I’ve seen many turn away from God because of the unattainable, never-ending laundry list of commands the Bible gives. I’ve also seen this happen because of the way other Christians have behaved. It saddens my heart to see this happen, but even more to see it happen because of external reasons such as these.
The letter Aleph (a-leff) is believed to depict an ox’s head. We can take the example of an ox’s strength and endurance to stand strong in what we believe in. If you were to push an ox, it wouldn’t budge. If it was to travel through a storm, it’d make it through without a ruffle (hypothetically, lol).
Ultimately, If you can’t understand God through Leviticus or Deuteronomy, read the Gospel of John or Ephesians, or change the translation. If someone is causing you to doubt your own faith, analyze what you believe in and search for answers. It’s okay to ask questions!
We need to stand strong in faith and endure through the storms of life, like an ox would despite what the weather is. Psalm 119:1-8 shows us how to live in the blessedness of God. Not only so, but it also unveils an understanding of who we are in Christ. Knowing who we are in God results in living with an “ox-type” endurance.
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.Psalm 119:1-3
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong but follow his ways.
THE first three verses talk about those that are blessed. This applies to everyone in Christ because now… our ways are blameless, we’re walking according to the law, keeping His statutes, seeking Him, doing no wrong, and following His ways. Sounds like another laundry list, right?
But here’s the reality – when we believe in Jesus, He changes us. We’re justified by faith in Him and made new. He removes our sinfulness and gives us a new nature in Him. From then on, we learn how to live differently. Our identity changed and we reflect Him now, meaning we follow his ways and do no wrong (more on this later).
22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach…Colossians 1:22
With the Holy Spirit, we learn to discern and get convictions for right and wrong decisions. To walk in and by the Spirit is to live in the blessedness of Psalm 119:1-3. Without God and a relationship with Him, we won’t know how to do any of it.
4 You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.Psalm 119:4-6
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.
Verses 4-6 display a prayer. There’s an acknowledgment that God has commanded us, or laid down precepts, for us to follow/obey. There’s acceptance that we are “a work in progress” and dependent on God to help us in our ways (Hebrews 12:2). And an abidance, or trust, in living in the freedom Christ gave even when we fall short.
“‘Shame’ is the fruit of sin; confidence is the effect of righteousness.”(Horne)
Everyone makes mistakes, but mistakes make us grow. I believe even Jesus made mistakes, and I don’t mean sin. When verse 3 says “they do no wrong,” I believe this is talking about willful sinning.
Sin is a word, deed, or desire in opposition to God. Jesus didn’t have sin, and when He died for us, He passed that to us. He made us NEW creations. As new creations, the only way we can sin is to do so willfully, or as the Bible says, “according to the flesh.” But GOD gave us the power, love, and discipline to live by His Spirit and not in shame or fear.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.Psalm 119:7-8
8 I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.
When I read the last two verses of Aleph’s section, I see two promises I can make and hang on to throughout the day–not out of obligation or need, but out of the desire to do so.
By learning His righteous laws, my heart becomes upright, and with that, I can and will praise Him. His righteous laws show us His goodness from Genesis to Revelation. We learn about who He is and how we reflect Him!
We can’t help but give praise when wonderful things happen, and how much more when we realize what a great God we serve, with all that He’s done and made us to be! Verses 7-8 start with praise and end with dependence on God to help us as we navigate through this world as new beings in Christ.
Christianity isn’t a boxed-in, boring life of can or can’t do’s. It’s a life filled with blessing when you realize who you become in Christ. As I finish this post, I pray you remember to have the strength of an ox in your faith. Don’t let external things sway you, but ground yourself in the truth and know it for yourself!