Who is the authority in your life?
Psalm 119:89-96 ~ Lamed
Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts. The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes. To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless (NIV).
Psalm 119 is an acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet, with these eight verses all beginning with the 12th letter, lamed. The ancient pictograph for lamed looks like a shepherd’s staff. The letter itself is the tallest in the aleph-bet and is also in the middle, so Hebrew children were taught that lamed is looking around over all the other letters, watching over them.
The word lamed comes from the Hebrew word lamad, meaning “teach, prick, sting, incite, or goad.”
Most of us don’t like the word authority, unless we are the one in authority. We don’t always want to be taught, pricked, stung, incited or goaded! We want to be our own authority. We want to do things our own way. That is human nature. Even for those of us who say we love the Lord, sometimes we still try to hold onto our own way of doing and being. Trusting in an authority that we can’t see can be scary and difficult, especially when we are being tossed on the waves of confusion, strife, or discontent.
But let me tell you just a little about the authority of Jesus.
They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority (Luke 4:32.)
All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!” (Luke 4:36).
“But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take up your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God (Luke 5:24-25).
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again” (John 10:17-18).
Jesus has authority over demons, sickness, disease, sin, and death. His message has authority. His presence has authority. His power takes authority over all. There is no higher, no greater, no better authority in all of heaven or earth. You know why? Because the word authority begins with author, and He is the Author of it all.
Satan has limited authority on this earth, and that is why you and I sometimes feel the sting of demons, sickness, disease, sin, and death. As the Psalmist said above, “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction” (Psalm 119:92).
There is one, and only one, remedy for the limits to perfection in our world–the boundless Word of God, made flesh, crucified, resurrected, and living forever at the right hand of God!
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:16-17).
That “all things” includes you and me. He is the Great Shepherd. That staff of His Word may sometimes sting, prod, and goad, but it is always for our good. We can trust Him. We can trust Him. We can trust Him.
Why stay under your own authority with its limits–you surely don’t know everything or have power over everything, do you?–when you could surrender to the authority of the One who is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent?