Each year our nation celebrates July 4th as our national birthday. It is day we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. As a group of English colonies, we determined King George III had crossed a line and after great debate, we decided we had enough. We would break off from the rule of the English crown and become our own independent nation.
While this may be fine for a group of people to oppose tyranny and declare themselves separate, it is completely opposite of the life of a Christian. Opposed to being totally independent, we are to be completely dependent.
This runs counter to our North American culture as we often say “you can be whatever you want ” or “you can do whatever you want to do! It’s a free country!” Except as a Christian, we no longer serve ourselves. We serve Him and as a result, serve each other. A Christ-follower isn’t independent, but is very dependent. We can’t “do whatever we want.”
I think this is what the Psalmist was getting to in Psalm 119:89-95. I submit this is to be our Declaration of Dependence.
Just as our founding document is written is a few sections, so is our Declaration of Dependence.
Vs 89-91 Observation
One gets the idea the Psalmist took a long walk outside and looked up into the heavens and became overwhelmed with the beauty, clock-like precision, complexity and constant presence of the stars. This seems particularly plausible when you read the previous verses of Psalm 119. In verses 81-88, he seems discouraged by his situation. He finally pleads in verse 88, “Revive me according to Your loving-kindness.” In context, it seems that he became so distraught, he walked outside and was suddenly encouraged by the majesty of God’s creation.
He makes these claims:
In verse 89, “Forever, oh LORD Your Word is settled in heaven”
Verse 90, “Your faithfulness endures to all generations, You established the Earth and it abides (stands).
And finally in verse 91, “They continue this day according to Your ordinances.”
No matter what problem I am experiencing, one look into the heavens helps re-size things for me. Our God is bigger. He (and His Word) is forever. He is faithful. Always has been, always will be. Everything continues at His command.
God handles the universe just fine. Planets aren’t running into each other. Stars aren’t changing places over observable time. The sun comes up every morning from the east and sets in the west. He’s never messed that up had the sun rising over the South Pole. Once I can realize the faithfulness of God handling the heavens, I can easily conclude, He’s got my problems under control.
God is way bigger than any thing we’re facing. He created this universe with His Word (Psalm 33:6). He is huge and our problems are so insignificant when we put them in comparison to Him. Yet we can easily become enthralled in our situation and while we may not speak these words, we conclude, God can’t resolve this problem for me.
If I can step back and observe just a small segment of His work, I can re-order my problems. While they still exist and I still need to face the battles before me each day, I can go through my day knowing, He is faithful to all generations and He established the Earth and it continues. He’s got this.
Vs 92 – Conclusion
Based off his observation, of how faithful God is, he makes this statement in verse 92, “Unless Your law had been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” While I believe ‘law” here means His Word, I think it has another application for us by meaning by His direction for my life. In other words, if it wasn’t for Your direction, Your command, Your intervention, I would not have survived.
Solomon tells us, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). I am successful and content when I am following His path, His direction for my life. I need to delight (and rest) in His plans for me. Without His directive, I wouldn’t survive.
Vs 93-94a Declaration
Near the end of our Declaration of Independence, there is this famous line,
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America,….solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.”
According to verse 94 and 95, our declaration is the opposite.
“I will never forget Your precepts. For by them, You have given me life. I am Yours” (emphasis mine).
As Christians, we are declaring, I will never turn against You. You are the provider of life to me and therefore my life is Yours. It isn’t mine. I am declaring my complete dependence on You. It is not unlike Paul’s point in Colossians 3:1 where he says, “For you died, and your life is hidden in Christ.” Many times Paul and even the LORD’s brother James (James 1:1) refer to themselves as “slaves.” Jesus claimed “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14).
As a disciple of Jesus, I am to follow His command. It makes no difference whether I agree with it or not. It changes nothing if I like His command or not or whether it’s convenient or not. None of that matters as far as His command to me. If I am a Christian, I am to follow Him.
Yet too often, we get caught up in our “rights.” We at times end up demanding things from other people. We want our “voice to be heard” or respected. We don’t like it when our feelings get hurt or if situations don’t turn out as we expect. Sometimes we wallow in a sense of self-respect thinking, “I am owed better than this.” When in reality, we are owed nothing.
As a follower of Jesus, my life is not my own. We must declare like the Psalmist, “I am Yours.”
I can make that declaration because when I observe His works, put my issues into perspective, conclude He is directing my life and arrive at the point where I say, “I will never forget Your precepts. You have given me life. I am Yours.
That is our Declaration of Dependence.