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Walled Garden

Dear Friends,

In our recent office bearers’ prayer meeting, Colin had selected Psalm 19 to read to us to help focus our thoughts on the Lord. It also happens to be a Psalm very dear to my own heart. I know many of us have favourite psalms but for myself there is something about this psalm which I love. When we begin to read it we hear David praising God for all his creation. A creation which displays the glory of God, a creation which brings the warmth of God’s glory to every human being on this planet (Ps19: 4, 6). In a day and age when many will ask, “what about those tribes who have never heard of God?” It is amazing to see God has already answered this question! Every sunrise, sunset, full moon and half moon brings the knowledge of God with it. Every time the sea billows roar and the waves crash against the beach the sound of God’s glory goes out!

Yet David is not content to leave it there. Having looked at the glory of God in creation, he begins to ponder what the God of Glory is saying to us through his laws. These laws are not seen as tyrannical or oppressive as many have accused them of being. Rather, David says they are ‘refreshing’, ‘trustworthy’, joyful, ‘radiant’ and ‘enduring forever’ (Ps19: 7-9). Moreover, they are the very thing God has given us, in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33) and in his Word, to keep us close to him.

The commandments of God are like a fence around a garden. As long as we stay in the garden we will be fine. Yet, it is when we step over the fence, and transgress (to go beyond) the laws, that we fall into sin. David realises that God’s direction in his life, is not to control him, but rather, to keep him in the grace and sweetness of God’s favour. That is why he says, ‘they are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.'(Ps19: 10).

Lastly, from verse 12 onwards we get a glimpse into the spiritual life of David and can sense that, after considering all these things, he feels the weight of his own sinfulness. In Ps19: 12, 13 he asks God to forgive his ‘hidden faults’ and keep him ‘also from wilful sins’. He desires to be known in God’s sight as ‘blameless’ and ‘innocent of great transgression’ (Ps19: 13). How little have the desires of all Christians changed over the years! So often we feel the burden of regrets and wish we could change the past. Yet, God has given an alternative to time travel! He has given us the threefold gift of forgiveness. There is forgiveness from Him for our sins, forgiveness from others for our sins against them and our forgiveness to others for theirs. Although we wish we could magically undo the past, God says, in this way my love is made perfect over all the earth. (1 John 4: 15ff)

This month it is our prayer that we would constantly know God as our creator, the giver of glory, the keeper of our souls and ultimately as the horn of our salvation. It is our hope that this meditation will be pleasing in God’s sight so that we too can join in David’s praise that God surely is, the ‘Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer’ (Ps19: 14).

Yours In Christ

Rev. Dan Paterson.

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