In our last series, What is Hope, we spent time in Psalm 119. We’ll continue in this same chapter as we work through a slightly different format than usual. Today, we are going to set a foundation for the importance—the place—of the word of God in our lives. There’s nothing that can impact our day-to-day lives as powerfully as the word of God.
The word of God is/should be an integral part of the Christian life. Without it, we can’t understand, or even know, what we believe. Without it, what does our faith have to rest in? Without it, how can we know what true Biblical hope is?
David understood the importance of God’s word. The whole of Psalm 119 is devoted to this understanding. David glories in the word of God, showing us that God’s word—his statutes, precepts, commands, laws—is the foundation on which we rest. Every other line within this Psalm refers to God’s word in some way, and every verse contends for the importance of the word of God.There's nothing more critical in our daily lives than the word of God. Without it, we are without direction and without understanding. #biblestudy Click To Tweet
Path to Blessing
Let’s rewind to the beginning of the Psalm before we zero in on the main section we will be looking at. Psalm 119:2 says, “How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart.” David tells us that the person who would seek after the Lord wholeheartedly, who would seek him through his word, law, statutes, commands, and testimonies, is blessed. This is what God desires—a people who search after his heart and understand his ways.
Do we want to be blessed? I’ve never met a person who didn’t want to be blessed. The problem is that we pursue blessing through the wrong channels. God’s given us one path to blessing, through pursuing him and his word. In Psalm 119:4, we read, “You [God] have ordained Your precepts, that we should keep them diligently.” Pause for a moment to think about this. It speaks to the inspiration of God’s word in a most amazing way.
God ordained his precepts for a purpose. God inspired Scripture for a purpose. In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul wrote, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…” Why is Scripture profitable? Because God ordained his precepts that we should keep them diligently (Psalm 119:4). The very purpose of him speaking his word was for us to know what to do—and to do it.
Verse 9 asks us an important question, “How can a young man (or woman) keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” Do we want to know how to stay pure? How to keep our lives pure? Do everything in accordance with God’s word. We begin to see this magnificent foundation which David has laid out for us. It is the importance of God’s word.
Verse 13 continues with, “With my lips I have told of all the ordinances of Your mouth.” This is another important principle. We don’t get to just hear and study the word, keeping it to ourselves. David proclaimed it to the world around him. Notice what David did not say: he did not say, “With my lips, I’ve told of all the cool things that I feel you’ve done for me in my life.” No. He’s declaring the truth of God as it is known and understood through the word of God.What does God desire? A people who search after his heart and understand his ways. #biblestudy #wordofGod Click To Tweet
Verse 15 says, “I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways.” We should be thinking of—meditating on—the word of God at all times. It’s something we should always have before us. This was evidenced in Jewish life as they constantly read the word of God, as they wore phylacteries on their head and arms, as they touched the mezuzah on their doorposts. The word of God permeated their culture, yet we place our Bibles on shelves to gather dust. Church, we cannot experience the living God without the living Word.
Verse 20 says, “My soul is crushed with longing after Your ordinances at all times.” Do you hear and see the heart of David? His desire for God’s word was so deep, he felt he was crushed with longing. Is this true of us? Do we long for the word?
Verse 21 says, “You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, who wander from Your commandments.” Have you ever heard someone say that we don’t really need the Bible today? David is pretty clear on this type of attitude. It’s a scary proposition to be corrected by the God of the universe just because we don’t want to listen to his word.
Verse 23 expands this further with, “Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes.” Not only does David believe in the importance of the word of God, he would rather meditate on it than hold favor with princes.
Verse 26: “I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; Teach me Your statutes.”
Verse 27: “Make me understand the way of Your precepts, so I will meditate on Your wonders.”
Verse 38: “Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You.”
Do you want to know how to meditate on the wonders of God? How to spend time in prayer and praise without being bored? The answer is within these three verses. Ask God to establish his word inside of you, ask him to help you understand his precepts. This is what will produce reverence for him. Why does the Church lack reverence? Because we have shelved the voice of God.
Verse 75: “I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” Oh boy, what is David saying here? How does he know that the affliction of God is correlated to the discipline of the Lord? Why is it that he can say the affliction was done in faithfulness?
This flies in the face of the modern belief that God only gives, that he doesn’t want to take away. David knew better. He knew better because he understood what the writer of Hebrews understood. He understood what the whole of Scripture communicates. God wounds us to make us stronger, better. But how does David know that God is faithful?
David meditated on the righteous judgments of God. He knew that when God corrected him, it was because God was good and because correction was needed. As Christians, we must believe that God’s judgments are good. With this in mind, let’s rewind to verses 73 and 74.Church, we cannot experience the living God without the living Word. #WordofGod Click To Tweet
Verses 73-74: “Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. May those who fear You see me and be glad, because I wait for Your word.”
As a pastor, I’m always looking for ways that I can do what God wants, ways to honor him. But there is an issue within me, which I believe most people can relate with, that I want people to be glad to be my friend. I want them to be glad in their relationship with me.
There’s also a perversion of this, which is “I just want all people to like me.” Of course, that’s never going to happen and we have to let go of the need to be liked by everyone. But we do want people to be glad to see us and David gives us a snapshot into how we can achieve that. “May those who fear you see me and be glad.” Why? “Because I wait for your word.”
If we want to be good leaders inside of our lives, we need to be the ones who are waiting on the word of the Lord. If we want people to be glad to see us, when they experience our presence, then we need to be a person who waits on the word of God. When we begin to understand this foundation, we understand that those who fear God are pleased when they see his servants.
Verse 89: “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.”
Verse 90: “Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.”
Verse 91: “They stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants.”
Think about what these verses are conveying to us, the heavens and the earth stand because God spoke them. You and I stand because the word of God sustains us and enables us to endure. We cannot live or move or have our being apart from God, apart from his word. It’s just not possible. All of these things: the heavens, the generations, the earth, everything is a servant to God.
There is something supernatural that is happening because the foundation of God’s word is that he ordained his ordinances that we might walk in them. God’s very purpose for ordaining them was for our life, our betterment, and our joy. In the next post, we will move into a section of this Psalm that will encourage and build us up.
Until then, I’d love to hear what place the word of God has in your day-to-day life. Comment below or email me at email@example.com.