Psalm 119:33-40 (NLT)

Teach me your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.

When a crisis occurs, the things we turn to are our training, our experience, and the things we have been taught. It may seem like we are winging it, but in reality, we are putting into practice the things we’ve learned and using the tools we have been taught to operate. A crisis can be a physical, financial, household, or any number of things that challenge us and make us turn to what we have learned.

In the text, the psalmist uses the verbs teach, give, walk, turn, reassure, help and renew to illustrate the need to have a reservoir from which we can drink when we are in a crisis. It’s all so very logical; Lord, teach me your decrees and I will keep them all of my life, make me walk and I will find my happiness, give me eagerness for your word and I will love you more than I love money, turn my attention from worthless things and I will have life in your word, reassure me of your promise and I will fear you, help me to turn from my shameful ways and I will do good, and renew my life and I will be filled with your goodness.

If you read the text carefully, you will note that the psalmist implies quite emphatically that without the learning that takes place when one is taught, given, walked, turned, reassured, helped and renewed, nothing changes. One has to learn in order to change, and when a person changes, they can then change the things and the people around them. The story is told in the book of Acts (8:26-39) of an Ethiopian eunuch who was reading from the book of Isaiah while riding in his chariot. He was reading the passage that spoke of the coming Messiah (53:7). Philip, who was sent by God, approached him and asked if he knew of what and to whom the scripture spoke. The eunuch’s response was profound. He said, “How can I, except some man should guide me?” (8:31) With that, Philip began teaching him all that he needed to know to be transformed to a life filled with goodness.

The lesson to be learned is that we could have all the information we need right in our hands and still miss the message. We have to be taught! The psalmist understood the necessity of being taught and so did Philip. The only way to be the contented person that the psalmist describes is to know what the Lord requires of us. Since we can’t do what we don’t know, we must be taught. Whenever the opportunity presents itself to learn about the precepts and the commandments of the Lord, I encourage you to make yourself available. Then, like the eunuch who left rejoicing and the psalmist who was renewed with goodness when they were edified, you can also experience a life transformation when you get to know more about the Lord. Be willing to learn so that you will know and God will be glorified, you will be edified, and Satan will be terrified!

Be Blessed!

20161113_JLRussellRev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen here or by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at You can also use the email to order his new book, Matters of Faith: The Book.

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