How Should We Think About/Feel Toward/Respond to God’s Word?
Delight (Verses 14, 16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 77, 92, 143, 174)
“In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.” (v.14) This is a genuine joy in God that delights in whatever he has said.
Love (Verses 47, 48, 97, 119, 127, 159, 163, 165)
“Oh, how I love your law!” (v. 97)
Say that out loud. “Oh, how I love your law!” Did you just make yourself a hypocrite? In a way, all of us are. But this is something to realize about Psalm 119. It is descriptive but also prescriptive. It functions to call us to be the people we should be. Just like other things do. The Pledge of Allegiance or America the Beautiful are quoted and sung regularly to remind us of the citizens we should be even when we aren’t or when America isn’t particularly beautiful. They act as reminders of what we could be and should be.
Psalm 119 is like America the Beautiful. It is idealistic and aspirational. So we read, “O how I love your law!” and while that morning we may not feel love and perhaps reading God’s Word feels like a duty, it shows us what we could be and what we should be. Let it summon confession, O how I want to love your law, God please help me!
Obedience (Verses 3, 4, 10, 21, 29, 32, 36, 44, 59, 88, 112, 115, 145, 146, 166, 167, 168)
In the end, love for God’s Word shows itself by reverent obedience. So much of 119 is about obedience. That’s how we know if we really love God and his Word, we obey it; live by it.
This week I said to Kiralee one morning, “Sweetheart, I need you to be obedient to Mommy today.” She said, “What if I said I’m sorry now for all the times I’m disobedient today?”
Really? Pre-planning disobedience? We humans start young with our ability to rationalize away our sins. Psalm 119 doesn’t rationalize; it cries out to God for help in walking in his ways, obeying his precepts, living according to his Word.
Delight, love, and obedience to God’s Word seem kind of out there to the natural us. Isn’t the Bible an archaic ancient book with morality completely out of touch with modern man and contemporary culture? How can I love it? Delight in it? Obey it?
Imagine if God had not spoken. What if what if there was no revelation? No word from God about anything? No Bible. No knowledge of God or anything he requires. Think of the moral landscape of the world. Think of the barrenness. The emptiness of the soul if there was no Word, no Christ, even creation somehow silenced about a Creator. Nothing. Just one verse of Scripture would be like a morsel of bread to a starving man. How precious! How we would love that one verse. Memorize it. Meditate on it. Treasure it.
We happen to have a banquet feast in Scripture. Old and New Testament. 66 books. 23,145 verses in the Bible. How do we treasure God’s Word? It comes from a heart made alive by the Holy Spirit through the gospel of Jesus Christ. It comes from a true understanding of my depravity and God’s unmerited grace to me. It comes from a heart changed through regeneration. A life transformed by Christ and a mind made new. Made alive to spiritual truth. Like the starving man brought to the grocery store. Every aisle is fantastic. You can’t get him past the produce. Every item must be tasted, savored, experienced, known.
Apart from God and his revelation, we are the starving man. How does a spiritually starving man respond to spiritual food? Delight! O how I love your law! How I want it more than gold or silver! I can’t eat gold. Silver doesn’t satisfy what I need! My soul needs God’s truth! Oh how I love your law!
What should do we do with it? I decided to do my own ABC description of the Christian’s life with God’s Word.
Don’t ignore it
Fail, it won’t
Give it away
Hope in it
Inspired it is
Jot it down
Keep it close
Love it by livin’ it
Prioritize time with it
Underestimate it at your own peril
Vociferously read it!
Wonder at it
Xerox it and pass it around
Yearn for it
Zeal for God is what it creates in us
It’s no Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is a masterpiece inspired by God that calls the people of God to treasure the Word of God within the community of God.
Oh how we need to love thy law!
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
© 2017 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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