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Psalm 119:113-176: The Word: The Delight of My Soul Print E-mail
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Sunday, 25 January 2015

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You must delight yourself in God.  God commands you to find your joy in Him.  Listen to what the Bible says: Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart (Psalm 32:11).  Delight yourself in the Lord (Psalm 37:4).  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice (Philippians 4:4).  These Scriptures command us to delight ourselves in God.  He is to be our treasure and our joy.  And make no mistake, the Scriptures are talking about our affections and our emotions.  These are not commands to merely agree with the statement: ĎGod is my joy and my treasure.í  No, delight is the command.  Joy in God is the duty of the Christian.  We must have joyous affection for the Lord.

If you have ever read any John Piper then you know that this is the repeated message in all of his books.  His books Desiring God and The Pleasures of God teach the importance of us delighting in God.  He has a small book called The Dangerous Duty of Delight that speaks to this topic as well.  In that book he writes: ďMaximum happiness (in God)...is precisely what we are duty-bound to pursue.Ē 1 He goes on: ďMaximizing our joy in God is what we were created for.Ē 2 The way that we glorify God as humans is through delighting in Him.

Yet, this brings up a difficult question (one that Piper addresses in another book): How do I change my delights?  What do I do if I do not find delight in God?  I want us to return to these questions after we consider the psalmists delight in God through His Word this morning.  Psalm 119 is all about God and His Word.  Repeatedly, the psalmist tells us that he delights in the law of God.  Look at verse 14, 16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 77, and 92.  If you add the two verses in our passage this morning, that is ten times that the psalmist states that he delights in Godís Word in Psalm 119.  So this morning, our focus is going to be the psalmistís delight in God through His Word.  Letís trace this through the eight sections of verses 113-176.

I love your testimonies (v. 113-120)

In the first section, the psalmist begins by speaking of his love for the law.  Look at verses 113-120.  As we have seen, the psalmist again notes the evildoers and those who go astray from your statutes.  But the psalmist delights in God because He is his hiding place and my shield.  Because of this, the psalmist puts his hope in your word.  Why does the psalmist delight in the Word?  Because it is the Word of the One who protects Him from evil.  He will fear the Lord and the judgments of the Lord but he does not have to fear man.

I love your commandments above gold (v. 121-128)

The psalmist closes this section by stating his love for Godís Word.  But why does he love it?  He tells us in verses 121-126.  Look at those with me.  Again, the psalmist knows that God will be faithful to protect and provide because he has read of these promises from God in His Word.  God has told of His salvation and steadfast love through the law.  Thus, the psalmist rests secure in Godís promises.  Such assurance results in love for the Word.  Look at verses 127-128.  Through constant meditation on the Word, the psalmist can trust that the Lord will act.  Thus, he treasures the Word above gold, above fine gold.

Your testimonies are wonderful (v. 129-136)

In this section we see a description of the psalmists longing for Godís Word.  Look at verses 129-131.  The psalmist pants for the Word of God.  He longs for Godís commandments.  The Word assures Him that God will be gracious to him and keep him steady and redeem him, which is what he reflects on next.  Look at verses 132-136.  The Word reveals such glorious truths about God and the psalmist simply cannot get enough of it.  Grace, mercy, victory over sin, guidance, are all revealed in the law of the Lord.  Since they are so wonderful, he longs to keep them and obey them.  Since they give light, he turns to them for understanding and guidance.

Your commandments are my delight (v. 137-144)

Another reason why the psalmist loves the Word of God is because it is righteous and it reveals the righteousness of God.  Look at verses 137-142.  What we believe about the Word reflects what we believe about God.  One of my commentatorís writes: ďTrust is the reliability of Godís word is directly proportionate to oneís trust in the Lord himself.Ē 3 If you do not trust the Word then you do not trust in the Lord.  If it is not a reliable source of wisdom and guidance for your life, then He is not.  If you do not love the Bible enough to spend a few minutes reading it each day, then how much do you love its author?  To claim to love God while ignoring the Bible is a false sentiment.  The psalmist believes in the righteousness of God and therefore he believes in the rightness of the Word.  Many today, even many in our Churches, do not make the same connection.  Thus, they cannot claim to truly delight in the Word like the psalmist.  Look at verses 143-144.  The Word is his comfort during affliction and anguish and so he delights in it.

I hope in your Words (v. 145-152)

The psalmist again states his hope in Godís Word.  Look at verses 145-152.  The psalmist may be surrounded by his enemies, but he finds strength in Godís Word.  How does he go about finding hope in Godís Word?  He writes: My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.  He spends time in the Word.  He meditates upon the Word.  He rises up early to read it.  The key to finding hope in Godís Word and delight in Godís Word is simply meditating upon it.  Thus, the key to finding joy in God is meditating upon His Word.  We will return to this theme in a moment.

I love your precepts (v. 153-160)

The psalmist continues to struggle with affliction from the wicked.  Look at verses 153-160.  Where does he look for comfort and strength?  He continues to look to the Word.  No matter what happens he will not stray from the commandments of God.  Why?  Because they bring life, because they are true, because they endure forever.  The wicked will come and go.  Afflictions will come and go.  Persecution will come and go.  But the Word of the Lord will stand forever.  So once again the psalmist proclaims his love for the Word and the God it reveals.

I rejoice at your word (v. 161-168)

The psalmist is in awe of the Word.  He rejoices in it and treasures it.  Look at verses 161-164.  He loves the law because it brings peace to those who keep it.  Look at verses 165-168.  The Word is the source of peace for the troubled soul.  What conflicts do you face this morning?  What troubles and trials?  There is hope for you in the Word of God.  There is peace for those who love the law.  How often do we feel desperate and lost and in conflict but we continue to ignore the Word.  The psalmist would encourage us: ĎTake up and read and find peace.í

Your law is my delight (v. 169-176)

The psalmist proclaims his delight in Godís Word one final time in the last section.  Look at verses 169-176 with me.  Deliverance comes through the Word.  Help comes through the Word.  Therefore, the psalmist delights in it.  He ends on a humble note, once again admitting his need for God to seek him out.  He will not forget the law, he will not give up on Godís Word, but he knows that he cannot make it without Godís help.

Over and over again we see the psalmistís delight in the Word of God.  He loves it, hopes in it, treasures it above gold.  He trusts in it, walks according to it, rests in it for guidance.  He finds righteousness and peace and joy in the commandments of God.  His delight is in the law of the Lord.  So what about you?  Do you delight in Godís Word?  If not, then let me close by giving you some instructions on how you can change your delight.

First, if you do not delight in the Word, then perhaps you need to hear again the redemption story that it reveals.  The Bible tells us about God the Creator.  It tells us that He created everything, including man.  It tells us about manís rebellion and sin against God.  But it also reveals that God had a plan to redeem people from their sins through sending Jesus.  The Bible tells us that Jesus took on flesh, lived a perfect life, and died on a cross for our sins.  And the Bible tells us that He came back from the dead.  One Day He will return for all of those who turn from their sins and trust in Him as Savior.  This is the message of the Bible.  This is the story of redemption.  If you have never trusted in Christ, then let me encourage you to do that today.  Our delight in Godís Word begins with a delight in the Word who became flesh!

Second, your delight in the Word will be fueled by your discipline to meditate on it.  People get frustrated with the Bible.  They read it and struggle to understand it.  They give up reading it and feel guilty over it.  They donít feel smart enough or gifted enough or whatever.  And so they leave it on the shelf.  But if we are going to delight in the Word of God like the psalmist, then we must begin meditating on it day and night like he did.  We must read it and then read it again.  We must wrestle with it and struggle with it and cry out to God for understanding.  And we must discipline ourselves in this task.  It took me years of starting and stopping and trying different things to become faithful in reading the Bible.  And there are times even now when it seems dry and difficult.  So what do we do in those times?  We keep reading.  We keep asking God to give us understanding and delight.  We donít lose sight of the great story of redemption that the Bible teaches, because it is only through that story that our own souls have been saved.  Such discipline will fuel your delight in the Word and your delight in God.  How do I know?  Because He created us to glorify Him by enjoying Him forever.  So feast on His Word until He becomes the delight of your soul.  Amen.

1 John Piper, The Dangerous Duty of Delight (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, 2001), p. 14.
2 ibid., p. 16
3 Willem A. VanGemeren, Psalm, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs EBC (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), p. 759.
 

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 March 2015 )

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