2009-01-30 – “Blessing”
We start a new series today.
I’m going to be selecting a couple of verses from Psalm 119 to consider. Psalm 119 is a wisdom psalm which means that it is about our relationship with God and a practical guide to life. It is an acrostic poem with 22 stanzas of 8 verses each. (This makes it the longest psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible!)
Acrostic means that the poem follows the Alphabet: in stanza 1 all the verses start with the first letter of the alphabet, in stanza 2 the verses start with the second letter of the alphabet and so on. This was done to aid memorization and to imply a full and thorough treatment of the subject.
The subject of the Psalm is the value, relevance and blessing of reading, knowing and loving God’s Word.
Blessed are they whose ways are blameless
Who walk according to the law of the Lord
Blessed are they who keep his statutes
and seek Him with all their heart. (Psalms119:1-2)
In English rhyming is considered to be a poetic device. Hebrew poetry doesn’t rhyme, but OT poets used parallel lines to say things more fully. Parallels are either complementary or opposite: One line expands another or one line contrasts the other.
This psalm starts with two complementing pairs.
Who are blessed? Those whose ways are blameless.
How do they become blameless? They walk according to God’s law.
Who are blessed? Those who keep His statutes
How do they keep His statutes? They seek Him with all their heart.
Blessing is more than financial prosperity or the absence of trouble. Blessing is the result of a life lived in the deep comforting awareness of God’s presence. Sometimes people with all the material comforts of the world are not at peace while people who are going through hardship or illness have a “peace that passes understanding.” Blessedness is not about circumstances, but about relationship.
Psalm 1 very powerfully begins with the premise that the love God’s Word is a critical key to a blessed journey through life.
To sum up:
Blessedness is found in a life well-walked. God’s Word can show us how and where to walk.
But blessedness doesn’t come from Biblicism (just worshipping the Bible), it comes from a passionate relationship with God.
We must _seek_ Him with ALL our heart.
(Now where have we heard this before???)
2009-02-03 – “Wise heads on young shoulders”
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to Your Word.
I seek You with all my heart,
do not let me stray from Your commands. (Psalms119:9-10)
When I was at school and varsity, I was given great responsibilities and many people commented that I had a wise head on young shoulders. My response was that it did not come from me: I found the answer in these two verses.
The Scriptures are our guideline for faith and life. While Scripture does not talk about the internet or genetic engineering, it contains principles and guidelines that are timeless and trustworthy. We find wisdom and guidance available to those who love God’s Word, read it and reflect on it.
We can read about Saul and learn from his mistakes.
We can be inspired by David’s single-mindedness.
We can be moved by Peter’s proud fall and Jesus’ loving restoration.
We can meditate on the ten commandments and see the values and balance of life reflected in them.
For young people (and I’m not old yet!) there are powerful forces that want to shape our thinking in consumerist, self-centred, self-gratifying ways. I was fortunate that the people who led me to Christ also led me to love the Scriptures.
Throughout the psalm, the psalmist interweaves comments about Scripture with prayers to God. This is right. Bible Study without prayer is an academic exercise. The Bible is never an end in itself. In its pages we meet a living, loving, speaking God who is in dialogue with us and we answer with our lives.
As a young man, I learned values and principles that kept me knowing God and walking in His paths. When I look back on the times of my life where my moral-and-values-compass faltered, those times coincided with times that I was neglecting regular Bible Study.
2009-02-05 – “Attitude”
Your statutes are my delight:
They are my counsellors. (Psalms119:24)
People read the Bible for various reasons: historical interest, scholarly analysis, a sense of duty, searching of ammunition to justify their preconceived ideas, out of desperation, or a guilty conscience.
The psalmist has moved beyond all of these. Scripture is a delight for him. Even God’s laws are a delight to him! Who would think that lists of “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not” would be a delight, but the psalmist _delights_ in them.
-God’s law reveals God’s holy and righteous character.
-The laws provide a framework for life
-He recognises ultimate truth revealed in the Scriptures
We are even more fortunate than the psalmist because the Scriptures he worked with at that time would probably have been the first five books of the OT and a bit of the history in Judges. We have the completed Scriptures at our disposal translated into our everyday language with notes to help us understand.
Next time you read the Bible stop and think about it: These Scriptures have been inspired by God through a variety of authors, preserved and propagated over centuries and available for us to read about God’s nature, His purpose in the world and Christ’s coming in spite of our documented failures. Its actually gripping reading when you think about it.
The Psalmist delights in God’s Word and is passionate about learning to live it out.
2009-02-06 – “Free!”
I run in the path of Your commands
for You have set my heart free. (Psalms119:32)
Not many people would put “commands” and “free” in the same sentence. We associate law with boundaries and a lack of freedom. We tend to think that rules stifle creativity and structure limits expression.
The Psalmist has learned otherwise: The rules on a soccer field make the game more fun. The structure of society can engender safety and productivity. The laws of physics ensure that a hang-glider behaves consistently and we can enjoy the ride. Children play safely in a playground that has a fence. Rules, laws and structures do not have to be limiting factors.
The same is true of God’s laws: They are there to help, protect and teach us. We have the freedom to run in the path of His commands.
But the Psalmist is saying more than just “rules can be a good thing…”
The psalmist runs in the secure pathway that structure gives, and he does it with a FREE HEART. A heart that is forgiven and free of guilt. A heart that is secure in the knowledge that we are loved and valued by God. A heart that knows: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made and all the days of my life are in the book of my God. (Ps139)”
When our hearts are not free God’s commands are a cage. For those whose hearts are free the God’s ways are a pathway and we can _run_ along them!
Have an awesome weekend!
2009-02-10 – “A Bible Reading Prayer”
33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
The Bible is best read prayerfully.
There are attitudes that can benefit or detract from our Bible reading experience. The Holy Spirit is able to assist us as we read. The couple of verses that we look at today constitute a very valuable prayer to pray whenever we read the Bible.
I’ve paraphrased them as follows:
1. Give me a _teachable_ _heart_ so that I am willing to learn from the Bible AND put it in practice!
2. Give me the _understanding_ I need to practice what I read. We need help to interpret David and Goliath or the parable of the seed and sower into our situations.
3. As I read _direct_ me so that I see what You want me to see and do, because I know that will be best for me.
4. Give me a _compliant_ heart because I am so tempted toward my own selfish agenda.
5. Keep me from the distraction of that which is passing and let me build my life on the real values of Your Word.
It’s very helpful to pray something along these lines before we read the Bible each day!
2009-02-11 – “Credible”
I will speak of Your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame. (Psalms119:46)
Wisdom is a rare commodity. Some say that wisdom only comes with age and experience.
The psalmist argues that a solid foundation in Biblical Truth can give one credibility in the presence of significant people. I think there is a lot of truth in this.
When we read Scripture regularly and prayerfully, we will find the balance and wisdom that we need. We get our priorities realigned, we get our picture of God clear again, our own frailty-yet-valued-by-God is affirmed, and we learn from the experience of others in Scripture.
Paul puts it well when he writes “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom15:4)
Not only should we read the Bible on our own, but we should seek to place ourselves in contexts where we can learn more about Scripture. Church and Bible Studies are good places to start, but a warning is a appropriate here: collecting facts and knowledge about the Bible isn’t enough. Academic study is insufficient. Good Bible Study is a dialogue: God speaks through the Bible and we must answer with our lives.
When we get this right we can stand before kings.
2009-02-12 – “Comfort”
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
The arrogant mock me without restraint
but I do not turn from Your law
I remember Your ancient laws, O LORD
and I find comfort in them. (Psalms119:50-52)
For the Psalmist the Bible is not just a source of academic knowledge. He finds _comfort_ in the Scriptures. Scripture abounds with the promises of God that apply to the good and difficult times of our lives.
The Bible is not a book of spells to ward off evil.
It is not a collection of incantations to ensure good fortune.
It is not a self-help tool that gives you eleventeen tips to a happy life.
The Bible is a guide to a relationship with our Father God who loves us enough to give us the freedom of choice and places us in a world where our choices can make or break our lives and the lives of those around us. But He also loves us too much to leave us simply at the mercy of our choices and so He is present in our joys and our heartaches with comfort, strength, guidance and the awesome power that transforms the gloom of Crucifixion Friday to the glory of Resurrection Sunday.
The psalmist has not been sheltered from suffering. He has experienced the reality of tragedy and evil and he has found himself in need of comfort:
- Comfort that he is not alone
- Comfort that trouble will not endure forever
- Comfort that the scales will be balanced
- Comfort in that he can find a way out of trouble.
- Comfort that trouble does not have to scar him.
- Comfort that all of heaven is behind him working out God’s perfect plan.
Fortunately he knows where comfort is to be found: in the tried-and-tested truth and wisdom of the Scriptures
2009-02-13 – “Considered”
I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes
I will hasten and not delay to obey Your commands.
These verses give us two very important life-lessons:
1. Life is too precious to rush through unconsidered.
2. God’s Word is a worthwhile guide to life.
Throughout ages and cultures, wise people have commented that it is really important for us to “consider our ways.” When we fail to reflect on life’s meaning and purpose, we run the risk of a life that lacks depth.
One of the privileges I have as a pastor is to be able to go and pray with families when a baby is born. As I share in their awe, joy and pride I am reminded of the gift that my son, Caleb, is to me. I’m also fortunate to do marriage prep with couples and have found that it has a very beneficial effect in that I appreciate what a gift I have received in my own marriage. These are “forced” reflections that I am very grateful for, but I have also learned to take a time-out every now and again to reflect on my life, to count my blessings and consider my ways.
But reflection on its own can be a very self-centered, self-referencing and ego-based exercise. Jesus tells the parable of the rich farmer who reflected on his wealth and success and was considering ways to increase this wealth when God told him that his life was going to come to an end and that the wealth would be meaningless.
That is why the psalmist’s reflection leads him to “turn his steps” to the principles and values of God’s Law.
For our lives to have real value and impact we need to consider our ways. The Scriptures are a reliable guide along God’s Path.
Have a great weekend! Turn your feet toward worship on Sunday!
2009-02-17 – “Learning from pain”
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray
but now I obey Your Word
71 It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn Your decrees. (Psalms119:67-71)
This stanza (verses 65-72, all starting with the Hebrew letter “teth”) has two references to the theme of affliction (v67 & 71). The psalmist sees painful times in his life as opportunities to bring him back to God’s Word.
There are a couple of possible scenarios:
* The psalmist drifted into a sinful lifestyle which had negative outcomes and this drove him back to God’s Ways.
* The psalmist was on a rebellious road and God allowed a tough time to come his way to turn him from his foolish ways back to the Word.
* The psalmist had been through tough circumstances that were not of his own making, but it deepened his appreciation of God’s Word.
* The psalmist had been “smeared with the lies of the arrogant” (vs 69) and had relied on God’s Word to bring him through this time.
The truth is this:
1. God can and does use hardship to get our attention. Sometimes the hardship is a direct result of sin, other times it is God’s discipline and at other times it is just the brokenness of the world.
2. God’s Word has _all_ the comfort, corrective truth, inspiration and guidance we need to get us back on track in the midst of the brokenness and discomfort.
2009-02-18 – “The Fellowship of the Book”
74 May those who fear You rejoice when they see me
for I have put my hope in Your Word…
79 May those who fear You turn to me:
those who understand Your statutes.
80 May my heart be blameless toward Your decrees
that I may not be put to shame. (Psalms119:74-80)
A faithful reading of Scripture brings us closer to community rather than further from it.
When I was a student at Rhodes, a few students spoke to me about wanting to know more about the Bible. I started a Bible Study – during one of the lecture periods (just 45 minutes). Before we knew it, our venue was full and lives were being changed.
The funny thing was that the short time didn’t allow for “touchy feely” stuff, folk arrived promptly, we jumped into the Bible text for the day and wrestled with it for about 35 minutes, closed in a round of prayer and rushed off to the next lecture.
What is amazing is that this Bible Study fostered deep friendships and care. People connected to each other and stood by each other. Some of those friendships are still going today!
When God’s Truth is a priority for us, when we are learning more about God’s Word, and when we experience the “Ah ha!” moments together, then God joins our hearts.
While it is important for us to love and study the Scriptures in private, there is a “fellowship of the Book” that comes into play when we study His Word together in a God-fearing way.
If you have not been part of a group Bible Study before, may I recommend that you consider it?
2009-02-19 – “Motive”
Preserve my life according to Your love
and I will obey the statutes of your mouth. (Psalms119:88)
This 11th stanza (81-88) is all about a time of great personal struggle that the psalmist goes through. He has arrogant enemies who have almost wiped him out, his eyes are faint looking for God’s deliverance and he has had to endure much. In vs87 he says “They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.”
Why has he remained faithful in all this trouble? Why is God’s Word so important to him? Our key verse (88) provides the answer: He has absolute hope in the love of God.
Some people obey God’s Word out of fear of judgement.
Others obey God’s Word to “earn the right” to blessings on the basis of “Good Behaviour.”
Then there are those who worship God’s Word instead of worshipping God.
The psalmist has a better balance: His allegiance to God’s Word is a _response_ to the certainty and comfort of God’s love. This is the right motive for Bible-study and the right motive for Bible-obedience. Not fear, not bargaining, but a response to great love.
In the midst of his suffering, the psalmist is hopeFULL and certain of God’s love that is great enough to carry him _through_ his ordeal. Because of this comfort (which God’s Word reminds us of all the time), the psalmist is hopeful, thankful and responsive to God’s Word.
Why do you read the Bible? Out of fear? An attempt to twist His arm with good behaviour? Because of a guilty conscience?
The best reason to read the Bible is because it helps you to grow in your understanding of the awesome the God who gave His Son to die for _you_.
2009-02-24 – “Benevolent Longevity”
Your Word O Lord is eternal
It stands firm in the heavens
Your faithfulness continues through all generations
You established the earth and it endures
Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve You. (Psalms119:89-91)
Jesus made it clear: He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfil it.
As Christians, forgiven of sin and born again, we tend to regard the Law as an “Old Testament Thing” that has lost all its relevance, but it is more accurate to see the whole of Scripture as part of the continuum of God’s faithful working with humankind since the beginning.
This is the psalmist’s point:
Just as God established the earth and causes it to endure,
just as God is faithful to generation after generation,
and just as all things serve God’s ultimate purposes in the world,
so His Word is our reliable guide and inspiration.
We could sum up the last paragraph by saying that God is the faithful God of creation, providence and eschatology (a theological word that really just means “where everything ultimately ends”)
We are quick to treat Scripture as “interesting history,” but it is “currently relevant,” “immediately applicable” and “vitally important” because it comes from the faithful God of Creation, Providence and Eschatology.
2009-02-27 – “Torchlight”
You Word is a Lamp to my feet
and a light to my path. (Psalms119:105)
Have you ever walked in the veld on a dark night with a torch?
We hiked the Fanie Botha Hiking Trail many years ago and at one of the overnight huts, the toilets were on the other side of a field. It was a moonless night and going to the loo meant a walk across this field which was being grazed by cows. A torch was essential if you didn’t want to put your foot in a cow patty!
But the light of a torch is limited, even more so as the batteries get weaker. I could only see a few meters ahead of me because of the mist and the weakness of the torchlight. To see more of the way ahead, I would have to take a few steps…
It was just as well I could not see all the way, because the cows had drifted back into the field during the night and halfway across I encountered a big old cow who was fortunately very much asleep, but I’m not so sure I would have started the journey if I had known what lay ahead!!
God’s Word gives us light for our feet and the path ahead. To see more requires that we move forward. Sometimes it’s part of God’s perfect plan that we can’t see everything ahead because we would probably be daunted.
It’s a one step at a time thing!
2009-03-04 – “Stable”
I hate double-minded men
but I love Your law! (Psalms119:113)
This section (113-120) sets up some interesting contrasts:
On the one side is God who is a refuge, a shield, a sustainer, a promise-keeper, a deliverer and a hope-preserver.
On the other side are double-minded men: Who stray and deceive and who will be discarded like dross for the vanity of their ways.
Why is the Psalmist not like them?
He offers the two step solution in vs.120:
-My flesh trembles in awe of You;
-I stand in awe of Your decrees.
God is to be worshipped, reverenced and respected. We obey God’s Law out of Gratitude for the Salvation we have in His name, but _also_ because we respect and reverence HIM.
When we are on the throne of our lives, we are self-referencing and double-minded. We are Unstable and Volatile people. We can come unstuck easily.
BUT, when we love God’s Word because we hold Him in high regard, we can become stable people. We can lose the double-mindedness and instability.
Our respect for God makes us take His Word seriously and His Word helps us to see Him even more clearly and respect Him even more. It’s an upward Spiral.
2009-03-05 – “The right heart attitude”
I am your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand Your statutes (Psalms119:125)
In this section (vv121-128) the Psalmist speaks about those who are oppressing him and about the temptation to walk a wrong path. The situation is getting desperate: His eyes are failing as he is looking for God’s salvation and he is longing for God’s promise.
In these desperate situations we often lose clarity and direction. Our ability to discern is often impeded and we can make poor judgement calls. So the psalmist sorts out his attitude and prays for discernment.
The attitude adjustment is to remind himself that he is a _servant_. Servants don’t “dimaaand” their rights.
Servants don’t always get to see the full picture.
Servants need to trust the Master.
Servants are ready to respond obediently.
Servants aren’t too stuck up about their dignity and their egos.
With the attitude sorted out, he prays for discernment:
The ability to apply Scripture’s wisdom to day to day life.
The ability to see between right and wrong.
The sensitivity to suss out motives and agendas.
Discernment grows through good exposure to Scripture.
The end result?
vs: 128 Because I consider all Your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.
2009-03-06 – “Panting Prayer after reading”
I open my mouth and pant,
longing for Your commands
Turn to me and have mercy on me
As You always do to those who love Your name
Direct my footsteps according to Your Word
Let no sin rule over me
Redeem me from the oppression of men
that I may obey Your precepts
Make Your face shine upon Your Servant
and teach me Your decrees. (Psalms119:131-135)
In this section of Psalm 119 the Psalmist recognises that God’s Word gives light and understanding (v129,130) and then describes something I have become familiar with: The more we read God’s Word the more we want it.
The psalmist describes it as panting, but it is not like the stamps that pimps coat with LSD so that kids become addicts unwittingly, but rather a conscious voluntary longing. The Psalmist reads and knows that the experience is good and longs for more.
Here we have what I like to call his “prayer after reading”
- Have mercy on me: Scripture reveals that God alone can save us.
- Direct my footsteps: The Word has shown the way, let me walk in it.
- Let no sin rule over me: Someone said “This Book will keep you from sin, but sin will keep you from this Book”
- Redeem me from the oppression of men: Resistance from men can discourage us greatly
- Make Your face shine on me: I struggle to stay motivated, please reassure me of Your presence and empowering.
This is a helpful prayer to pray after your daily reading!
2009-03-10 – “Zeal”
My zeal wears me out
for my enemies ignore Your words (Psalms119:139)
There are two threads in this section(137-144):
1. God’s righteousness and faithfulness is revealed in His word.
2. The psalmist feels very devoted to God’s Word.
At first glance it might seem strange to put these two thoughts together, but when one thinks about it for a while, it makes sense. There is a chain reaction here:
The more you know about God (and the best way to know Him is to read about Him in Scripture), the more you are likely to take risks in trusting Him. And when you trust in Him, the more you experience Him as a promise-keeper and deliverer, the more you want to know Him.
Or, maybe it was the other way round: If you’re in trouble and God rescues you, you will be more motivated to read His Word, and when you read His Word you are inspired by His promises to trust Him for something even bigger.
Whichever way it was for the Psalmist, the point is, by the end of the section we know two things:
1. He has a tried-and-tested hugely respectful relationship with God and
2. he has a deep love for God’s Word to the point that he considers those who ignore God’s Word to be his enemies.
This is not a vicious circle but a righteous one.
2009-03-12 – “Early and Late”
I rise before dawn and cry for help
I have put my hope in Your Word
My eyes stay open thru the watches of the night
That I may meditate on Your Promises (Psalms119:147-148)
Not many of us can stay up late and get up early. There are _some_ things that we are willing to “burn the candle at both ends” for. The Psalmist will do it for God’s Word.
He is in need of help. He is looking for answers. His enemies who devise wicked schemes are near and he is under pressure. He makes a decision to spend time with God’s Word. He chooses a lifestyle where he can begin and end each day with a reflection on God’s Word.
The idea of a “quiet time” – a time we set aside to read the Bible, reflect on it and pray – is not new. Throughout the centuries this discipline is has been seen as a fundamental to meaningful spiritual growth. These days of traffic, rush and scurry militate against our spending time with God like this, but as we find (make) time to eat and wash, we should be finding (making) time to read and reflect on God’s Word and talk to Him in prayer.
The Psalmist’s practice is helpful. He uses the parallels of morning and evening to highlight the basic framework. So,
Rise early and at night, keep your eyes open.
Cry for help, put your hope in the Word, meditate on the promises.
It does not need to take long – go for quality and not quantity. Once you get into it, you will be amazed at how refreshing it is to body and soul.
Over 25 years of following Christ, I have found a clear pattern: I become selfish, ineffective, unproductive and lack courage when I neglect the daily routine. But I grow spiritually, handle challenges better and am more of a blessing to others when I have a simple daily pray-read-meditate routine in place.
2009-03-13 – “Determined”
Many are the foes who persecute me,
but I have not turned from Your statutes. (Psalms119:157)
We’re at the Hebrew letter “Resh” in the strophes of this psalm about God’s Word where the 8 verses in each strophe start with the same letter in the sequence of Hebrew alphabet letters. (Only two more strophes to go!)
This section (153-160) is all about the Psalmist’s ongoing obedience and devotion to God’s Word even when he is being persecuted and threatened.
Even when he experiences opposition, oppression and attack, the psalmist reveals the following attitudes:
“I have not forgotten Your law”
I’m trusting Your promises
It’s the wicked who do not seek out Your decrees
“I have not turned from Your statutes”
The faithless do not obey Your word.
“I love Your precepts.”
“All Your words are true, all your righteous laws are eternal.”
Here is a man who is determined to stay close to God’s Word even in times of great challenge.
This brings us to the simple question:
“What does it take to keep you from your Bible?”
Unfortunately the honest answer often is…
not a lot…!
Let’s learn from the Psalmist.
2009-03-17 – “love or duty?”
Great peace have they who love Your law
and nothing can make them stumble. (Psalms119:165)
There is a difference in the things we do out of love when compared to the things that are just a duty.
In this stanza the psalmist repeatedly states his love for God’s Word.
* He rejoices in it like one who finds great treasure (v.162)
* He abhors falsehood and loves the law (v.163)
* He gives thanks for God’s Word 7 times a day. (v.164)(7 indicates completeness)
* He experiences great peace from God’s Word and as a result doesn’t stumble. (v.165)
* His love of the Word leads Him to obey it. (v.167)
We can love God’s Word as good literature and poetry and there are some scholars in universities who do this. But this is not the love the psalmist has. His love of the Word of God is based on the treasures of salvation, relationship and a closer walk with God, which are the results of His involvement with Scripture.
You can read the Bible out of a sense of duty, because Christians are supposed to read the Bible. Or you can read the Bible to expand your knowledge and unfortunately there are many who attend services and Bible Studies and write copious notes and accumulate masses of Bible knowledge, but their lives aren’t changing.
Jesus told of a man who found a treasure in a field and sold all he had to go for the treasure. When we engage Scripture with open expectant hearts, the bounty we find will change our lives and we will grow to love it like the psalmist did.
2009-03-18 – “A prayer afterward”
May my cry come before You O Lord
Give me understanding according to Your WORD
May my supplication come before You
Deliver me according to Your PROMISE
May my lips overflow with praise
for You teach me Your DECREES
May my tongue sing of Your WORD
for all Your COMMANDS are righteous
May Your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen Your PRECEPTS (Psalms119:169-173)
We’ve reached the last stanza of Psalm 119 (the letter “taw”.)
And I have a confession to make… The psalmist is braver than I am. I have stressed about sending you 22 eDevotions on just one topic. The psalmist’s poem is 22 stanzas times 8 verses each: a total of 176 verses on the value and importance of God’s Word. I was afraid that people would be saying “yes, yes we get it: God’s Word is important. Now move on!” The psalmist has relentlessly reflected, exhorted, prayed, admonished and set the example concerning God’s Word and the glory of the God who gives it to us.
Why? Because it’s important.
So, here in the closing stanza there’s one last prayer.
I think it’s a good prayer to pray after I’ve had my personal devotions:
Here’s my paraphrase:
- Help me apply what I’ve read (understanding)
- Help me to trust the promises You give me (supplication & promises)
- Let me speak and live for Your glory by living well (lips praise because Your decrees teach me)
- May obeying You be my song (tongue singing of Your righteous commands)
- Please help me as I walk in the path of Your precepts.
I think a summary is in order: The Psalmist is not a biblicist – he doesn’t worship the Bible – he worships God and wants to live for His glory. He sees Scripture as a vital inspiration on the path of knowing God. It reveals God’s character and guides our steps. He loves Scripture because it brings him closer to God.
Hope the series has been helpful and has been an inspiration or a nagging reminder that Christians are people of the Book for the Glory of God.