In our last post within the Good & Faithful Servant series, we waded into waters that are often fraught with emotion and tension—the equality of all servants and the inequality of servanthood.
Let’s return to Psalm 119 and gain insight into how the word of God can regulate our response to this cultural hot-button issue. We can dive right in by looking with verse 94.
Who are God’s Servants?
I am Yours, save me;
For I have sought Your precepts. Psalm 119:94
Having a grasp of the Hebrew language brings a fun dynamic to understanding what we are reading. It can inform us when the version we are reading has failed to give us the best translation. With that said, let’s look at this verse closer.
What is David saying and what is he not saying? David is not saying, “I’m yours, so save me and then I’ll obey you.” No. David is saying, “I am yours because I obey you. In light of that, please save me.”
Sadly, we tend to cry out to God by mimicking the former rather than the latter. But the reality is that we are God’s when we do what he says. Jesus himself confirmed this in the New Testament.
But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:48-50
How do we know we belong to God? It is simple. We obey him. Obedience is the modus operandi of a servant. Servants do not get to set the course or issue the commands. Servants do not get to set the terms.
A servant does things his master’s way, not his own way. As servants to the God of the universe, we must submit to him in all things.How do we know we belong to God? It is simple. We obey him. Obedience is the modus operandi of a servant. Click To Tweet
The Good & Faithful Servant
Let’s recap what we have learned throughout this Good & Faithful Servant series.
- Servanthood is often reacted to viscerally.
We must leave our emotions behind and look at what Scripture says, look at what servanthood really is. As Christians, we are servants of the only good King. And because our King loves us, he has also made us his friends. However, friendship with our King does not negate our status as his servant.
We do not get to say, “I’m a friend so now I’m above servant rank.” No. We may have a different job than someone else, but we are all servants and all under our Master’s command.
- Servanthood is not flat.
This one is important and yet hard to wrap our minds around, especially within our culture. But the truth is that servants do not all perform the same tasks. We must stop thinking flatly.
Yes, we are all equal in value, but we are not equal in our job descriptions. Some have more responsibility. Some have less. But we each share a common responsibility, and that is to be faithful to the job that we have been given. This is what the Bible says and as servants, we do not get to question the Master’s directives.We are all equal in value, but not equal in our job descriptions. Some have more responsibility. Some have less. But we each share a common responsibility, being faithful to the job we're given. Click To Tweet
Single-Minded Service to the King
The wicked wait for me to destroy me;
I shall diligently consider Your testimonies. Psalm 119:95
Here is what this verse does not say. It does not say, “The wicked wait for me to destroy me, so I’ll have a Bible study and they will all go away.” It also does not say, “The wicked wait for me to destroy me, so I’ll consider what you have to say.”
No. In the face of wickedness and difficult situations, David turned toward God with single-minded focus. In the face of enemies who wanted to destroy him, he gave up his life in complete surrender to the testimonies, law, statutes, and commands of God.
Why? Because David knew that God’s word brought revival. He knew that God’s word brought life. And he passed this knowledge down to his son, Solomon. In Proverbs 28:4, Solomon said, “Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive with them.”
Here is where it feels particularly painful to us as we sit comfortably within our own culture. As servants, we do what our master says. If we do not do what he says, then we are standing in the place of those who praise the wicked. Are we okay with that?
If we forsake the law of God, then we are praising the wicked. This coincides with the 1 Corinthians 13 definition of love. When we obey our Master, when we love within his definition of love, we will be striving with the wicked.
Love contends with evil. Love does not celebrate unrighteousness. When we love our enemy, we contend with them. We are the salt of the earth that preserves our culture. Church, what happens if we lose our saltiness. We are the light of the world. Is it love to hide away the light of God’s truth from those he came to save?
When we love like our Master, we are holding our culture from running off a cliff. He gave us this responsibility. He told us to obey him. Obeying him—striving against the wicked—is not some type of religious attack with pitchforks. No, it is simply obeying our Master because doing what our Master says is contention against the culture.
Doing what our Master says is fighting against the culture. We fight against the culture by loving with God’s definition of love. We fight against the culture by respecting God’s structure of authority. We fight against the culture by refusing to call good evil, and evil good.
When we live in this way, we can expect the culture to push back. After all, we are rubbing salt into the gaping wounds of their sin-torn lives. But if we live in this way, the Church will cease to be a laughingstock to the world. We will cease to be viewed as hypocrites who stopped obeying our Master when we hit a hard-to-swallow verse.
Instead, we will obey the hard parts because that is the only way we truly contend with the culture. That is the only way we strive with them. That is the only way we stop forsaking the law of God and stop praising the wicked.Love contends with evil. Love does not celebrate unrighteousness. When we love our enemy, we contend with them. Click To Tweet
Wrapping it Up
Not obeying our Master is a dangerous proposition, Church. Let’s take a look at the last verse in our section of Psalm 119.
I have seen a limit to all perfection;
Your commandment is exceedingly broad. Psalm 119:96
This verse can seem confusing. Is David saying that there is an end to perfection? Again, our English translations do not always get the feel of what is being said in the Hebrew. David is saying, “All things else, they have their limit. They will come to an eventual end. But in antitheses to that, your law is broad. It is limitless in its breadth. It is without end in the past, present, future.”
There is a limit to everything that considers itself good and perfect, but God exceeds them all. And we are called to be his servants. As his servants, we must obey his word. We must do it his way.
That means that we are going to be looked at and written off as fools by the world. Sometimes people are going to push back at us and say, “That’s oppressive.” When they do, we will respond with, “God has a reason. He knows what he is doing and no matter what he commands us to do, we know that it is good, loving, pure, true, and right.”
This is how a servant who wants to hear the commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The good and faithful servant obeys his Master.God's law is broad. It is limitless in its breadth. It is without end in the past, present, future. #Psalm 119 Click To Tweet
Are you coming to a truer understanding of what it means to be the servant and friend of God? I would love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.