Read His Words Before Ours!
God awakened me to the life-giving nature of His Word during a low season physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. My journey to wholeness and healing involved a combination of common graces such as food, exercise, medication, friendships, counseling, and sleep. However, the foundational truth God showed me is that His Word is my very life.
Far from being a band-aid, His Word became a soul-companion
walking with me through challenge, pain, difficulty,
temptation, joy, blessing, and doubt.
Index cards of truth were stashed in my purse,
providing a quick intake of truth while waiting in the check-out line.
Songs of truth were kept in the car for long drives, defending my mind against preoccupation with lies or despair.
Settling into a daily reading plan of His Word with purpose and intention was transforming into a lifeline, and not just something to check off.
Reading the Scriptures and thoughtfully meditating on them made me want more.
I tasted and saw through His Word, that God is good, (Psalm 34:8).
The author of Psalm 119 takes us along his own journey of tasting and seeing (verse 103), in his tribute to God’s Word. He wants us to understand that to encounter the One true God, we must turn to His own Words for life.
HIS WORD IS TRUTH
The psalmist uses all kinds of language throughout the chapter to affirm his position on God’s Word. However, when verse 160 comes around toward the end, it acts much like a thesis declaring, “The sum of Your Word is truth”.
God’s Word is the standard and plumb line (Isaiah 28:17). It tells me what is true, and brings clarity when I’m foggy, tempted, confused or simply ignorant. In a complimentary way, Psalm 107 gives a dramatic look at the war being waged in the heart of one seeking out truth in the wrong places. When the people finally “cried to the Lord in their trouble”, “He sent out his word and healed them” (verse 19-20).
HIS WORD IS PROTECTION
The instructions of God are guardrails on a dangerously high bridge, like boundaries on a forest trail and bright lines on a busy highway. The psalmist pleads in verses 9-11, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Verse 133 similarly says, “Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me”
I’m so grateful for the psalmist’s example!
He’s honest about our frail human nature easily lured away and deceived by sin. Obeying God’s Word is not a badge for the pious – no! It’s a weapon for the one who understands their capacity to sin, and clings to the Word to guard her heart (verse 176)!
HIS WORD GIVES HOPE
Consider how the psalmist conveys hope in God’s Word:
“Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” (verses 49-50)
“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction” (verse 92)
“You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.” (verse 114)
God intends our suffering to drive us to Him, His Word, and lean on His promises.
Psalm 143 exemplifies how David’s suffering sent him running to God and clinging to the promises in His Word. Our suffering may come by evil hands or hearts, but affliction teaches and points us to the unwavering character of God (119:71).
Humility Asks for Help
Knowing the value of God’s Word is critical, but a humble position is prerequisite to even this. Over and over the psalmist asks for help to see, understand and keep God’s law. Yes, he declares trust in and belief that God’s Word is perfect, yet in the same breath,
he asks for help to keep believing and following it.
Plenty of times! (verses: 12, 17, 27, 34, 36-37, 43, 66, 73,117, 135,169).
This carries the same posture of the father in Mark 9:24 who says, “I believe, help my unbelief!”
How comforting it is to know that we can
firmly declare truth while acknowledging we have not arrived at perfection.
We do not yet fully believe all we should,
and we need His constant help to keep believing and walking in God’s ways.
When we rightly see ourselves in great need, and see God for who He is, Majestic King, Compassionate Shepherd, and Mighty Lord, we will respond with praise and exaltation.
We see a beautiful example of this in the completion of the Psalms in chapters 146-150, (written for the dedication of the second temple.)
Just as the author of Psalm 119 consistently declares,
let us also taste and see God’s Word as our very life.
Not for a badge, but for a vision of who God is and what is true.
This will propel our hearts and lives to cry out,
“Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
praise Him according to His excellent greatness!” (Psalm 150:2)
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!