A wineskin in the smoke

Today’s (Su 31/05/2015) FDR reading is the middle section of three in Psalm 119 which is Psalm 119:49-96 .

Verse 83 carries these words;

“Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
    I do not forget your decrees.”

Yet feeling like this is part of our everyday lives too.  Today’s equivalent might be your once great pair of shoes now looking very sad and worn.  Even to your own eyes. We too can feel like a wineskin in the smoke or our old shoes.  However the Psalmist goes on to 8affirm that they do not forget the Lord’s decrees.

While this might be the longest psalm in the Bible it holds in short palm sized groups a set of words that keep us focussed on God.  This form mimics the sort of short notes we were encouraged to write as we learnt verses in the Bible and gained understanding of the grace extended to us.

Here in this group of eight verses titled Kaph (The eleventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet, whose literal meaning is the palm of the hand.(iii)) is a short summary of the psalmist’s position before God.  And here in the first half is an affirmation of being worn T out yet not forgetting God’s decrees.

Pressed to the most difficult situation, the soul faints, the eyes are failing, persecuted, traps are set, almost dead.

Yet the author, as Pastor Barney pointed out about Paul in Friday’s Blog, still has their eyes clearly on God.  –  Hope in your word, when will you comfort, when will you punish, help. I have not forsaken your precepts.  Preserve my life that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.

Berni Dymet, quoted in The Pulse(i), reminds us that it does not matter what size of faith we think we have but only that we have it.  Regardless of the size of the obstacle we don’t need a faith big enough to match the obstacle.  Only mustard seed size faith is enough.  Jesus reminds us of this God given principle as He responds to the disciples inability to drive out a demon.as recorded in Matthew 17:20:

He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’

Reading the TImothy passage from Friday and Pastor Barney’s blog I wonder about the faith of the man Paul, knowing his death was approaching he continues to encourage and support Timothy so that whatever his (Paul’s) lot, the work of preaching, teaching and leading to Jesus will continue.

A Prayer – Dear Father, as I too struggle with the tensions and strains of my earthly life please bless me with a spirit of faith in You, the size of a mustard seed. .A spirit of thankfulness for the great gift of your Son, my Lord Jesus and the  ability to see through the storm and rough waters to the task of witnessing to the saving grace of my Lord Jesus. Amen.

As I close up my blog and complete the references I literally stumble across this Verse of the Day from the Biblegateway translated in the Message version.

Take my side, God—I’m getting kicked around, stomped on every day. Not a day goes by but somebody beats me up; They make it their duty to beat me up. When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God. What can mere mortals do? (Psalm 56:4)

And my heart and soul leap for joy.  May yours do also.


(i)  The Pulse, Autumn 2015, Newsletter of Pulse 94.1, Coniston NSW
(ii) Bible passages taken from www.biblegateway.com New International Version 2011.
(iii) Defined at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/kaph


2 thoughts on “A wineskin in the smoke

  1. Thank you Glenn. There was a time as a new believer that for a long season I would read Psalm119 every morning. I mean along time over 12 months. The Bible I used was the Amplified Bible which makes this Psalm even longer because of the fullness of each verse where needed is expounded. Anyway I found there was so much meat in this Psalm but more than anything else it taught me to know God and His ways. It was wonderful grounding for the new believer seeking what it means to fear the Lord and out of that fear comes wisdom for life. We didn’t look at this Psalmist Sunday but my favourite verse is verse 11,”Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You”. Having Gods word in our heart not only keeps us on a short leash with God but it transforms our minds so that we are not conformed to this world (Romans 12;2). Anybody growing weak in their faith take heart. If you take the time and read this wonderful Psalm on a daily basis for a season see how your understanding of God will change and watch how, with the help of the Holy Spirit your life will be made fuller because of the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom.
    Nobody can do it for you, no shortcuts, it takes time and effort.
    Disciple = discipline

  2. Ah, my bad. The last scripture reference was wrong and has just been corrected. Thanks GlennB.

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