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Navigating in an Alien World (Psalm 119:19)

I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me.
Psalm 119:19

Have you ever gone to another country where you did not speak or understand the language? It can be extremely frustrating and even scary. Communicating with hand signals can only get you so far. It can also be unsettling because you don’t know who you can trust to legitimately help you. As believers on this earth, we are like tourists in another country. We speak a different language and we do not fit at all with the culture.

As a result, we desperately need guidance. The psalmist had a very clear understanding of his dilemma. He recognized the fact that he is out of place in this world. In light of this reality, he prays that God will not hide His commandments from him. Should the psalmist find himself without the word of God, he would be in the most helpless state!

Now, if you are a believer you are in the same predicament. Believers are strangers in this land and we should be well aware of our desperate need for the guidance found only in God’s word. Nevertheless, it seems that many people who should self-identify as strangers here actually do not feel any pressing need for God’s guidance through His word. James Montgomery Boice makes an interesting observation regarding those who should be aliens but actually seem to fit in with the culture:

This is an important truth to know and come to terms with: If you are trying to follow God, the world is going to treat you as an alien, for that is what you will be. You cannot expect to be at home in it, and if you are, well, it is an indication that you really do not belong to Christ or at least are living far from him. Do you think that is too harsh? Jesus expressed it in even stronger terms. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: “No servant is greater than his master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also (John 15:19–20).1

For those who have come to know the Lord in truth, God’s word is essential for their survival. It provides the context for life on this earth. It gives the wisdom we need for daily decisions. It reminds us of our responsibilities on this earth. Spending time in God’s word is a privilege and a blessing. It is hard to imagine what life would be like without God’s word. Make sure you enjoy it this week and benefit from all that God makes available to you!

1Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 107–150: An Expositional Commentary (p. 984). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

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Rocky Wyatt

Rocky Wyatt came to know the Lord as a young teenager and began working in youth ministry when in college. After serving in churches in Utah, California and Colorado, Rocky moved to Texas to serve as Youth Pastor at Countryside Bible Church. He served there for 26 years where he eventually moved from youth ministry to serve as an Associate Pastor.

Over the course of his ministry, Rocky has always had a desire to train men for pastoral ministry in the context of the local church. In 1992 he started XL Ministries, an organization that is committed to helping churches establish intensive internships for pastoral training. In 2020 he left his position at Countryside Bible Church to become the Executive Director of XL Ministries and now works full time assisting churches in training men for ministry.

He is co-author of The Youth Ministry Training Manual, a textbook for training youth pastors, and has also written multiple other resources for use in various local church ministries. He is currently working on a book to encourage churches to take the primary responsibility to train pastors.

Rocky is married to Pamela, has two sons and daughters-in-law, and ten grandchildren. 

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.1 Corinthians 15:58