“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You”! (Psalm 119:9-11).
I find it interesting that the longest chapter in the Bible (Psalm 119) is overwhelmingly filled with stressing the importance of God’s Word in the lives of His followers. Time and space prevent me from being able to give this psalm the justice it deserves, but I do want to mention a few points that I believe are important regarding how we should view God’s Word and the role it is to play in our lives.
First, the psalmist stresses how we need to embrace God’s commandments. Rather than questioning the reasoning behind God’s commandments, the author acknowledges that all of God’s statutes are righteous: “Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are Your judgments. Your testimonies, which You have commanded, are righteous and very faithful” (Psalm 119:137-138); “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160). Because he esteems God’s Word, it pains him to see God’s Will being violated: “Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law” (Psalm 119:136).
Second, the psalmist fully trusts in God’s Word given to him through the Scriptures: “Let Your mercies come also to me, O Lord-- Your salvation according to Your word. So, shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Your word” (Psalm 119:41-42); “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides” (Psalm 119:89-90). The author placed his trust in God’s promises as found in His Word. God’s Law saw him through many trials: “Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction” (Psalm 119:92). God’s Word had given him the wisdom he needed to navigate and guide his life: “You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts” (Psalm 119:98-100); “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
Finally, the psalmist valued and treasured God’s Word: “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure” (Psalm 119:162); “Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage” (Psalm 119:54). Since he treasured God’s commands, he made it a priority in His life to study them: “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). The writer allowed nothing to distract him from his pursuit to think on God’s statutes: “Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things and revive me in Your way. Establish Your word to Your servant, who is devoted to fearing You” (Psalm 119:36-38).
As I reflect upon this great psalm it challenges me with a number of questions I need to ask myself: How do I feel about God’s commands? Do I question them or do I embrace them? Does it bother me when I violate God’s Will or see others violate God’s Will? Do I trust fully in God’s promises as given through His Law or do I trust in something else? Do I treasure God’s commands so much that I make it a priority to daily study them or do I allow other things to distract me from studying God’s Word? Today, I will rejoice in God’s law, embrace it, trust fully in it, and make it a point to study it and apply it to my life!
“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18).