Lesson 10 | Sabbath, 7 September 2019
“In the new birth the heart is brought into harmony with God, as it is brought into accord with His law. When this mighty change has taken place in the sinner, he has passed from death unto life, from sin unto holiness, from transgression and rebellion to obedience and loyalty. The old life of alienation from God has ended; the new life of reconciliation, of faith and love, has begun. Then ‘the righteousness of the law’ will ‘be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Romans 8:4. And the language of the soul will be, ‘O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.’ Psalm 119:97.” –The Great Controversy, p. 468.
Sorrow for violating God’s sacred law
1. What great sorrow did the psalmist experience when he witnessed those who did not honor God’s law? What did he plead with God to do?
Psalm 119:136, 126, 139 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law…. 126It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law…. 139My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
“Like David, we may now pray, ‘It is time for Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void Thy law.’ Psalm 119:126. Men have gone on in disobedience to God’s law until they have reached a point of insolence that is unparalleled. Men are training in disobedience, and are fast approaching the limit of God’s forbearance and love…. Will God’s commandment-keeping people be carried away with the prevailing iniquity? Will they be tempted, because universal scorn is placed upon the law of God, to think less of that law which is the foundation of His government both in heaven and in earth? No. To His church His law becomes more precious, holy, honorable, as men cast upon it scorn and contempt. Like David they can say, ‘They have made void Thy law. Therefore I love Thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.’ Psalm 119:126-128.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 21.
2. What was the psalmist’s attitude toward the law of the Lord, in contrast to many in our days who consider it an unbearable yoke?
Psalm 119:24, 47, 92, 113, 163 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors…. 47And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved…. 92Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction…. 113I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love…. 163I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.
“Where there is not only a belief in God’s Word, but a submission of the will to Him; where the heart is yielded to Him, the affections fixed upon Him, there is faith–faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Through this faith the heart is renewed in the image of God. And the heart that in its unrenewed state is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, now delights in its holy precepts, exclaiming with the psalmist, ‘O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.’ Psalm 119:97. And the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, ‘who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Romans 8:1.” –The Faith I Live by, p. 90.
“Some have not the love of God in the heart, softening, molding, and ennobling the life. The psalmist declares of the good man, ‘His delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.’ Referring to his own experience, he exclaims, ‘O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.’ ‘Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in Thy word.’ Psalm 1:2; 119:97, 148.” –Gospel Workers (1892), p. 27.
The law is truth and righteousness
3. What outstanding features can be seen in the law of the Lord? What positive effects does it have on the humble person who is willing to learn and follow the divine way?
Psalms 111:7, 8; 119:142; 19:7, 8; 119:96, 18 The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. 8They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness…. 119:142Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth…. 19:7The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 8The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes…. 119:96I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad…. 18Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
“The character of God is righteousness and truth, and such is the nature of His law. The psalmist says, ‘Thy law is the truth’; ‘all Thy commandments are righteousness.’ Psalm 119:142, 172. And the apostle Paul declares, ‘The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.’ Romans 7:12. Such a law, an expression of the mind and will of God, must be as enduring as its Author.” –The Great Controversy, p. 467.
“… The psalmist says: ‘Thy law is the truth.’ Psalm 119:142. By the Word and the Spirit of God are opened to men the great principles of righteousness embodied in His law. And since the law of God is ‘holy, and just, and good’ (Romans 7:12), a transcript of the divine perfection, it follows that a character formed by obedience to that law will be holy. Christ is a perfect example of such a character. He says: ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ ‘I do always those things that please Him.’ John 15:10; 8:29. The followers of Christ are to become like Him–by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law.” –Maranatha, p. 231.
4. For the inspired psalmist, are the teachings of the divine precepts something to practice occasionally or a path to walk in steadily and perseveringly? How?
Psalm 119:27, 32, 35 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works…. 32I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart…. 35Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.
“The ten holy precepts spoken by Christ upon Sinai’s mount … made known to the world the fact that He had jurisdiction over the whole human heritage. That law of ten precepts of the greatest love that can be presented to man is the voice of God from heaven speaking to the soul in promise, ‘This do, and you will not come under the dominion and control of Satan.’ There is not a negative in that law, although it may appear thus. It is DO, and Live.
“The God of heaven has placed a benediction upon them that keep the commandments of God. Shall we stand as a peculiar people of God, or shall we trample upon the law of God and say it is not binding? God might just as well have abolished Himself….
“We gain … strength by walking in the light, that we may have energy to run in the way of God’s commandments. We may gain an increase of strength at every step we advance heavenward.” –The Faith I Live by, p. 95.
Blessings for those who walk in the law of the Lord
5. How did the psalmist describe those who walk in the divine law with all their hearts?
Psalms 119:1, 2; 128:1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. 2Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart…. 128:1Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways.
“Often He was asked, Why are you bent on being so singular, so different from us all? It is written, He said, ‘Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways.’ Psalm 119:1-3.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 89.
“God declares, ‘I will put My laws in their minds.’ David’s prayer expresses this same precious assurance: ‘Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity, they walk in His way. Thou hast commanded me to keep Thy precepts diligently…. Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all Thy commandments. I will praise Thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned Thy righteous judgments…. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy word. With my whole heart have I sought Thee; O, let me not wander from Thy commandments.’ Psalm 119:1-10.” –The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, p 4.
6. What value did he recognize in the holy commandments? What was his deep interest and great desire?
Psalm 119:40, 72, 97, 34, 35, 60 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness…. 72The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver…. 97O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day…. 34Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. 35Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight…. 60I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
“The psalmist’s words, ‘The law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver’ (Psalm 119:72), state that which is true from other than a religious point of view. They state an absolute truth…. Even in this age of passion for money getting,… it is still widely acknowledged that … integrity, diligence, temperance, purity, and thrift constitute a better capital than any amount of mere money.” –Education, p. 137.
“Where there is not only a belief in God’s Word, but a submission of the will to Him; where the heart is yielded to Him, the affections fixed upon Him, there is faith–faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Through this faith the heart is renewed in the image of God. And the heart that in its unrenewed state is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, now delights in its holy precepts, exclaiming with the psalmist, ‘O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.’ Psalm 119:97. And the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, ‘who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Romans 8:1.” –The Faith I Live by, p. 90.
Hope for salvation only by grace
7. Although he loved the law with all his heart and rejoiced in its observance, how did he view his own ability to obey it? What was his sole Source of hope for meeting its requirements?
Psalms 84:11; 109:26; 119:41; 69:16; 119:29 For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly…. 109:26Help me, O Lord my God: O save me according to thy mercy:… 119:41Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word…. 69:16Hear me, O Lord; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies…. 119:29Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
“All heaven is interested in our salvation.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 253.
“His thoughts are thoughts of mercy, love, and tenderest compassion. He says, ‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.’ ‘I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins.’ Isaiah 55:7; 44:22.” –Steps to Christ, p. 53.
“Those who trust wholly in the righteousness of Christ, looking to Him in living faith, know the Spirit of Christ and are known of Christ. Simple faith enables the believer to reckon himself dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. We are saved by grace through our faith, and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God.” –Faith and Works, p. 91.
For additional study
“How, then, are we to be saved? ‘As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,’ so the Son of man has been lifted up, and everyone who has been deceived and bitten by the serpent may look and live. ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ John 3:14; 1:29. The light shining from the cross reveals the love of God. His love is drawing us to Himself. If we do not resist this drawing, we shall be led to the foot of the cross in repentance for the sins that have crucified the Saviour. Then the Spirit of God through faith produces a new life in the soul. The thoughts and desires are brought into obedience to the will of Christ. The heart, the mind, are created anew in the image of Him who works in us to subdue all things to Himself. Then the law of God is written in the mind and heart, and we can say with Christ, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O my God.’ Psalm 40:8.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 175, 176.
The incense, ascending with the prayers of Israel, represents the merits and intercession of Christ, His perfect righteousness, which through faith is imputed to His people, and which can alone make the worship of sinful beings acceptable to God. Before the veil of the most holy place, was an altar of perpetual intercession, before the holy, an altar of continual atonement. By blood and by incense, God was to be approached–symbols pointing to the great Mediator, through whom sinners may approach Jehovah, and through whom alone mercy and salvation can be granted to the repentant, believing soul.” –The Faith I Live by, p. 197.