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Exposing the Root


Psalm 119:161-168

Verses 167-168 I obey Your statutes, for I love them greatly. I obey Your precepts and Your statutes, for all my ways are known to You.


We learned yesterday about the peace that comes from obeying the commands of the Lord. The psalmist continues talking about his love of the law and marvels at the insight the Lord has into his life.


The opening statement of today’s verses is almost a summary of the chapter as a whole. We have mentioned time and again through this study that obeying the law isn’t about being whipped into obedience or grudgingly doing what we know we should do. No, it is about loving God so much that we can’t help but desire to do all that He is commanding of us. It is knowing that the law is given because of His great love for us and His desire to have us living to bring Him glory.


Only when we are obeying Him out of love will we know the joy and peace that comes with living according to His will. But the psalmist doesn’t stop there with his thought. He said that he also obeyed because God knew all his ways. He understood that the Lord wasn’t watching him just awaiting his failure but that God was observing with the heart of a caring parent.


This man of song also knew that it wasn’t just his actions that were known to the Lord. He knew that nothing gets past God, He knows not just the thoughts behind our actions but also the motives that drive those thoughts to the actions taken. Motives hold the key to truth about our obedience. If our motive is about gaining favor with other people we will miss the peace that comes with obedience.


These motives that rule our thinking and actions must be held in check. If we don’t evaluate our motives we are likely to allow our emotions to make all the decisions for our thoughts and actions. It isn’t just because God is watching that we need to watch our motives, we need to understand that our motives speak to the state of our heart. If we have motives that aren’t revealing a love for God we can be sure that even our obedience is sinful because it is looking out for our own interests instead of His. But when our motives are God honoring we will find joy and peace in our obedience. We must always keep in mind that He knows our motives and we would do well to be honest with ourselves about them.


Making It Personal

How often do you evaluate the motives of your thoughts and actions? What do your motives say about your obedience? What are you going to do to keep a better check on your motives?


Making It Personal Kids

What is a motive? How can you know your motive? What should be your motive to obey Jesus?


Closing Prayer

Father, forgive the times we have obeyed with the wrong motive. Give us a heart that wants to obey You solely because of our love for You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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