“The Word of God” is the theme for Hillsdale’s services this month as we study Psalm 119. In our church services we have noted the Supremacy of God’s Word (Psalm 119:1-24); the Study of God’s Word (Psalm 119:25-48); and thirdly, The Sufficiency of God’s Word (Psalm 119:49-72). It is the third point that is the focus of today’s devotional.
Every verse of Psalm 119:49-72 carry a direct reference to the Word of God. Seven different words describe parts of the whole we know as the scriptures. The “word(s)”, “thy law”, “thy statutes”, “thy precepts”, “thy judgments”, “thy commandments”, and “thy testimonies” together indicate the whole body of Scripture.
The “word” appears 6 times (119:49, 50, 57, 58, 65, 67) and is the literal spoken word of God or “commandment”. The “law” appears 6 times (119:51, 53, 55, 61, 70, 72) and refers to the “Torah” [God’s Laws, teachings, doctrines, and instructions] and the Pentateuch [the first five books of the Old Testament]. “Judgments” appears 2 times (119:52, 62) and refers to God’s ordinances, manner, commands, and rulings. They are God’s actions in governing mankind. “Statutes” appears 4 times (119:54, 64, 68, 71) and are God’s ordinances; decrees; laws and commands. God’s “precepts” are noted 3 times (119:56, 63, 69) and include the commandments, divine mandates and statutes. “Commandments” is mentioned 2 times (119:60, 66) and refer to God’s Law (Exodus 20:1-17), ordinances, and precepts that give us insight and discernment into the heart and will of God. Finally, “testimonies” appears 1 time (119:59). God’s testimonies are a witness and demonstration of God’s divine laws and manner in dealing with man (“testimonies” occurs 13 times in Psalm 119). Seven words, together they describe the whole body of Scripture.
The psalmist lists 24 spiritual benefits that are an incentive to those who study and meditate on God’s Word. I will limit today’s study to the first five benefits.
1) The Word of the LORD gives Hope. (119:49)
Psalm 119:49 – Remember [think about; meditate; declare] the word [commandments; sayings] unto thy servant, upon which (the Word) thou hast caused me to hope [wait; tarry; trust].
2) The Word of the LORD comforts and revives. (119:50)
Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort [consolation] in my affliction [depression; trouble; poverty]: for thy word [commandment] hath quickened [revived; sustain] me.
We are not told what afflictions the psalmist had suffered; however, he had found God’s Word to be a place of comfort and refreshing.
3) The Law of the LORD encourages Perseverance. (119:51)
Psalm 119:51 The proud [presumptuous; arrogant] have had me greatly [exceedingly; sore] in derision [scorn; mocking; scoffing]: yet have I not declined [turn away; pervert; bent] from thy law [“Torah”; Ten Commandments or Pentateuch; instructions].
The law not only states God’s will (Exodus 20:1-17), but also when loved and received, intensifies the believer’s resolve to obey God. The psalmist’s confidence in the law emboldened him in the midst of his enemies.
4) The judgments of the LORD convict. (119:52)
Psalm 119:52 I remembered [called to mind; meditate upon] thy judgments [ordinance; manner; charge] of old [ever; everlasting; eternity], O LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Eternal, Self-Existing God]; and have comforted [regret; consoled; repented] myself.
Unlike human law given to the influences of sin and corruption, God’s law is immutable, perfect, whole and complete. The psalmist remembered God is always just and does not trifle with sin. The Ten Commandments sum up in 10 short phrases what the laws of man cannot accomplish with thousands of laws and policies. God’s judgments in the past instructed the psalmist in God’s way.
Romans 15:4 – For whatsoever things were written aforetime [in the past] were written for our learning [instruction], that we through patience [longsuffering; endurance] and comfort of [drawn out of] the scriptures might have hope.
5) The Law of the LORD incites an intolerance of sin. (119:53)
Psalm 119:53 Horror [consuming anger; indignation] hath taken hold [seized; possessed] upon me because of the wicked [ungodly; immoral; evil men] that forsake [leave; refuse; abandon] thy law [“Torah”; Ten Commandments or Pentateuch; instructions].
We live in a strange day when professing Christians and churches have little tolerance for authoritative preaching. “Legalist!” is the label professing Christians hurl at preachers and believers that dare suggest taking the higher road and living a consecrated, holy life unto God and separate from sin (Romans 12:1-2). The psalmist felt “horror”, a consuming anger and indignation toward the ungodliness of the wicked. The “Law” had inspired strong convictions and righteous living in the man of God.
My friend, a lack of conviction is not a sign of grace and spiritual maturity; it is indicative of spiritual immaturity and a gross ignorance of God’s Law.
Hebrews 5:14 – “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
We will continue our study of spiritual benefits from the study of God’s Word tomorrow.
Copyright – Travis D. Smith