Today’s reading: Psalm 119:1-88.
Psalm 119 is all about the benefits of God’s law (all of God’s word, not just the rules and regulations). The fact that this is the longest chapter in the Bible is confirmation of the importance of God’s word. Let’s look at a few of the verses from the first half of the Psalm.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
This verse underlines the value of scripture memorization. When we have God’s word at the ready, in our heart and close at hand, it becomes a powerful tool we can use to battle temptation and make wise choices.
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. Psalm 119:18
God’s word is full of wonderful things, but we often fail to see them. We need the Holy Spirit to help us understand scripture. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14). To really learn from God’s word, we need to Hear it, Examine it (read it), Analyze it (study it), Remember it (memorize it), and Think about it (meditate on it). When we do all this and also apply it in our lives, then we have God’s word in our HEART and hands (Masterlife presentation by Avery Willis).
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. Psalm 119:32
People like to complain that God’s rules are too restrictive, when actually his law frees us from the chains of sin so that we can be truly free. I like the illustration about the caution or warning signs on the highway. They are there to keep you safe and allow you the freedom to drive where you want to go. Ignore them and you may end up in a wreck or worse.
It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. Psalm 119:71
Many of us learn our best lessons in the school of hard knocks. It’s okay to live and learn, but wouldn’t you rather learn and live? If we learn from God’s wisdom, and obey it, we can save ourselves a lot of grief and pain. Paul said the law was his teacher, showing him his sinfulness and need for a savior. Praise God for his grace that allows even our suffering to bring us to salvation.
My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?” Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees. Psalm 119:82-83
Here’s a challenge for us all. God’s word is true, but in the pinch of pressure we may lose patience and begin to doubt his promises. The Psalmist exhorts us to hold on to God’s word, neither forgetting his promises or losing faith in them.
Here is the best thing, “thy word”; hidden in the best place, “in my heart;” for the best of purposes, “that I might not sin against thee.” This was done by the Psalmist with personal care, as a man carefully hides away his money when he fears thieves; in this case the thief dreaded was sin. Sinning “against God” is the believer’s view of moral evil; other men care only when they offend against men. God’s word is the best preventive against offending God, for it tells us his mind and will, and tends to bring our spirit into conformity with the divine Spirit. No cure for sin in the life is equal to the word in the seat of life, which is the heart. There is no hiding from sin unless we hide the truth in our souls. Charles Spurgeon