Psalm 119:64 (NKJV)
64 The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy; Teach me Your statutes.
Psalm 119 is about meditation on the excellence of God�s word. In verse 64 the psalmist acknowledges that God is full of mercy. There are many places in the world that do not recognize the true God of the world, yet because God created man his mercies extend to all men. The psalmist asks in prayer that God teach him God�s ways so that he may live accordingly.
A book titled The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible came out a few years ago. It was written by a non-Christian named A. J. Jacobs. It is a funny book, and he is a great writer. He spent an entire year committed to obeying Bible commands as literally as he could.
[In the fall of 1956, I began my final year at the Stony Brook School, then a boys' college preparatory school in New York. Among the required courses that last year was Senior Bible, taught by the school's headmaster, Dr. Frank E. Gaebelein, a man who required us to memorize 300 verses of Scripture over the course of that year. If he met a student on the pathway from the class room to the dining hall, he might say, "Gordon, give me John 13:34 please." He expected us to recite the verse from memory without faltering.
One of the passages he tasked us to memorize was Psalm 46. For days we memorized, recited, memorized, recited until the Psalm 46 was part of us. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble period. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea�."
In the spring of 1957, Senior Bible ended. We put our index cards away, graduated from Stony Brook, and went off to college. Occasionally, I returned to Psalm 46. As a pastor I preached on it a few times.
Now 56 years have passed. A few days ago my doctor called me. "Gordon, I have some difficult news for you. There's a tumor in the back of your head in the lining of the brain. It is not malignant, but it will have to come out." I have spent my whole life helping other people face doctor-call moments like these. Now it was my turn and the very first thing that began to surge through my mind was: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble period. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed�."
When I was a teenager, a brilliant and godly man pumped my friends and me full of Scripture. But now his effort is paying off. Thanks to Dr. Gaebelein and Psalm 46, I may be concerned and cautious, but I am not inclined to be fearful. [Adapted from Gordon MacDonald, "When the Doctor Calls," Leadership Journal Online (August 2013)]]
Psalm 46:1-3 says, �God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.