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The place God's Word is to have in a persons life
Psalm 119

This morning we are going to tackle/stroll thru/touch on Psalm 119

-Longest Psalm in the Bible
-A Psalm of prayer, praise, reflection, lament, commitment, confession, instruction
-Focused on the beauty, majesty, and joy of the Word of God and the joy of having a relationship with Him. For me this was a neat discovery of our text -- the emphasis on being in relationship with God
-While focused on the Word of God -referred to in a variety of ways; i.e decrees, Law, statutes, precepts, commands - the author (probably David) illustrates how all of life connects to the Word and how being committed to obeying God's Word will help you through every situation, not matter how tough
-Another neat feature of our text is that it is an acrostic fashioned on the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter receives 8 stanzas/verses, each stanza beginning with particular letter at hand. This is pretty amazing.
-A big takeaway application of reading Psalm 119 is that we might be found regularly in the Word of God- seeking to know Him, His will, being found obedient to His ways.


Rather than read all the verses of Psalm 119, lets begin by reading v.1-16 and then jump to v.169-176. After that we'll do a walk thru of sorts, touching on a variety of verses that grabbed my attention this week as I was preparing.

Read Psalm 119: 1-16, 169-176

Note v.9-10, 37

Note also from v.169-176 the intent of David's heart

-He's asking God for help and deliverance
-He's seeking the blessing of v.1-2
-He's affirming his commitment to God
-He's affirming his commitment to be found walking according to the commands of God
-He's rejoicing in God and His Word
-He's expressing his desire to be found true to God
-He's confessing that the struggle in following and obeying the Lord is a real one that all to often he fails at (v.5, v.176)


PRINCIPLES, APPLICATIONS, LESSONS OF THE TEXT

1. There is a blessing for those who commit their way to God and to obeying Him See v.1-2

v.1-2 "Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart....... v.5 "Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!"

Note the affirmation: There is a blessing for those who who commit their way to God and to obeying His Word

Obedience to God brings blessing- peace of mind, assurance, some material blessings, treasure in Heaven, joy.

In James 1:22 it says; "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

Over and over again in Psalm 119 David talks about his commitment and desire to obey God's decrees, laws, precepts, statutes, commands. i.e v.8,17,44,56,60 etc

Note:

We do not obey that we might be saved-- this is impossible. It is impossible for us who are sinners to perfectly keep God's laws. Jesus is the only one who kept God's laws perfectly-- because he is sinless.

We look at God's Word and his commands and we say "The commands are read reflect the holiness of God. The commands of God reflect His will for my life. I want to please God. I want the blessings of God. I want to be a holy person"

1 John 5:3 "In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,"

2. Because of our struggle with sin we need Christ's strength to obey the LORD and live a holy life. See v.5, 176 and Romans 7:14-25

"Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!" "Lost sheep"

Though we have God's holy standards, we have a problem - our hearts are prone to wonder, we are sinners who need a Savior.

David speaks of a subject we know full well-- obeying God, even when the desire is in our hearts is hard.

David's image of being a lost sheep is particularly apt- for Christ is the Good Shepherd and we who are his followers are his sheep. Because he loves us, he comes looking for us to bring us back to the safety of the fold.

As is regards our struggle with our relation to God's law and our struggle with sin, the Apostle Paul picks this up in Romans 7:14-25a

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Note how Paul concludes- His hope is in Jesus Christ! His hope is in Jesus who while we were yet sinners, died for us as a once for all sacrifice. Our only hope is Jesus. Christ living in us, fitting us for Heaven


3. To figure out God's Word and how He wants us to live, we need to ask God for help that we might rightly divide and interpret His Word v.17-18, 27, etc

"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me."

As for insight, understanding, and rightly dividing the Word of God, Jesus says to us in John 14:26 "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

For our benefit as the body of Christ, the Lord, by the Spirit, has also gifted some people with the gift of teaching.

4. Wisdom and insight is a great benefit of immersing ourselves in the Word of God v.98-100

"Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. 100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts."

Want to know how to live? How to answer a persons ethical questions? How to raise your children? How to relate to your parents? What to do with your money? Read the Bible with a heart that says; "I will obey the Word of the Lord. I want the mind of Christ"

Conversely: Garbage in, garbage out


5. Our approach to God's Word is important. Approach the Word as if you can't live without it and it is what it is - The greatest book on earth.

Note what David says in v.12-16 "Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word."

David is pumped. The Bible is not dry or boring or tedious. It's exciting. It's comforting. It's convicting. It brings joy. It brings life- for it leads us to Christ-- for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

When David says the Bible is not boring, he's not lying. True, some find it boring but when you commit and when you say "This is the Word of God, there is a treasure here for me, I just need to find it, I need help seeing it" then you're in the zone and you will be blessed.

Note also the role of Scripture memory and meditation in the life of believer*** Our spiritual health is enhanced when we put God's word in our hearts.


6. Being committed to Christ and His Word will mean some temporary hardships and persecution

Note what is said in v.21-24 "My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed, those who stray from your commands. Remove from me their scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes. Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors"

Note also v.50-53 "My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law. I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them. Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law."

Opposition for living a life committed to Christ is part of our calling. We are not to be ashamed. We are not to shrink back. At all times we are to remind ourselves who are provider is, who our hope is in, where our future is, and who is our King

In 2 Timothy 3:12 it says; "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,'

Remember also: At one time we to were in a state of open rebellion against God. Those who hate now may yet come to Christ- we need to love them, loving our enemies is our calling.


7. We must not forget what the end goal of having, studying, knowing, doing the Word of God is: To know Christ.

In John 17:3 Jesus says; "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."

Woven throughout Psalm 119 is the thread of being in relationship with God- as his willing servant, as a sheep of his flock, as one who delights in Him and His ways. Following God is not about legalism, its not about trying to earn salvation, it's about a two way RELATIONSHIP entered into by FAITH.

The call of the Scriptures is to believe in Jesus Christ. To believe in the One He has sent. To be reconciled to God.

The great provision of God, the greatest expression of God's love for us was to provide the means and way for us to be in relationship with Him- Jesus Christ and his once for all sacrifice on the cross.

As the followers of Jesus, we are to be like David, strive to obey God, not externally, not because we have to, but from the heart, because we want to, as an act of gratitude and love on our parts.