God’s Word – Blessings for Obedience, Cleansing and Purity Through Meditation, and Discernment for Direction
[“AUTHOR. We believe that David wrote this Psalm. It is Davidic in tone and expression, and it tallies with David’s experience in many interesting points. In our youth our teacher called it “David’s pocket book”, and we incline to the opinion then expressed that here we have the royal diary written at various times throughout a long life. After long reading an author one gets to know his style, and a measure of discernment is acquired by which his composition is detected even if his name be concealed; we feel a kind of critical certainty that the hand of David is in this thing, yea, that it is altogether his own. SUBJECT. The one theme is the word of the Lord. The Psalmist sets his subject in many lights, and treats of it in divers ways, but he seldom omits to mention the word of the Lord in each verse under some one or other of the many names by which he knows it; and even if the name be not there, the subject is still heartily pursued in every stanza. He who wrote this wonderful song was saturated with those books of Scripture which he possessed. Like Luther, David had shaken every fruit tree in God’s garden, and gathered golden fruit therefrom.”] http://www.ewordtoday.com/comments/spurgeon/psalm119intro.htm
Notice how David goes back and forth between exhortation, affirmation and prayers to God. We need to speak and teach the Word to both ourselves and to others and pray God’s Word back to Him.
1. “How blessed are those whose way is blameless (undefiled), who walk in (keep) the law of the Lord.
2. How blessed are those who observe (obey) His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart.” Paul said the same in Romans 7:22: “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law.” We all seek happiness (blessedness) and God’s Word tells us how to find it. But it is not the Word of God in itself that blesses us, but Who the Word reveals to us as we obey it, as we seek to know God with all our heart.
3. “They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways.
4. You have ordained Your precepts that we should keep them diligently.” David is saying that those who want to know God seek to avoid sin by walking in God’s ways, which is the best way to avoid sin. In verse 4 he begins to exhort himself to keep God’s Word diligently. Many a good business man is diligent in doing business to find his happiness but is not so diligent in keeping God’s Word which leads to true happiness.
5. “Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes!
6. Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon all Your commandments.” Now David prays for God’s grace to empower him to do what he longs to do but is weak in his natural man to do so. Paul did likewise at the end of his lament of how weak and sinful he was apart from the indwelling Holy Spirit sent by Jesus when He ascended to God’s throne. (See Romans 7-8) Though we are not condemned by God when we sin as believers (Rom. 8:1) we feel conviction when we grieve the Holy Spirit which leads us to repentance and restoration of sweet fellowship with our Lord.
7. “I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn (while I’m learning) Your righteous judgments.
8. I shall keep Your statutes; Do not forsake me utterly!” David now moves from prayers of petition to prayers of praise to God for empowering him to learn (obey) His Word. And then resolves to do his best to keep God’s Word. We see this Divine/human collaboration in Philippians 2:12-13. We exercise our will while praying and expecting God’s power to enable us to do His good will. Yet David ends with yet another petition for God’s constant presence, knowing without Him we can do nothing. (John 15:5)
9. ”How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.
10. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.” The King James says, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” This implies he has already sinned and needs cleansing from it. God’s Word tells us both how to avoid sin and how to be cleansed from it when we sin. “If we claim to have fellowship with him (God) yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:6-9) Keeping short accounts with God through daily confessions of sins of commission and omission is how we stay cleansed and enjoy close fellowship with the Father. David once again expresses his passionate desire to know the Lord and his plea for His power to keep him on the narrow road that leads to life. Now David shows us how to avoid sin and thus the need of cleansing from it:
11.“Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.
12. Blessed are You, O Lord; Teach me Your statutes.” David shows both his affection for God and His Word (a treasure) and where to place it to avoid sin – in his heart. And then prays for God Himself to be his teacher.
13. ”With my lips I have told of all the ordinances of Your mouth.
14. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.” When we truly delight in God’s Word because it blesses us and brings us great joy (even more than riches) we cannot help but tell others about Him and His Word.
15. “I will meditate on Your precepts and regard (pay attention to) Your ways.
16. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.” Note that delight in God’s Word follows meditation on it. We see this in the opening psalm of the psalter: “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2) One of the meanings for meditate is “muse” and a recent book spoke of how Americans are “amusing” themselves to death through entertainment. A-muse means to not muse or in this case to not meditate on God’s Word which brought David and many others in the Bible great and lasting delight.
17. “Deal bountifully with Your servant (let’s not forget our position), that I may live and keep Your word (not that I may have bountiful material possessions).” Paul said to live is to live for Christ and His purposes and glory (Phil. 1:21).
18.“Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.” David had only the Old Testament and wanted to see all the wonderful truths about God there and today we have the full gospel and the indwelling Holy Spirit and the clear promises of heaven. How much more we can see and know about our great God today and should thus pray with even more fervor and expectation about the wonderful things of God. Yet we really cannot “see” these truths without God’s grace and the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit. (See Eph. 1:17-19)
19. “I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me.” David prays again for spiritual enlightenment, that God would enable him to see the truths in His Word as he journeys as a pilgrim and alien in the world he does not belong to. If we hide God’s Word in our hearts (v.11) and meditate on it (v.15) God will be sure to show us the path of life (v.105).
20. “My soul is crushed with longing after Your ordinances at all times.” A great test of a man’s character and what he will become is his deep longings and desires. Jesus says the blessed man is the one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, and He promises true soul satisfaction for those who do. (Matt. 5:6) May we pray for the grace to hunger and thirst for increasing likeness to Jesus Christ. (See Moses’ desires, Heb. 11:24-26)
21. “ You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, who wander from Your commandments.” From Pharaoh to Nebuchadnezzar, from Hitler to Huessein, to proud men of all times, God has and will rebuke them. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
“Take away reproach (slander) and contempt (being despised) from me, for I observe (obey) Your testimonies.” If we are right with God (obeying His testimonies) He will ultimately uphold our case. Yet if there is even a bit of truth in the accusation, we are wise to ask God (and others) to show us the speck in our eyes. Paul said he tried to keep a clear conscience before God and man. (Acts 24:16)
“Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes. 24:Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors.” David sat with his Bible and sat under God’s Word and counsel while the unsaved royalty sat together and conspired against him. John Bunyan sat in a prison cell for years because he preached the true gospel but as he did he sat under God’s Word and wrote Pilgrim’s Progress (the second best-selling book to the number one selling book – the Bible). Jesus submitted to the Father’s will and went to the cross because “the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and they planned together to kill Him. (John 11:47, 53). But He rose again and one day “every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:10-11)
And though this world with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us;
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for him
His rage we can endure
For lo! His doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
A Mighty Fortress is Our God – By Martin Luther Translation: Fredrick H. Hedge (1805-1890)
“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND APPLICATION
1. What is your main take away from the message and how can you apply it to your life?
2. Read through these 24 verses in preparation for our table discussion and share which one(s) means the most to you and why.
3. “Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes!” David spoke the Word of God to himself and others as well as to God as we see him praying what the Holy Spirit inspired him to write. How can we incorporate this into our prayer life?
4. Would you say God’s Word is a “treasure” to you and means more to you than riches as David said? If someone promised you a million dollars to meet with him every day for fifteen minutes for a year would you be able to find the time? The entire Bible can be read in fifteen minutes a day and doing so would make us “spiritually rich” yet there are very few takers. Why do you think this is so?
5. “I will meditate on Your precepts and regard (pay attention to) Your ways.16 I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.” One of the meanings for meditate is “muse” and a recent book spoke of how Americans are “amusing” themselves to death through entertainment. A-muse means to not muse or in this case to not meditate on God’s Word which brought David and many others in the Bible great and lasting delight. How can we avoid “a-musing ourselves to death” as many Americans are doing?
6. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.” Read Ephesians 1:17-19 and discuss what Paul prayed that we might “see” in God’s Word. Which of these promises excites you the most?
7. “My soul is crushed with longing after Your ordinances at all times.” A great test of a man’s character and what he will become is his deep longings and desires. How can we increase the intensity of our desires for God and His Word?