Righteous Forever:Psalm 119:137-144

Psalms 119:137-144

Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules…Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true…

Concrete words for an abstract society.

I cannot help but be puzzled by this society we live in today; this odd place in human history where opinion and sensation are elevated above logic and reason to the extent that even biologically evident facts are called into question. Indeed, the modern definition of truth is so fluid that the very ground beneath our feet often seems to morph and shift with the unstable currents of pop-culture fancy. In this place and at this moment, we are in desperate need of solid ground.

I am reminded of a book I recently read; the true story of an acquaintance of my dad’s who survived more than 24 hours of ruthless pounding by an angry sea after being washed overboard in a colossal storm. His captain was also thrown into the sea with him, and the two men strove to help one another until the captain’s strength finally gave out and he perished.

My dad’s acquaintance remained tethered to the dead man, fighting to stay alive and resolving bring the captain’s body back to his family. Ultimately, he was rescued at night against all odds; one tiny life plucked from a vast and furious ocean.

As I reflected on this week’s passage, I kept thinking of the survivor’s story. Among us today are so many confused and weary people, worn from treading water in the restless seas of human inclination. There are multitudes who need to know that as vast and variable as mankind’s ideology is,  God is even more vast yet He is entirely unchanging. The very reality of hope in Him, the solidity of our Rock, is sorely needed in the unpredictable and raging seas through which we navigate.

Many of these, too, are desperately thirsty. Sorrowfully, many look to the surging waves hoping to slake their parched lips, yet they find themselves in the same hopeless position as Coleridge’s ancient mariner:

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

But we who are in Christ have access to the Fount of Living Water; we stand upon the Rock of Ages. We know that His promise is well-tried and we love it!

Brothers and sisters, we must not be afraid to share a drop of truth, of cool and life-giving water, with a world rapidly dying from its unhealthy appetite for contamination. We must strive to maintain our footing on the solid Rock and resist being caught up into the shifting, restless seas.

Even if we are mocked (and we will be), even if we are persecuted (and we will be), love compels us to try even to the death. We acknowledge to our Lord, “Your testimonies are righteous forever,” and we plead with Him, “Give me understanding that I may live.”

And as we gain understanding, we share it. We allow Him to expose our sin then we lay it bare, confessing our own wrongs and joyfully telling of the great and unlikely forgiveness that our God has bestowed on us. Who knows? Perhaps one soul caught in the crazy, roiling depths will be plucked out and rescued by Him because we were not ashamed to live and speak as though we truly, honestly believe that our God’s righteousness really is righteous forever.

Though the societal tides may rage and foam, surge and recede, You, O God, do not change. You have appointed Your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness.  Cleanse us and use us as vessels filled with Living Water to share with all whom we meet.  Though trouble and anguish may find us because of You, Your commandments will remain our delight. Grant us the faith to make it so, Lord, for You are righteous forever!

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