“I delight to do Your will, my God; Your instruction lives within me.” (Psalm 40:8 HCSB)
Building a new house isn’t just a matter of grabbing a hammer and nailing some boards together—that is, not if you want it to stand.
Neither is building a life!
Yet, that is what most people try to do. There is no direction, no purpose, living for the moment, driven by a whim—and they wonder why things begin to collapse around them.
If you’re constructing a house, you have to build according to code. An inspector is going to check, to make sure the work was done properly. For example, if the wiring is faulty, then it could lead to a fire that means your death!
One day, God, the Great Inspector, will examine the construction of your life and if it hasn’t been built according to His specifications, then an everlasting fire—the second death awaits. That is the greatest loss of all! Even for those who are saved, there will be a testing by fire to see if the work done is worthy of eternal glory. Otherwise there will be loss—not of our soul—but of reward.
“According to God's grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one's work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one's work. If anyone's work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-15 HCSB)
God has set forth His demands in the Bible, which lays out the blueprint for solid construction. Let’s do a Scriptural inspection today—a preliminary one, before the great final inspection.
FOUNDING A LIFE ACCORDING TO CODE, (v.1-5) In these verses, David presents the foundation of a spiritual life. Really, where else can we start, but with the foundation? If it isn’t solid, try to build the best you can, and you’re still headed for disaster. This is the most important requirement of God’s Code Book. Here is what Jesus said:
‘Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn't collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn't act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!” (Matthew 7:24-27 HCSB)
WE SEE A CONVERSION.
“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure.” (v.1-2)
These words provide a picture of what happens when a sinner experiences salvation. Having heard our cry of desperation, He lifts us out of the pit of sin that we are helpless to escape on out own. He puts is on the solid foundation of faith in Him.
WE SHARE A CELEBRATION.
“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” (v.3)
One commentator suggested that David went from the mire to the choir! He was singing a new tune for sure. Remember the party that the father pitched when the prodigal son came home? The joy bells of heaven begin to ring when a sinner places his or her trust in God for salvation!
WE SPEAK A CONFESSION.
“How happy is the man who has put his trust in the Lord and has not turned to the proud or to those who run after lies!
Lord my God, You have done many things—Your wonderful works and Your plans for us; none can compare with You. If I were to report and speak [of them], they are more than can be told.” (v.4-5)
David testifies to the blessings of God he has experienced. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10 HCSB) All eternity will not suffice to speak of all that God has done in His grace. They are too many blessings to recount—too wonderful to adequately describe—David is overwhelmed. How amazing is grace!
FRAMING A LIFE ACCORDING TO CODE, (v.6-8). Next David lays out the framework for constructing a solid spiritual life on that secure foundation. When the foundation is in place, the framing begins.
This is done BY DEDICATION TO HEAR GOD’S WORD: OPENNESS.
“You do not delight in sacrifice and offering; You open my ears to listen. You do not ask for a whole burnt offering or a sin offering.” (v.6)
Hearing God’s Word enables us to construct according to code. May God give us ears that are open and attentive to His truth! Multitudes turn to Dr. Phil or Oprah, or read some “self-help” book, as they try to frame a life, then wonder why it doesn’t work. Some will try to frame with religious tradition, ritual or activity, like the sacrifices David speaks of here. Mere religion won’t provide the proper framework either. It won’t impress the Inspector. That’s what David is saying. It has to be deeper than that. Attending church is a plus, but that isn’t enough. Church folk have lives that fall apart, too! We need to read and heed how God says to construct a quality life by meditating on Scripture.
Further, such a life is framed BY DELIGHT TO HEED GOD’S WORD: OBEDIENCE.
“Then I said, ‘See, I have come; it is written about me in the volume of the scroll. I delight to do Your will, my God; Your instruction lives within me.’ ” (v.7-8)
This is really what nails the frame together. True faith leads to evident works. If you delight to do His will, then you’ll often find everything else about life can be delightful.
From founding and framing a life, we move on to FINISHING A LIFE ACCORDING TO CODE, (v.9-10). David next moves to the finishing touches that adorn a godly life. My wife knows just the right way to finish up a home—the right color scheme, the right kind of décor, pictures and curtains to hang and so forth. The Holy Spirit will help us finish well.
We can do that BY PROCLAIMING GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS.
“I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; see, I do not keep my mouth closed—as You know, Lord. I did not hide Your righteousness in my heart…” (v.9-10a).
Righteousness is the key word here—twice repeated for emphasis. In a culture of moral relativism where anything goes, the only hope to build a life of eternal beauty is to do so according to God’s unalterable standards. We are to stand up and speak up for righteousness. The world may not want to hear it, but they need to—and we need to share it!
We can finish well BY PROCLAIMING GOD’S REDEMPTION.
“I spoke about Your faithfulness and salvation; I did not conceal Your constant love and truth
from the great assembly.” (v.10b)
The construction of a home is costly—and so is building a life. But Jesus has paid the debt in full. Now, every resource is available to finish with a flourish! People need to “drive by” and see in us “love and truth.” You really can’t conceal it.
The Book also describes FORTIFYING A LIFE ACCORDING TO CODE, (v.11-17). In these closing verses of the Psalm, David tells us that we cannot let our guard down. Haven’t you found that a home must be maintained? It is an endless task—painting and patching. You better have screens on the windows to keep out the bugs and locks on the doors to keep out the crooks!
This is a matter of PRESERVATION.
“Lord, do not withhold Your compassion from me; Your constant love and truth will always guard me. For troubles without number have surrounded me; my sins have overtaken me; I am unable to see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my courage leaves me.” (v.11-12)
David recalls how he had neglected to keep his spiritual house in order, and the repair bill became costly. Let us learn from his error, lest we suffer likewise. May the love of the Lord and truth of the Word, be the watchdogs against that which would rob us of the joy of salvation! The Holy Spirit will function like an alarm system to warn us of false philosophies and filthy passions when they seek to invade.
This is a matter of PROTECTION.
“Lord, be pleased to deliver me; hurry to help me, Lord. Let those who seek to take my life be disgraced and confounded. Let those who wish me harm be driven back and humiliated. Let those who say to me, ‘Aha, aha!’ be horrified because of their shame.” (v.13-15)
Dangers and threats abound. There is the threat of fire and flood. We need to spray for termites and bolt the doors to wicked influences that would enter and destroy.
This is a matter of PROFESSION.
“Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; let those who love Your salvation continually say, ‘The Lord is great!’ I am afflicted and needy; the Lord thinks of me. You are my helper and my deliverer; my God, do not delay.” (v.16-17)
It is good to build in a neighborhood where police patrol regularly, to watch over the citizenry. You can’t deal with all the threats. David professes his poverty. He knows he can’t protect himself. But, he also professes God’s provision. The Lord will supply us with security. David sends out a 911 call, “do not delay,” and I am sure God arrived on time. He always does!
Have you founded your life on Jesus Christ? Have you placed your faith in Him? If not, the life you are constructing will not stand the Judgment Day.
If your life is founded on Christ, are you framing it according to the specifications of Scripture? Are you using quality building materials?
When you finish, will you have a glorious temple worth eternal commendation or will you have a shabby shack, which cannot be set in place in heaven? You get in—but just in—all reward lost!
Are you fortifying your faith today? Satan is on the prowl. He wants to break in—and if he can’t have your soul, at least he wants to destroy your testimony.
Make sure you are constructing your life according to code.