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.
Nun – We Will Be Faithful
Please read Psalm 119:105-112 for the background to this section.
It has well been said that the greatest ability is dependability, and this especially applies to the Christian life. We want God to be faithful to us, so is it wrong for God to expect us to be faithful to Him? Faithfulness is an evidence of faith, and faith comes from hearing and receiving the Word of God (Romans 10:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). The psalmist described several areas of faithfulness in the life of the believer.
Faithful feet. Two familiar biblical images combine in this verse: life is a path (Psalms 16:11; 23:3; 25:4) and God’s Word is the light that helps us follow the right path (Psalms 18:28; 19:8; 36:9; 43:3; Proverbs 6:23; 2 Peter 1:19). The ancient world did not have lights such as we have today; the people carried little clay dishes containing oil, and the light illuminated the path only one step ahead. We do not see the whole route at one time, for we walk by faith when we follow the Word. Each act of obedience shows us the next step, and eventually we arrive at the appointed destination. We are told that this is “an enlightened age,” but we live in a dark world (John 1:5; 3:19; 8:12; 12:46; Colossians 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9) and only God’s light can guide us aright. Obedience to the Word keeps us walking in the light (1 John 1:5–10).
Faithful words. Making vows constantly to the Lord will not lift us to the highest levels of Christian living (Romans 7:14–8:4), but when we do make promises to the Lord or to our friends, we should keep them (Matthew 5:33–37; Numbers 30:2; Deuteronomy 23:21; Ecclesiastes 5:1–7). The Holy Spirit can help us fulfill new resolutions if we depend on His power. What we say when we are praying should also be truthful. To talk to God piously without being willing to obey Him in the matters we are praying about is to bring hypocrisy into our fellowship with God. After we have prayed, are we available to be a part of the answer (Ephesians 3:20–21)? Perhaps the highest use of speech is in the worship of the Lord, and we must see our words as sacrifices offered to the Lord (Hosea 14:1–2; Hebrews 13:15). Do we sing to Him from the heart (Ephesians 5:19)? Do we mean the words that we pray, sing, and read aloud from the litany? If worship is the highest use of words, then to be careless in worship is to commit a great sin.
A faithful memory. The Old Testament believer did not have a pocket Bible that he could consult at will, for the Scriptures were written on large scrolls and deposited with the priests. This meant that the people had to listen carefully to the public reading of the Word and remember what they heard, an art that has almost vanished today. One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to bring God’s Word to our remembrance when we need it (John 14:25–26; 16:12–15), but we cannot remember what we have never heard and learned (see also Hebrews 5:12–14). The psalmist was taking risks, just as we all do as we walk through the mine fields of this world, but he knew the Word would direct him.
A faithful heart. What a precious treasure is the Word of God! (See Psalm 61:5). It is like a deep mine, filled with gold, silver, and precious gems, and we must take time to “dig” for these treasures (Proverbs 2:1–9; 3:13–15; 8:10–11; 1 Corinthians 3:9–23). A mere surface reading of Scripture will not put spiritual treasure into our hearts. Mining treasure is hard work, but it is joyful work when we “mine” the Bible, as the Spirit guides us into truth. Then, the Spirit helps us to “mint” the treasure so we can invest it in our lives (obedience) and in the lives of others (witness). Sometimes God takes us through the furnace of suffering so we can better receive the treasure into our own lives (1 Peter 1:6–12). The Word needs no purifying (Psalms 12:6; 19:8), but we need to be cleansed so we can appreciate God’s truth and appropriate it. Once your heart is set on obeying the Word, the life is on the right course (Matthew 6:33; Proverbs 4:20–27).
To Be Continued