11 Buried deep in my heart I hold Your promise,
that I might not sin against You.
12 Blessèd are You, O Lord;
teach me Your statutes!
Psalm 119:11-12 “Lord, Build My Faith and Life on Your Words”
Therefore – because God has planted His word in my soul – because He has put His hand on me – only because of that – I bend my heart; turning to seek God. Deep in my heart I hold and treasure His promise.
Notice verse 11 does not say “promises.” Yes, there are many promises from God, too many to count. But they all come together in the One Promise. This One Promise is the Promise with hands and feet. He is God Himself who gives Himself for us, to win us back from being lost. It is Jesus who brings all the promises together in His cross and empty tomb! And He gives Himself to us, so that our life is bound together with His life and His life is connected to our lives forever. His life flows into and through our lives. He binds Himself to us.
Day by day He is our Savior, our Shepherd, and our Brother. Week after week He gives Himself through words of blessing and in the meal of bread and wine. Together with His body and blood He gives the promise, “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Day and night He hears my prayers; and all through the years to come He has promised to be with me.
How do I respond to all this? How can I respond? I am caught up in the wonder of it all! I have a treasure that is beyond price, beyond riches, beyond imagining! His word, His grace, His Spirit, His love – all of these work deeply in the soul. They move, they call, they invite and they draw me to Him. They change me. The promise comes from God and is enfleshed in Jesus. He comes into this world to bring the promises in Himself. He then teaches and brings the promises into our ears, from God, spoken deep within me and those words and promises begin to change me – first by creating a new heart and new me. And then God’s word works out into every part of me. Because of what He has done, I want to guard this treasure through the strength of His word. I want to desire what God desires.
So, the whole idea of wandering off from God and forgetting His word, His commandments and His promises – Preserve me dear Lord, may I never! This is not because I am afraid of God and think I had better obey; but simply because He is my God who has loved and saved me, and these are His words. They are my treasure. It is like something I learned about my grandfather. When my parents were going through papers, they found letters from my grandmother, and exclaimed, “He saved every one of her letters from before they were married!” So it is with God’s words and promises to me. They are His. They are from Him. And they call my soul. They are love letters from God.
All of this leads to the cry. It wells up and comes from deep inside. “Blessed are You, O LORD; teach me Your statutes!” What do I want, O Lord? I want more of You!
Blessed are You Lord, my Savior and God. Blessed are You for Your promises of life, salvation, glory, fellowship. Blessed are You for every answer to prayer; and blessed are You for the hidden blessings held within Your wisdom. Blessed are You because You are the promise and You are the blessing. Guide me and lead me in Your word all through life . . . and forever! Amen.
Rev. Mark Willig
Pastor Willig is pastor emeritus of Friends in Christ Lutheran Church.