Scripture Text – Psalm 119
The emphasis in this the longest psalm, and the basic theme, is on the vital ministry and practical use of the Word of God in the inner spiritual life of God’s children. It describes how the Word enables us to grow in holiness and handle the persecutions and pressures that always accompany an obedient walk of faith.
The Word of God performs many wonderful ministries in the life of the devoted believer. If we delight in His Word, learn it, treasure it within, and obey what it says, the Lord will work in us and through us to accomplish great things for His glory! Circumstances may change, but God and His Word remain the same.
He – Ending Well
Please read Psalm 119:33-40 for the background to this section.
Paul (2 Timothy 4:6–8) and Jesus (John 17:4) both ended well, to the glory of God, but not every believer achieves that coveted goal. A good beginning ought to lead to a good ending, but that is not always the case. Lot, Samson, King Saul, Ahithophel, and Demas all made good beginnings, but their lives ended in tragedy. The psalmist wanted to end well, but ending well is the consequence of living well. What are the essentials for a consistent life that ends well?
Learning (verses 33–34). We must pray for spiritual enlightenment so we may learn God’s Word and the way of His Word. It is not enough to read the Bible, outline the books, get answers to questions, and be able to discuss theology. We must come to understand the character of God and the workings of His providence (See Psalms 27:11; 86:11; 103:7). Just as children come to understand the character of their parents and what pleases them, so we must get to know God better and discern His desires. We have a complete revelation of the Lord and His will in the Scriptures, but we need inner illumination to discover what it means to our own lives. Our prayer “Teach me” must be balanced with “Give me understanding,” and both must lead to obedience.
Obeying (verse 35). What we learn with our mind and apprehend with our heart must motivate the will to do what God commands. But our obedience cannot be that of a slave obeying a master in order to avoid discipline. It must be the obedience of a grateful child who delights to please his or her parents. “Doing the will of God from the heart.” – Ephesians 6:6. This was the way Jesus obeyed His Father: “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.” – Psalm 40:8. “I always do those things that please Him.” – John 8:29. If we want to know God’s truth, we must be willing to obey God’s will (John 7:17).
Delighting (verses 36–37). These verses warn us that our hearts and minds (“eyes”) must be focused on the truth of God and not material wealth and the vanities of the world. Outlook determines outcome. Abraham looked for the heavenly city and ended well; Lot looked at Sodom and ended badly (Genesis 13; Hebrews 11:8–16). What the heart loves and desires, the eyes will see (Psalm 101:2–6; Numbers 15:37–41; Jeremiah 22:17). To have one eye on the world and the other on the Word is to be double-minded, and God can not and does not bless double-minded people (James 1:5–8).
Fearing (verses 38–39). The fear (awe and reverent fear) of the Lord is the fear that conquers every fear. The fear of man is the fear that leads to bondage and defeat (Proverb 29:25). The psalmist was not afraid of his enemies; he was afraid of disgracing the Lord and bringing dishonor to His great name. The psalmist claimed the promises of God and trusted God to deal with his enemies; for we live on promises, not explanations. Our faith is tested by the promises of God and our faithfulness is tested by the precepts of God, and both are important. It is not our promises to Him but rather, His promises to us that really count.
Longing (verse 40). To have a deep longing for God’s truth is the mark of a maturing believer. His soul was “consumed with longing” (verse 20 NIV), so much so that he even “panted” for God’s commands (verse 131). He longed for the day when God’s salvation would be revealed (see Romans 8:18–23). Meanwhile, his longing was satisfied by the living Word of God, which is the believer’s honey (verse 103), bread (Matthew 4:4), milk, and solid food (1 Corinthians 3:1–3; Hebrews 5:12–14; 1 Peter 2:1–3).
To Be Continued