Psalm 119

8 Elements Common to Answered Prayers

Reposted from The Cripplegate.

Eos fell in love with the mortal man, Tithonus, and asked Zeus to make him immortal. Zeus granted the request—with a catch. Eos forgot to specify her request as wanting eternal youth for her beau. So Tithonus did live forever but kept aging until he was so old that he couldn’t move or think and just lay still, babbling in dementia forever.

Another character, Chiron, learned from Eos’s mistake and asked for eternal youth and immortality, but forgot to include in his request immunity from pain. He was shot with a poisoned arrow that couldn’t kill him, so he endured the perpetual agony of dying without escape in death.

On another occasion, Midas was granted his wish to be able to turn whatever he touched into pure gold, and Midas immediately went to work creating a vast treasure of golden objects. But then he became hungry and sat down to eat. His food grew rigid and his drink hardened into golden ice. Midas realized he was starving to death and also that he would never embrace his wife or daughter again.

The fictitious gods of the Greek pantheon were unbelievably capricious and vindictive. The true and living God of the Bible is the exact opposite.

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Don't Be a Fake

Psalm 119 is a beautiful text about God’s word. It begins with the psalmist tells us the only people in this world who are blessed are those “whose way is blameless,” (Ps 119:1). Of course, nobody is actually blameless in the sense of being “perfect,” and the psalmist knew that, too. He means that people are blessed “who walk in the law of the Lord,” (Ps 119:1). That is, you’re blessed if you do what His word says.

This is simple to understand. We get it. But God wants more than blind, rote conformity. Dead externalism is a waste of time; if you’re just “going through the motions,” then don’t bother. Read Malachi 1 or Isaiah 1, and see for yourself! The psalmist knows that, too. It’s why he clarified (Ps 119:2-3):

Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
    who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
    but walk in his ways!

God doesn’t want fake conformity. He wants people who not only keep his testimonies, but do it for the right reasons; “who seek him with their whole heart,” (Ps 119:2). When you think about your Christian life, think about your motivations for doing what you do. Why do you go to church? Why do you serve? Why do you give? Why do you do anything? Do you want to seek God with your whole heart? Or is this whole thing more of a routine, a mindless exercise you engage in while you think of other things?

The psalmist wants to do what God says; it’s what motivates him! He wrote (Ps 119:4-6):

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