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.
Vau (Waw) – Walking and Talking
Please read Psalm 119:41-48 for the background to this section.
We hear several voices in this section, and it begins with God speaking to us. He does this, of course, as we read His Word and meditate on it. He speaks in love and in mercy, and even the warnings come from His compassionate heart. The Word of God is the expression of the love of God to us (Psalm 33:11) and it should result in love from our hearts to the Lord, to His people, and to the lost. God’s Word shares God’s promises, and promises always imply future hope. Scripture is the “word of all His good promise” (1 Kings 8:56), and all His promises have their realization in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). The Scriptures are also “the word of this salvation” (Acts 13:26), for the Word declares that Jesus is the only Savior and we can trust in Him. What a wonder that God has spoken to us! (Hebrews 1:1–2). Are we listening?
But while God is speaking, the enemy is also speaking. We have learned that the writer of this psalm was oppressed by enemies who lied about him, slandered his name, and even threatened his life. Our main weapon against these attacks is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), for only God’s truth can silence the devil’s lies (Matthew 4:1–11). We need God’s truth in our hearts, not only to keep us from sin, but also to equip us to answer those who oppose us or ask us why we believe as we do (1 Peter 3:15).
God’s people speak to the Lord. Like Nehemiah, we can send up “telegraph prayers” to the Lord right in the midst of our work and our battles (Nehemiah 2:5; 4:4; 5:19; 6:9, 14; 13:14, 22, 31). When we are confronted by the enemy, the Lord will not give us words we have never pondered from the Scriptures, but His Spirit can remind us of what we have read and learned (John 14:25–26). The writer connected God’s Word with his mouth, because the word “meditate” in the Hebrew means “to mutter.” The ancient Jews spoke the Word audibly as they meditated and prayed (Joshua 1:8).
Our lives speak for the Lord. But only if our “walk” agrees with our “talk.” The best defense of the faith is a transformed life that is compassionate toward others. Our obedience to the Lord and our loving ministry to others (Matthew 5:13–16) demonstrates the reality of our faith far better than anything else. Because we know and obey “the word of truth,” we are able to enjoy freedom from the bondage of sin, for it is the truth that makes us free (John 8:32; James 1:25; 2:12).
God’s people speak to others. If we truly love God and His Word, we will not be ashamed to share the Word even with important people like kings (see also Romans 1:16; Philippians 1:20; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:15; 1 Peter 4:16). When we delight in the Word, love it, and obey it, sharing the message with others comes naturally. To witness means to tell others what we have seen and heard concerning Jesus Christ (Acts 4:20) and what He has done for us. A satisfied Christian is an awesome witness whose testimony God can use to convict and convert others. We do not worship the Bible but we do honor God’s Word and lift our hands to the Lord in praise and thanksgiving for His gift. In many churches, the entire congregation stands when the Scriptures are brought in and publicly read. (See Psalms 28:2, 63:4, 134:2 and 141:2.)
The basic Christian virtues (1 Corinthians 13:13) are seen in those who live by God’s Word: faith, hope, and love as the psalmist writes. Love is mentioned three times because “the greatest of these is love.” (On loving God and His Word, see throughout Psalm 119 and also 1 Timothy 1:5).
To Be Continued