THE BIBLE SPEAKS TO INDIVIDUALS
Through the Scriptures, God speaks to us.
Golden Text- Psalm 119:98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
About 1/3 of the world’s population are nominally identified as Christians, and most of these individuals could testify that God has spoken to them through His Word, the Bible. Because the Bible is God’s Word, as individuals we need to learn the Bible, study and meditate on the Bible, and put its truths into practice in our lives. Five centuries ago, reformers and Bible translators sacrificed much to see to it that copies of the Bible were made accessible to people in their own language. Access to the Bible for individuals is no less important now than it has ever been, because “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalm 19:7).
GOD’S WORD FORMS US
A. The Life Blessed By God
Psalm 1 contrasts two kinds of people. Each group has a distinct set of life principles in relation to God: (1) Those who love God and what his Word says is right are called “the righteous” in vs. 5-6. They separate themselves from the beliefs and behaviors that may be common in the world but are offensive to God. (2) This who follow beliefs and behaviors that defy God and reject God’s Word are called “the ungodly”. God knows and blesses those who follow him, but the ungodly have no part in God’s kingdom (1 Cor. 6:9) and will perish (vs. 6) The distinction between these two kinds of people will always exist, and the separation between them will continue into eternity. The freedom of choice to accept or reject the opportunity God has provided to renew our broken relationship with him determines which group a person belongs to.
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Here we see the distinctions between “the righteous” and “the ungodly”. The righteous will choose to trust God and follow his ways, while the ungodly will trust the arm of the flesh.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Here the “law of the Lord” could also be interpreted as the “Word of God”. The righteous’ joy will be found in the Word of God. To be righteous is more than not doing bad things or chosing to not do the things of the world. To be righteous is to have a heart that delights in and builds their life upon the Word of God.
The word “meditate” here comes from a Hebrew word that means to ponder the subject at hand by speaking to ones self in thought about it. Pondering usually means thinking about the significance of something quietly, soberly, and deeply. Obviously, the purpose in meditating on the Word of God is not only to understand what it means but how it may be applied to one’s own life. We receive blessing from God by understanding and applying God’s Word.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
In the Bible water often represents the Spirit of God. Here the verse is telling us that the person that finds joy and delights themselves in the Word of God will be like a tree that is planted by the water. So, when we spend time in the Word we will receive the spiritual refreshments that we need to become rooted in Christ, just as a tree that is planted by the water. The refreshing of the spirit, through the Word, will begin to produce spiritual fruit in our life. As long as we are rooted in the Word and walking in the spirit “the leaf will not whither, and whatsoever we do shall prosper”. This is the blessing of God.
B. The Life Not Blessed
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
The chaff is considered the worthless husks and trash from the grain that is easily blown away by the wind. The chaff has nothing to hold onto and it does not have roots in anything. The person who does not root himself in the word will be blown away be any and every wind of doctrine or temptation that comes their way.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
Again, the scripture is showing us that if we fail to stand upon the Word of God, when the opportunity presents itself we will find ourselves falling into the temptations of life.
6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
The ungodly’s reputation will not be established, as a present judgement, even before the time of the final judgment and we all have to stand before Christ. Just as the person who is not rooted in the word of God will continually fail while on the earth, it will lead to an eternal perishing. In contrast, the righteous are known by the Lord. Here the Hebrew form for knowing is yada, used throughout the Hebrew Bible as the most intimate form of knowing. God’s knowledge spurs all of His action for us. The fact that God knows us also means that He does what is best.
GOD’S WORD DIRECTS US
A. Directed Into God’s Ways
1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
Here the writer is showing the importance of being obedient to the Word of the Lord. While we understand that we live under New Testament grace, we must also realize that the Word of the Lord is our guide for the way that we should lie our lives, and if we expect the blessings of God upon our lives, we must live by these guidelines.
2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
God’s testimonies (Hebrew edot) represents the covenant requirements- his guidelines and plans for his chosen people, particularly for Israel- throughout the OT. However, the moral and ethical principles of these statues still apply to Christ’s followers today. These statues described how the people could remain in a right relationship with God. When we seek after Him with our whole heart, that will drive us to the Word, which will in return drive us to live a life pleasing unto Him. Blessed are the people that conduct their lives in obedience to His Word and make seeking God a top priority.
3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
When we love God’s word that directs us into doing God’s will. When we love God’s Word, this produces in us a love for holiness of life. People devoted to knowing, believing, and obeying the Word of God abstain from intentional sin.
4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
God’s precepts involve detailed instructions from the Lord. We are commanded to keep his detailed instructions so that we can be able to continue to walk in God’s ways.
5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
Here we see that there is a definite contrast between “my ways” and “God’s ways”. The writer is crying out to God that his ways would be directed to keep the regulations the God has put before him. This should be the prayer of every believer, Less of Me and More of You Oh God!
B. The Interior Life Directed
6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
Until we realize that the guidelines that we have been given by Christ are for our own benefit, we will not be able to continually walk inside of these guidelines. Failure to walk in his commandments brings forth sin, and sin brings forth shame. On the other hand, having respect for grace and the Word of the Lord will bring forth life.
7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
We can be confident that the judgements of God will be Holy and Just, so no matter the result of the judgement our hearts will cry out to him in praise because of the righteousness of His judgement.
8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
When we keep (believe and obey) the Word of God, we can live with confidence that God will not forsake us. The best security that we can have in this imperfect world is found in loving God and His holy word.
9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
The writer here asks a question and then answers his own questions. Every answer to getting our inner man “fixed” is found in the Word. It doesn’t matter what we are dealing with or what we are facing, the answer is found in the Word.
10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Whatever God commands in His Word, He provides the ability to do, if we sincerely seek to live in obedience to His word.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
We have said it many, many times, but Holiness does work from the inside out, not from the outside in. When our internal life is directed by the Word, then our external life will also be directed by the Word. The key to being able to live a Holy life is to hide the Word in our hearts. It is the Word that produces a holy life.
GOD’S WORD INFORMS US
A. Growing Wiser in the Word
Psalm 119:98-102, 104
98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
Through our devotion to God’s Word we learn to see life as God sees it, value what He values and love what He loves. This type of knowledge is found no other way than through the Word. With this knowledge also comes wisdom, and this wisdom will make us wiser than our enemies. We know that we are not fighting flesh and blood, but we are facing spiritual battles. No matter what enemy we are facing the Word can give us the knowledge to be wiser than our enemies.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Colossians 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
Because of this understanding the writer is able to keep his feet from walking the paths that those that came before him chose to take. This is not a result of his personal ability, but rather this is a direct result of hiding God’s word in his heart.
102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
Not only does loving the Word give us knowledge and wisdom, but along with these things comes a love for the things of God and a hatred for the things that goes against the heart of God.
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
B. Sweetness of the Word
Psalm 119:97, 103
97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
The wrier expressed his great love for God’s Word, and therefore made it his meditation “all the day”. Then, he testified of the powerful appetite he had for consuming God’s Word because, spiritually, to his mind, heart, and soul, he found the Word to be “sweeter than honey”. Loving God gives us an appetite for His Word.