The Longest Chapter – Part 13 April 5, 2016

Happy Tuesday!  Welcome to our continuing study of Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the entire Bible.

index

 

Oh, how I love Your instructions! I think about them all day long.

Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.

Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of Your laws.

I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept Your commandments.

I have refused to walk on any evil path, so that I may remain obedient to Your Word.

I haven’t turned away from Your regulations for You have taught me well.

How sweet Your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.

Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.

Psalm 119: 97-104

The Bible is not a book of ‘helpful tips for happy living’.  It is the Word of God which He gifted to humanity to enlighten and direct us for a spiritually successful journey through life.

You can trust God’s Word. All of it – every word – is faithful, righteous, and true. It doesn’t change with the times; it is not concerned with political correctness, but with God’s way of righteousness and holiness. One of the amazing things about the Bible is that it speaks with practical relevance to every culture in every period of history.  Expositions of Scriptural passages, written some 500 or 700 years ago to people in a very different world than our own, still speak with relevance to us in the 21st century! The answers to all the problems we face today are contained in the pages of this sacred book, because it speaks God’s truth to our human condition, which has not changed over the centuries.

In this section of psalm 119, King David acknowledges that it is from the Word of God that he gained insight and wisdom.  It was his investment of time in studying the revealed Word of God and living according to its precepts that transformed him from an unknown shepherd boy to the King of Israel of whom God said, ‘He is a man after my own heart.’

What was it about him that earned him that exalted compliment?

First, David had absolute faith in God. Nowhere in Scripture is this point better illustrated than in 1 Samuel 17 where David as a young shepherd boy fearlessly slew the Philistine, Goliath.  Shortly before the duel, we see direct evidence of David’s faith in verse 37 where David says, ‘The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’

Second, David absolutely loved God’s Word. Of the 150 psalms in the Bible, David is credited with writing over half of them. Writing at various and often stressful times in his life, David repeatedly mentioned how much he loved God’s perfect Word and as we see in this week’s section, God imparted to David insight and wisdom because he meditated on God’s Word regularly. There is no substitute for spending time every day reading and pondering the Scriptures.  No commentary, no matter how popular, can ever be as effective as sitting quietly with your Bible in hand, reading a section and then pausing to ponder what you’ve read and in the pondering listening for what God wants to say to your soul at that moment.

Third, David lived a life of thankfulness. David’s life was marked by seasons of great peace and prosperity as well as times of fear and despair. But through it all, he never forgot to thank the Lord for everything. It is truly one of his finest characteristics. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” he wrote in Psalm 100.

Fourth, David was quick to repent when he failed.  He was not a perfect man, but he was perfectly repentant.  David’s most well known fall included adultery, lying and murder. He had sinned against God and takes responsibility for it. He readily admits it and offers no excuse or rationalization in 2 Samuel 12:13: “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’”

But admitting our sin and asking for forgiveness is only half of the equation. The other half is repentance, and David did what we should all do: repent of our sins. Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance to God: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” (Psalm 51:1-2).

Let us not forget that David was a man just like us. He had great days and difficult days. He sinned, but despite his sin, he always loved God and repented from the depths of his soul. He never excused himself for his failures, never cut himself any slack.

David, a man after God’s own heart, continues to inspire every generation to seek after the insight and wisdom that only God can give.

Do we love God’s Word like David did?

Do we meditate in it EVERY day?

What’s the last bit of insight or wisdom you have gained from spending time pondering God’s word?  Yesterday? Today?  Or has it been weeks or months?

Is the Word of God ‘sweeter than honey’ to you?

It’s time to ponder….

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