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THE WORD TO OUR HEART:
Hand-Me-Down Righteousness: Psalm 119:137-144 Tsadhe (צ)
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday September 15, 2019

It is important to understand the depth of the human condition, these two verses are helpful.

John 6:44 (ESV)
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:65 (ESV)
And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

Gaining alternative perspective can be helpful, looking from another angle. The righteousness that we have as Christians is hand-me-down from Jesus Himself – passed down by God, sealed on us by the Holy Spirit who lives in us – and the Psalmist today gives us encouragement and direction to grow into that hand-me-down righteousness.

Psalm 119:137–144 (ESV) Tsadhe
137  Righteous are you, O Lord,
and right are your rules.

This section opens as it ends – squarely focused on the righteousness of God. Everything in the middle works to talk about the righteousness of God. This section is meant to make us celebrate the righteousness of God. That our God (and I use that to say the God we possess and are possessed by, to speak of our closeness not to say the one we have not the one others have).

The word “right” is a synonym for “righteous”, the word “rules” is a synonym for the word of God. What the Psalmist has done is started this celebration of righteousness of God and extended that through the Word of God – which we have today. Which we so carefully and slowly study.

If you were here last week you’ll remember that we’d spend a good bit of time talking about the authority of scripture. We found Jesus extending the word of scripture as direct commands from God, holding people accountable to scripture, and correcting people from scripture. We said that knowing this would change how we interact with Scripture. That’s an important point, knowing that scripture is authoritative changes the way we interact with it.

In a similar way, understanding righteousness – and knowing that same righteousness follows through scripture, elevates its place in our lives.

If Authority changes how we interact with scripture, carrying God’s own righteousness elevates its place in our lives.
Righteousness carries with it assurances, a righteous words assurances give us peace in life.

Now we’ll follow this two point logic through the next 6 verses.

138  You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness
and in all faithfulness.

This statement flows from the assurances that God’s Word is His righteousness. Where God’s Word says:

Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

But also:

Matthew 12:36 (ESV)
36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

God is faithful to His own righteous Word.

If Authority changes how we interact with scripture, carrying God’s own righteousness elevates its place in our lives.
Righteousness carries with it assurances, a righteous words assurances give us peace in life.

139  My zeal consumes me,
because my foes forget your words.

I love reading of consuming zeal. Perhaps it’s the zeal that should be exciting – and it is, but I think it’s more the modification of consuming. Have you ever watched a flame in a fire pit – it rolls off a log, and puts off heat until there is a material change of that log. The log is consumed – and after the log is consumed, there is NO log left – it’s completely changed. This is how the Psalmist describes his own reaction to a righteous Word of God.

What about us?

How are we impacted – if we follow the logic of the Psalmist across Psalm 119, the revelations of the great holiness of God, His goodness and the Word he has given us, that 2 Timothy 3:16 says:

2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Are we consumed by the word, left changed by the word?

140  Your promise is well tried,
and your servant loves it.

Why does the Psalmist love it? It’s “well tried”. Calvin would say, exceedingly refined.

HCSB Your word is completely pure, and Your servant loves it.
NIV Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.
NLT Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much.

What about us?

Do the tested nature of God’s promises encourage us?

This is consistent with Romans 7:12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. And with Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. And with 1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation

…but do we treat it that way. Do we trust it as holy, Righteous and good? Do we trust EVERY WORD as true and a shield to find safety within? Do we come to it to grow up into the salvation given to us?

I love that phrasing in 1 Peter – it makes me think of big brother or big sisters hand-me-downs. As a concept, not as my experience. The concept is you’re given something not because it’s rightly yours, but because you can use it now. In the hand-me-down scenario, it’s because it’s been discarded or is no longer fitting, Maybe it’s too big for you, maybe the sleeves or pant legs hang long, because it’s not REALLY yours, and that connect is never lost on little brother or little sister…

Jesus’ righteousness given to us, we’re growing into it Daily!

Romans 12:2 (ESV)
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 8:29 (ESV)
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Christian do you trust it as holy, Righteous and good? Do we trust EVERY WORD as true and a shield to find safety within? Do we come to it to grow up into the salvation given to us?

141  I am small and despised,
yet I do not forget your precepts.
142  Your righteousness is righteous forever,
and your law is true.

The Psalmist has given us a looking glass into his life across this chapter 119. He is tried and tested, he describes himself as being crushed by the world around him but consistently looking to God. I do believe that Christians we need to find our encouragement and rooting in the Word of God and train our children in the same because increasingly so more-and-more the world around the christian will collapse down on them. Logic is out the window. We say abortion is gross murder, the world around us celebrates it and elevates it as great and wonderful.

Why, ask yourself why would something like abortion be great and wonderful??

Where Kermit in Philly was caught with jarred baby parts:

Yet people say “my abortion was fabulous”

Planned Parenthood literally sells baby parts

And people have a marching band (?) for abortion

Illinois Dr. Klopfer has thousands of baby parts in his home…

And people scream for the right to continue –

Even as little Hannah Montana eats abortion cake…

This is why 142 is important – the righteousness of God is righteous FOREVER. Even as culture changes reality around us at a rabid all consuming pace, the true-truth, remains true. Even as culture screams at us, and mocks us with marching bands,

143  Trouble and anguish have found me out,
but your commandments are my delight.

The Psalmist never hides how he survives this troublesome life. Think back to Psalm 119:141 “I am small and despised” – could you imagine areas in your life where standing on the true-truth revealed in scripture would bring you trouble?

Consider this:

2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV)
12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Riddle me this – if Christianity came with a cost in this life and culture and not a gain, how many would be left?

According to a gallop pole, 75% of American Adults identified as Christian in 2015. There are 209 + million adults in America. If the average American male has an 18 1/4 shoulder width lets just say for giggles the average shoulder width is 17 inches *we’re having fun here,

That’s an impressive thing! How many Christians would get out of line, how much would it shrink up if, that came with consequence at your job. Or, when churches couldn’t afford to keep their buildings or campus’ because there was no more tax exclusion, no more deduction for giving to church? When you’re counted going to a worship service by your government and penalized?

How many times would we wrap the globe, or how many are *christians for benefits but when Christianity had cost, would step out of line? If that was the case I don’t even know if we could cross the street much less the globe.

144  Your testimonies are righteous forever;
give me understanding that I may live.

This is how we wraps up. He may live because of the Word’s righteousness AND because the word gives him understanding?

Do you see the Word of God like that – does I give you the ability to LIVE?

If Authority changes how we interact with scripture, carrying God’s own righteousness elevates its place in our lives.
Righteousness carries with it assurances, a righteous words assurances give us peace in life.

Do we trust it as holy, Righteous and good? Do we trust EVERY WORD as true and a shield to find safety within? Do we come to it to grow up into the salvation given to us?

We should remember that the true-truth, remains true. No matter what outside pressers force in on us, God’s truth is consistent, and righteous and good. It is not basic instructions before leaving earth it is our life and our breath – it is the substance of all that we are and we should grow up into the righteousness given to us in Christ, like into big brothers or big sisters hand-me-downs.

Will we follow the psalmists path to growth?

Pray, Observe, Apply.