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.
Teth – God Is Good, All the Time
Please read Psalm 119:65-72 for the background to this section.
The emphasis in this psalm is on what is good in the life of the believer. The Hebrew word tob is used six times in these eight verses and can be translated good, pleasant, beneficial, precious, delightful, and right. God does what is good because God is good and because what He does is “according to his word” and His Word, His “judgments” are good. Neither His character nor His Word will ever change, so, “God is good all the time.”
God does what is good. The phrase “according to” is used frequently in Psalm 119 to relate a request or a fact to the Word of God. God acts according to the precepts, promises, and principles revealed in His Word, and we should pray and act accordingly. To ask God for something that is not according to His will and His Word is to ask ignorantly and selfishly (James 4:3), and if He gives the request to us, we will be sorry and wish we had not prayed. This happened to Israel when they asked God for flesh to eat (Psalm 106:15; Numbers 11:31–35). Therefore, we should pray the prayer of verse 66, “teach me good judgment and knowledge,” for the better we know God’s Word, the better we can pray in God’s will and obey God’s will.
God overrules evil and from it brings good. The psalmist had disobeyed the Word and gone astray. His sin was probably not a flagrant act of rebellion but of ignorance (Leviticus 5:17–19; Numbers 15:28), and God in His love sent affliction to discipline him (Hebrews 12:1–11). At the time, this discipline was not pleasant, but it brought God’s servant back to the place of obedience, so it was worth it. However, there are times when we are obedient and we still experience suffering, but God uses that suffering to mature us and teach us His Word. Spurgeon said that the promises of God shine the brightest in the furnace of affliction. There are times when suffering comes from the enemies of God, whose hearts are insensible (“covered with fat”; Psalms 17:10; 73:7), but the Lord can even use godless opposition for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 1:6–9 and 4:12–19). The most evil act ever performed on this earth was the crucifixion of the Lord of Glory on a cross, yet God used that to bring His salvation to the world.
God uses the Word to show us good. The word “better” (or “precious” in the NIV), is the Hebrew word, tob. This is the second time in the psalm that the writer has compared God’s truth to treasure, and he will use this image again in verses 127 and 162. David used it in Psalm 19:10. The person of faith does not live by the priorities and values of the world (Hebrew 11:24–27) but puts the will of God ahead of everything else. When we find the good treasures of truth in the precious Word of God, we rejoice in the goodness of the Lord and have no desire to wallow in the things of this world. No matter what our situation may be, we can affirm from our hearts, “God is good—all the time!”
To Be Continued