Monday, December 19, 2011

Gaze on!

  54 Your decrees have been the theme of my songs wherever I have lived.

 55 I reflect at night on who you are, O Lord; therefore, I obey your instructions.  56 This is how I spend my life: obeying your commandments.

(Psalm 119:54-56 The New Living Bible)

54 Your laws are the songs I sing wherever I am living. 55 LORD, in the night I remembered your name, and I obeyed your teachings. 56 This happened because I carefully obey your instructions.
(Psalm 119:54-56 Easy-to-Read Version)

I gave us a couple of versions of this passage to read this morning so that we can put together some thoughts.  In examining this passage, several "themes" became apparent:

- David has made following God's decrees (his Word) his way of "doing business".  He has a lot of choices (as do we) in dealing with the stress of life. His choice was to turn to God.  Wherever he was "living" - there God was in his midst - right down to the songs he sang.  Have you ever noticed how easy it is to remember a passage of scripture when it is set to song?  Think about some of the praise and worship songs you sing in your church.  Many come from the psalms and are rally portions of scripture.  We are moved by those songs - because the Word was meant to be rehearsed until it had impact.  Songs will do that - they get into the core of our being.  That is why we find ourselves hearing a little bit of a song and then we "can't get it out of our head".  

- David reflects often and frequently on God's Word.  It is in this reflection that most of the impact is made in his life.  This is the idea of "pondering".  It is in the "pondering" that the reflection of Christ is evident in our lives.  To reflect is to allow the reproduction of what is beheld.  As David takes time to behold his Lord, he begins to notice that there is evidence of that reflection apparent in his life - it is evident in the actions that reflection produces.

- Reflection helps to get us to the point of obedience.  The product, or result, of reflecting upon Jesus is a change in our activity.  We move from a place of self-direction into a place of reliance upon God.  We gravitate toward choices that will build up our spirit rather than tear or weigh it down.  We tend to display love and mercy, as it has been displayed to us in the reflection we see of Christ.  David makes no excuses - obedience was not his first choice in life. Neither is it ours!  It was in the continual reflection upon God's Word that his choices were changed.

- Life doesn't just happen; it is orchestrated and planned out in the moments we take in reflection upon God's Word.  Look again at what David says - your laws are the songs I sing where I am living.  We need an "orchestra" leader to pull together all the parts of our lives into some ordered symphony of praise!  Without some "leadership", the "parts" are just that - parts.  When God leads our lives, the "parts" become a "symphony" of praise and adoration - they bring honor to the one who orchestrates the parts!

Look at what David reflects upon - who God is.  Not just on what God does, but on who he is.  When we come to understand the character of God, we often see the flaws of those we have been influenced by in our past living.  Those influences may not have produced good things within our lives, but God always does!  It is one thing to think highly and praise someone for doing good stuff.  It is quite another to appreciate, honor, and reverence someone because of the good that makes up their character.  

David got to know the character of God in the wee hours of the night - in the times of quiet reflection upon what he experienced that day.  In the failures of our day, God's reflection back to us is mercy.  In the moments of anger or frustration, God's reflection back to us is peace and love.  In the times of wrong choices, God's reflection back to us is a new start.  No wonder David finds reflection such a rewarding and uplifting pursuit!

If we struggle with "getting to" a place of obedience in our lives, perhaps we could begin where David did - in times of reflecting upon God.  He clearly says that obedience was an outcome of seeing things through God's eyes - that is what reflection really is.  When you look into a mirror, you are seeing what others see!  When we look into Jesus, we are seeing what he sees!  So, gaze on!  Reflect until the reflection you see is that of Jesus in you - the hope of GLORY!

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