WALKING WITH THE KING
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
11 JULY 1993
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Last week, as part of our celebration of the 217th anniversary of our Nation's independence, we talked about the primary ingredient that each of us must have, if we truly love these United States and are truly patriotic.
That ingredient must be to have the Lord our God as our King.
And it doesn't matter whether we are the president, or some other leader, or just average citizens.
If we are, as we say, a nation under God, then every office in our land must, likewise, be under God. Or, to say it another way, God must be ruler over every one of us.
To understand this hierarchy, and to obey its structure and precepts, we must or should be walking with the King – our Lord.
And this brings us to a verse we also talked and sang about last week: Psalm 119:105. But this week let's take a look at the whole passage, Psalm 119:105-112, so that we, ourselves, get a better handle on walking with the King.
105. Thy word is a lamp to my feet,
And a light to my path.
Every place the psalmist goes, he takes along the word of God to light his path, so that no matter what obstructions he encounters along the way, he will see it and not stumble over it.
And the psalmist has done even more: he has vowed to obey the Lord, and says that his life will be a reflection of his obedience.
106. I have sworn, and I will confirm it,
That I will keep Thy righteous ordinances.
This is quite a strong statement to make, and it requires a great amount of commitment and dedication to keep it, perhaps more than any of us really have the ability to fulfill.
But Nehemiah, the governor of Israel following the captivity in Babylon, and the people and their other leaders in and around Jerusalem, made an even stronger vow.
Note what we are told in Nehemiah 10:2829:
28. Now the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all these who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of God, their wives, their sons and their daughters, all those who had knowledge and understanding,
29. are joining with their kinsmen, their nobles, and are taking on themselves a curse and an oath to walk in God's law, which was given through Moses, God's servant, and to keep and to observe all the commandments of God our Lord, and His ordinances, and His statutes.
Not only did these Israelites take upon themselves a vow of obedience, but in their confidence, they took upon themselves a curse, if they disobeyed.
Today, however, we have the guidance of Jesus Christ in applying the word of God to our lives, particularly as given in His sermon on the mount, a portion of which we'll look at later.
But as we return to Psalm 119:107, we see that the psalmist already has a struggle with keeping his vow, which he truly wants to keep.
107. I am exceedingly afflicted;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Thy word.
Is the psalmist afflicted by others, because of his dedication to the Lord, or is he being afflicted by the temptations of the world around him?
We don't know. But what we do know is that this affliction has weakened him, for he prays for the Lord's reviving strength. He is praying for the Lord's grace according to His previous promises.
And in this humble weakness, he prays:
108. O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord,
And teach me Thine ordinances.
109. My life is continually in my hand,
Yet I do not forget Thy law.
In our walk with the King, it is important that we hear what the psalmist is saying.
In our own hands we carry our life. It is we who get ourselves into trouble.
We know what the Lord desires of us, yet we all too often go the other way.
Thus we need to be in continual prayer: in the offering up of the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, of repentance, and of the pure joy of walking with the King.
And it is a type of sacrifice, for in order to be this attentive to the Lord, we must give up our worldly pastimes.
Sometimes others don't like the Christian walk, and don't want us to walk it either, and they try to entice us away.
110. The wicked have laid a snare for me,
Yet I have not gone astray from Thy precepts.
111. I have inherited Thy testimonies forever,
For they are the joy of my heart.
112. I have inclined my heart to perform Thy statutes
Forever, even to the end.
God's strength is always there to help us, even when we are the weakest and worldly lusts and desires seem to be their strongest. And this is where God's grace comes to bear most in our lives.
God sees the intent of our heart, and knows of the temptations we face. How much better it would be if, instead of trying to hide our weakness, we would tell the Lord about it and ask for His help in overcoming it.
How much better to do this, than to pray for a curse to come upon you if you slip in your walk, as did Nehemiah and those in Jerusalem.
In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus tells us about making such vows:
33. "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.'
34. "But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,
35. or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
36. "Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
That is, without getting the change in color out of a bottle.
37. "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; and anything beyond these is of evil.
We must truly want the Lord to change our lives.
We must truly want to be born again.
We must truly want to go to heaven.
We must truly want to obey the Lord our God.
If we do, our life will be easier, and the worldly desires we thought were so important, will no longer seem important.
Satan is always trying to get us into trouble; for example, having us say that we will do something, yet knowing we probably won't do it.
And there are many people, as people pleasers, who constantly commit to do something; yet they have no intention of following through with their commitment.
Walking with the King requires an inner desire to please the Lord, and not people. But in the process, we will please others who desire to walk with the King, too.
However, the reverse doesn't work; for we can never start off to please people and expect to walk with the King.
Our politicians should learn this, and so should the voters.
Our President should know this, as should those under him; and if it was good enough for King David, it should be acceptable to our leaders as well.
Listen to what David says in Psalm 25:8-11:
8. Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
David is including himself along with these sinners who reach out to God with a repentant heart, for only a repentant and humble heart can receive instruction from the Lord.
9. He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.
10. All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth
To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.
This is one of the easiest tests to confirm that we are walking with the King. His way is always filled with love and truth. There will never be any falseness or pride. There will never be any strife or fear. Everything will be based on love and compassion. Everything!
11. For Thy name's sake, O Lord,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
If our nation's leaders would follow David's example, we wouldn't have the problems we have.
But, remember that our leaders reflect the people. So, perhaps the first place to start to improve things is for all true believers to set the proper example.
Listen to the next four verses, for they are full of wisdom for all who will receive their teaching:
12. Who is the man who fears the Lord?
He will instruct Him in the way he should choose.
If we have a reverent fear of the Lord, He will keep us upon His path so that we can walk with Him.
We play a lot of games in our lives, but this isn't one of them. This is for real.
For, God's pathway leads to heaven, and only those who walk upon it will know the way.
13. His soul will abide in prosperity,
And His descendants will inherit the land.
14. The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him.
And He will make them know His covenant.
15. My eyes are continually toward the Lord,
For He will pluck my feet out of the net.
Where are our feet now?
Where are our eyes focused?
Are they upon the Lord and His way?
If they are, be thankful.
But if they are not, repent and seek the Lord with all your heart, for today is the day of salvation.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
Walk with the King!
Your Comments are welcome
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