Psalm 119 v9-16
As Christians we often hear about the importance of setting time aside to read the Bible. This is not simply a religious observance or tradition, the daily reading the Word of God is absolutely critical in our lives, especially in the 21st century.
Roy Peterson, president and CEO of American Bible Society.
“It’s not getting any easier. As we look at modern-day America, we see a country moving away—for decades now—from the foundational, biblical values so cherished by those who have come before us, but as America is shaken by skepticism, this is the time to renew hope in the promises of God’s Word. When people are battling extreme violence, poverty and oppression, this is our time to open the healing words of Scripture.”
Psalm 119, is the longest chapter in the Bible and one of the most outstanding features of Psalm 119, is that it uses ten different terms for the Word of God in almost every verse. In fact, all but 5 verses mention the Word of God in some way.
It is believed that this Psalm was anonymously written around the time of Nehemiah and Ezra, when the Israelites were coming back out of captivity and Ezra the Priest led a revival as people once again heard the Word of God after decades of not being taught the scriptures (see Nehemiah 8:5 and 6). Nehemiah records that as Ezra read the scriptures for almost 6 hours, the people were shaken and wept upon hearing the Word of God. Can you imagine that? How I wish we would regain just some of the sense of awe and respect for the Word of God.
In the second stanza of Psalm 119 and verse 9, the Psalmist poses the question; “how can a young person stay on the path of purity?” This is a verse that we often give to young teenagers in order to encourage them to read and study the Bible. But the reality is that this is a truth that applies to all of us. One of the most basic needs of sinful man is the need to walk in the pathway of purity.
The answer given by the Psalmist is seemingly straightforward and simple; “By living according to your word”.
So it would seem that a life of purity is quite simply, following a set of rules. However, if life was simply about following a set of rules, why do we still struggle with sin in our personal lives? Jesus explained this in Matthew 15:18-19, we all have a heart problem. The Psalmist realized this too and in verse 10 and 11 we hear his cry of desperation;
“I will seek you with all my heart” – v10
“I have hidden your word in my heart” – v11
The Psalmist knew that the way to a life of purity is found when the heart and mind are filled with the powerful word of God.
The outward life comes from our inner thoughts and desires. We see the outward manifestation of the inward problem. The solution is not outward, but rather inward. The solution to the problem of sin is reading, meditating and memorizing the Word of God.
The Psalmist sees the problem, identifies the solution, but then realizes that he needs help. You see if the Bible was simply another self-help manual, then we could read it without any outside help and gain wisdom and understanding from it. But the Bible is like no other book.
As a born again believer, you have the Holy Spirit within you and he reveals truths of scripture to you. The Psalmist understood he could not master the word of God without supernatural help. And so in verse 12 he cries out; “teach me your decrees”.
And finally; in verses 14-16 we see the fruit of meditating and allowing the Word of God to permeate his life. He rejoices in verse 14 and delights in verse 16. These are not the emotions of someone who is trying his or her utmost to follow a set of rules and regulations.
When the Word of God is in your heart, it comes out as an expression of joy and delight. There is a peace that comes from allowing the Word of God to permeate and infiltrate every aspect of your life.
We live busy and stressful lives, we desperately need time to pull away from the busyness and useless information and steward our time reading and meditating on God’s word. The result will be the same as the Psalmist – we will rejoice as we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us through the Bible and we will delight in the truths of God’s word.
This Bible contains your Heavenly Father’s love letter to you, He wrote it for you. It is your daily bread, your sword of the spirit and the truth that gives light to your path.
Love this book, treasure this book, it is no ordinary collection of pages and ink. As we apply the words of truth to our lives, we will see supernatural transformation taking place.
The purpose of Bible study is not just to understand doctrines or to be able to defend the faith, as important as these things are. The ultimate purpose is the equipping of the believers who read it. It is the Word of God that equips God’s people to do the work of God.
Your ability to overcome temptation and to live a victorious Christian life, is directly proportional to the time you spend reading God’s word.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, and chapter 6, he writes about the armor of God that every Christian must put on. The only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
We need to know how to use this weapon effectively or else we will always be weak and ineffective as Christians (see Hebrews 4:12).
The Bible is no ordinary book, and we don’t simply pick it up like we would a novel or a textbook. When you open the Bible, you must come with expectation that what you are going to read has the ability to transform you.
“The scriptures were not given for our information but our transformation.” DL Moody