this is the day we have waited for;
We have found it, we have seen it!'
"The Lord has done what He purposed;
He has fulfilled His word
Which He commanded in days of old.
He has thrown down and has not pitied,
And He has caused an enemy to rejoice over you;
He has exalted the horn of your adversaries."
It is rather like the father of the prodigal son, if called in modern day terms, to witness the crashed sports car, the injured passengers, including children with broken bones, and with his broken heart, speaking in court of his son ... It is of the son he thinks, the boy whom no words could move, whose heart was like stone, whose desires were like floods and whose folly was sustained as if by a valiant heart, misplacing its season, intent only on folly!
Secondly, then, having visited the lament for loss from sustained rebellion, we turn to the delight in the source of sustained mercy and enlivening truth. This liberates, sin enslaves. The latter is lamentable, the former is adorable. For this, we turn to Psalm 119, using excerpts.
14ff. ..."I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.
Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.
Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.
I am a stranger in the earth;
Do not hide Your commandments from me.
My soul breaks with longing
For Your judgments at all times."
Illumination, delight at things of wonder, direction and indescribable longing, all are in his heart towards this, the word of God.
Again, we find this (29ff.):
"Remove from me the way of lying,
And grant me Your law graciously.
I have chosen the way of truth;
Your judgments I have laid before me.
I cling to Your testimonies;
O Lord, do not put me to shame!
I will run the course of Your commandments,
For You shall enlarge my heart.
Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end."
Enlargement of heart is needed for understanding, but it is ever so, and the more so when one moves from the secular limitations to the celestial perspective; and as the way of lying goes, the way of truth comes like refreshing rain, eminently desirable in drought, relief and refreshment, provision and adequacy all in one.
From 119:37ff., we have this:
"Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.
Establish Your word to Your servant,
Who is devoted to fearing You."
Devotion to the Lord means turning from what futilely contends and contests, and stability of heart is sought in the way that does not retire, being true forever.
From 119:43ff., this is taken:
"And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
For I have hoped in Your ordinances.
So shall I keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.
And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.
I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings,
And will not be ashamed.
And I will delight myself in Your commandments,
Which I love.
My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments,
Which I love,
And I will meditate on Your statutes."
The ringing relish of the word of God brings a
theme, "which I love", delight thrusts it forward,
and security brings it confidence, liberty its provision and fearlessness its gift.
Psalm 119:68 following has this testimony:
"You are good, and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.
The proud have forged a lie against me,
But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.
Their heart is as fat as grease,
But I delight in Your law.
"It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of coins of gold and silver."
Error and affliction are a small charge for the restoration to the Lord of the word and the word of the Lord. Persecution has cause a momentary wobbling, but the word of the living God, who attends it indeed, brings relief and restores strength, more resourceful for one's need, than a banker with a fortune to administer.
A little later, Psalm 119:92ff. provides this account.
"Unless Your law had been my delight,
I would then have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have given me life.
I am Yours, save me;
For I have sought Your precepts.
"The wicked wait for me to destroy me,
But I will consider Your testimonies.
I have seen the consummation of all perfection,
But Your commandment is exceedingly broad."
The consummation of all perfection is an astounding culmination. To consummate something is to bring it to its height of eminence and completeness, perfection has no fault at the start, and this is the eminence of the eminent: and what is more, it has a liberty within it which astounds, once it is understood. Love is like that: it is neither slack nor merely crimping.
This is followed in Psalm 119:97, by this profound affection:
"Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day."
Here there is nothing that becomes stale, but what is loved and intrigues and entrances, the word of God.
By the time we come to 119:129, there is new exclamation and adoration of the Lord
"Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul keeps them.
The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
I opened my mouth and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments."
It is a great thing to KEEP what is WONDERFUL. Many keep old cars, cards, medals, puzzles, memories, but this is a thing wonderful in itself, reactions may vary, but their intrinsically evocative base, what is a glory without shame, a wonder without defect, this enthuses as here, to the uttermost.
At Psalm 119:165, we have this summation:
"Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.
My tongue shall speak of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.
Let Your hand become my help,
For I have
chosen Your precepts.
"I long for Your salvation, O Lord,
And Your law is my delight.
Let my soul live, and it shall praise You;
And let Your judgments help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
Seek Your servant,
For I do not forget Your commandments."
Peace is an outcome which many seek as an income from this and that; but when what is, is right, and what is done and found, is true, and when one is founded and not confounded, being where God Himself would have one, and when His word THEREFORE is praised and enjoyed, as that of One vastly loved, worshipped in spirit and found in fact, then great is the peace. So did the Psalmist find it, who having found God, did not founder, but prized his find.
This word speaks, as the Spirit of God enables the mind to discern, the heart to respond, the spirit to embrace and the understanding to find its clusters of comprehension, like rich bunches of grapes, and thus have the saints found it, whether in this century or that millenium. Truth is lovely when in truth, its words reflect the glory of the God of all wonder, the source of love and the epitome of mercy. Beautiful words cannot mask evil; but when the beauty of the Lord is the source of the truth which is His, who knows all, then are words maximised by their topic.
See EVOLUTION AS RELIGION.
See: The Desire of the Nations ... Ch. 2 Epilogue,
Little Things Ch. 3 (esp. *3),
Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4,
Dancers, Prancers, Answers ... Chs. 3, 5,
Barbs ... 4.
EXCURSUS on Being Well-Informed
BEING INFORMED ABOUT INFORMATION
GOD is the only ULTIMATE INFORMER
One reason why in empirical fact, information is not found to be produced except by intelligence, is this. What IS information ? It is what may be understood, for otherwise it does not inform, and so is not information. By what must it then be understood to perform its function ? It must be understood by intelligence, or what has been cast by intelligence, into a receptor which performs routine functions parallel to apperception, without having the means to make such a program. In other words, information informs what IS to be informed, by intelligence or a pseudo-intellectual device made to interact with intelligence's products.
What sort of action is needed to be or construct such a receptor ? Intelligent action. Thus information is what is given by and to intelligence. Information which does not inform may have potential, but until it informs, the topic is null: nothing of life occurs.
Thus information comes from intelligence, directly or indirectly, and reaches intelligence, directly or indirectly. It is in the cosmos of intelligence, for it has determinate symbols with defined meaning which operate or inform receptor units, both in a common code or system to enable this. Also needed, for life to be operative, is the interface between the receptor mode and the action mode. Knowing your enemy is there, even IF you manage to find this out by information reception, is still not the same as taking responsible or worthwhile action to match; instructing a device to act is not the same as making it do so.
It does not in the least matter what means are actually employed in this exercise: the TYPE of action required has to be wrought by means adequate, or nothing is actually informed or actually done in terms of the information. Both are required for life. DNA skips nothing.
Thus system one, is the codal organisation, orientation and system, a sphere of understanding. System two is the receptor organisation, with correlative input interpretation to the output information. System three is that of enaction, in terms of the information. System four is provision, that of the means necessary for the action to reach its due outcome in the total systematics. System five is the chronological sequence, to enable bit-parts to match other ones, and provisions to mutually engage effectively, and system six is the matter of space orientation, to enable collation, instead of having prepared entities lying uselessly about. Nothing must be out of range, time or position.
System seven is correlation of all systems. All systems are mere forms unless the meaning is latent and patent in turn, that informs.
These systems are not in the area of non-informational systems. They are not simply bits of things, however many such items may exist, any more than pieces of radio are bits of things only. What is used in any construction including a material element, will of course encompass bits of things; but what makes them reactive is the systems in which they are in uniform combination of concept, conceived. Such conception is a matter of a sphere of thought, being by nature irrelevant to materials per se. They are its instruments, giving new dignity by their installation and systematisation, but only as means.
The causal cosmos of intellectual routines is the heart of the matter, and behind this, there is will, since intellectual routines by their nature, require a task-master; for mind is not worked by force, but by purpose.
To have purpose-built systems, contrived in cohesion, interactive in unitary wholeness from multi-partite systems is the necessary background to information in any material entity. It simply does not matter, is not even relevant to the concept, whether one or more means of conveying concept and deploying design should be used. What has what is required for this cosmos of apprehension and comprehension has to be operative, either directly or by its design-contrivances which perform this or that function, just as a tape-recorder without will or art, can follow the will for its manufacture and the means for the activation of that manufacture, in recording the voice of the artist, backed in her case by will and flair, intelligence and rehearsal.
Thus does intelligence contrive what other intelligence performs, the former, the means, an item in management, the latter, an item in purposeful intelligence, with other items beyond this, such as aesthetic sense, empathetic involvement and so on, if the record for example, should be of an opera singer.
Nothing comes easily, in the sense that it 'just happens'. Matter does not 'just happen', the interaction of elements, electrons, force and breach, quarks, mesons, compounds of every type, typed as by a type-writer but with chemical conception and physical characteristics, mutually interactive and significant: these things are all 'given'; but nothing is given from nothing.
It is to engage in self-contradiction to say so.
What is given is either adequate or inadequate for what is obtained. If the cosmos of such codal interactions and their underlying systematics is to be caused to exist, what is in that order of function has to be active to make it to do so. In our early times tables (in the day when schools taught these things rigorously), neither the tables, nor their mathematical concepts which lay back of them, nor the empirical nature of physical reality which lies back of that, nor the intellectual components of matched codal understanding, which is necessary for these results, are either simply matter, nor simply spirit and mind. It is a combination of spheres which engenders such collusion of concept, performance and meaning, such information and its correlative applications.
There is intelligence shown in MAKING and intelligence has to be shown in PERCEIVING the meaning and nature of what is made, and again in applying these perceptions and those to conceptions so that meaning and action may duly be performed when ALL of these integral spheres, being in a mutually meaningful sphere (called creation), have their task in the totality wrought. That the will which is back of conception can be disorderly, is merely one of the features of the order of the organisation. Thus a sports car has a type of order to PERMIT and to ENABLE a driver to operate it, even if he drives it atrociously.
It is not from nothing that this wilful capacity (for though it may incapacitate the people the driver hits, it has to have systematically meaningful power and device to be able to do this) comes, and its own sphere is as distinctive as is the intellectual. Were the work of intellect rigorously performed, even analysed for good measure and codified as well as activated, it still would not even touch the decisions to act, and their criteria and imagination, covered beyond with perspective and orientation, except as a means.
Matter, mind, spirit, all are both at work in the PRODUCTION of what we are and what is about us, and in the FORMATIONS for what we are about! Information is a means of correlation in these mutually significant spheres. It does not arrive in its comprehending coded form except as a work in the domains involved.
As always, whether in bits or in sudden totalities, you get nothing from nothing.
Whatever is to be gained, installed and functional, has to be made so. If it were made so by semi-automatic means, then these have to be installed and made functional. No number of steps, in space or time or system, can relief the necessity of the adequacy of what is to produce, for the production of what is to be.
Information requires intelligence for the code-contrivance-activation-correlation, for it is a conceptual system, requiring the capacity to order, organise, assign and overview, not BY something in the end, but through no means other than the basis itself. Always we must move past the confusion of activating means, as if these bypassed the logical necessity or correlative conceptual action in the cosmos of concept, to see their ontological irrelevance, and consider the source of each and every organisational entity, imposed on more base materials.
As to those very base materials, in vain do we look for their most minute assemblages, for these with the macro-top-level are all in one conceptual cosmos of comprehending oversight, engineered or geared, or architecturally engaged and co-ordinatively controlled.
NOTHING is what may be assumed, scientifically. This intellectually degenerate and aetiologically disreputable device, to make nothing at once or in stages, contribute all the inherent realities of ANY part or unity, process or integrality is the only other option to having what is adequate do it, and hence to have the minimal powers required for ALL the operations, whatever their sequence, and in however many parts their actions are imagined to be performed. Drawing something from nothing by various stages is in principle as illicit and irrational, self-contradictory, as doing it all at once. Nothing has never anything to offer!
Further, since we do not FIND (an empirical confirmation of the above), either nothing or anything else that is not intelligent MAKING any parts or new integralities, in the procedure of guesswork instead of finding, and irrationality instead of causality (cf. Causes), we simply note this. It is that you get out what you put in, you discover what is discoverable because of action, not imagination, and the empirical and the rational are as one, like two hands clasped, each separately and both together disdaining the affected concept of concepts without cause, and configuration without figuring, of atoms without enduement and a coherent system without conception, of conception without work and work without worker.
When, to pursue it further, the Maker of systems, information and the power to discover information and relay it by the human spirit, mind and body, decides to give information about the DISORDER, DERANGEMENT or ARROGANCE with which His total integrality of many things enables man to make by his spirit, then we have the next phase.
In this, we have not merely the purpose and concept related powers to investigate what man is, on the part of man, but the power to be investigated and told of what we are, by the Maker. It is not the case here, either, that there is nothing to it. A 'nothing to it' world is fast becoming one getting ready to be disorganised to the point of extinction, part by part, with enormous release of energy as II Peter 3 indicates, and in general, Christ exhibited (Matthew 24:35 with Isaiah 51:6).
What is not nothing but God has analysed man, this being no problem as the Creator of him; and has given a diagnosis of the misuse of man's will (cf. Luke 19:42ff., Ezekiel 33:11, Romans 1), and its terminal force for man's life. This also is information. It uses and is reached by a correlation of mind, purpose and orientation. Just as man can misuse his own being, acting to its destruction, impairment or derangement in any of his depths and dimensions, so he can misuse the information which God gives (on which see The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy).
Just as God can and does inform man on His diagnosis of his condition, and the prognosis without remedial treatment, so man may even distort and disorder this, even to the point of wilful disorientation of which Christ, citing Isaiah declared, that man will often close tight his eyes and shut his ears lest he should understand and being converted, know God (Matthew 13).
Order and disorder is a matter of cause and effect, but the ultimate cause extends to the intelligence and imagination of God, who having made the creation, and the information which both runs it and enables man within it to understand His mind (cf. Amos 4:13, Isaiah 45), has made that special feature and focus of information which is called the Gospel. Mercifully, found in the Bible, set into integral relationship to man in practice by Christ on the Cross (cf. Galatians 3, 5), this very word is translated 'good news'. It is not damnation but salvation, deliverance, ransom, redemption which is the gift. It is not forced. It is information. It also works, the Holy Spirit active in providing comprehension, orientation and perspective.
Back of man, God knows each person to the uttermost, as inventors tend to do; and the ultimate resource behind all things, never nothing for then nothing would always be all, and I am not nothing nor are you, has knowledge infinitely (cf. Psalm 147:5).
Thus the Gospel,
|the work of one
who made the limiting device known as our time,
our chronological and patience-requiring system for sequence,
|the One therefore its cause and beyond its domain as a container,|
|can never be changed|
course is expressly cited in Galatians 1,
as indicated likewise in II Corinthians 11 with Ephesians 1:10,
Isaiah 51:6, Revelation 22:18-19, John 8:58,
Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102, Habakkuk 3:6, Hebrews 9:12ff., 10:1 -14, 12:28,
Daniel 7:14,25-27, Revelation 20:1ff.).
|it is rejected (unless repentance intervene in TIME) forever,|
its payload of peace
is distanced definitively.
There is one God and there is one Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ (I Timothy 2), who the eternal word of God, became man that man might find God (John 1:1-4, II Peter 3:18), given freeway access by the outlay prodigious which while bringing in ultimate sorrow as sin was borne for those who would ever receive it (cf. Romans 8:32, Romans 5:1-10), brought in everlasting joy (Romans 5:11, Isaiah 51:11, John 16:22, John 10:27-28, Ephesians 1:11), both for Him who so suffered (Hebrews 12:1ff.), and for those who are His.
There is the consummation of life, and there is its condemnation.
That is part of the information (cf. John 3:16-19,36, Matthew 13).
See SMR, TMR, The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy Ch.11 esp., It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, Little Things Ch. 5, and the relevant volumes and sets in Search.