I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)
This was the very first scripture I memorized. I have always been drawn to it. To me it is a reminder that God’s word is powerful and can help me overcome my sin. I decided to look at the entire Psalm from which this verse is found: Psalm 119.
Psalm 119 is the longest psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible (176 verses). It is an alphabetic acrostic poem. Its 176 verses are divided into twenty-two stanzas, one stanza for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet and within each stanza, each of the eight verses begins (in Hebrew) with that letter. As I read, I quickly recognized that this psalm stresses the importance of God’s word; God’s word needs to be a priority in our lives. In studying Psalm 119 I discovered many benefits to knowing and living out God’s word.
Recently I have been more acutely aware of the areas in myself where I am falling short. If you don’t know, I am, by default, a pessimist. I have always been a “glass half empty” girl. When I was growing up my philosophy was, “expect the worse. That way when the worst happens I won’t be disappointed”. I have a secret…that is not true. When the worst comes it STILL hurts. Being a pessimist is exhausting and I don’t like being one. Pessimism doesn’t look for joy, it wallows in the pain and wants to bring everyone around into the pain as well. I was pleased to find that God’s word can bring the joy I seek.
1. God’s word brings Joy
Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. (Psalm 119:1-3)
I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure. (Psalm 119:162)
2. God’s word brings Happiness
Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. (Psalm 119:35)
2016 rang in with a stressful bang for me. If you remember from a previous blog, I faced fear and anxiety over some health issues. During that time I found peace by delving into the scriptures and leaning into God’s strength. I can’t say I enjoyed that period of time in my life, but I do know my faith grew stronger.
3. God’s word brings Peace
Those who love your instructions have great peace
and do not stumble. (Psalm 119:165)
4. God’s word brings Comfort
Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. (Psalm 119:50)
Another aspect of myself that I would like to improve upon is choices I make. I am not always wise. I can make dumb, self-defeating choices. These choices can not only hurt me, but they can hurt others as well. I want to be wise. Don’t we all? While we can find wise counsel in another person, I understand that God’s wisdom is what I need. Psalm 119 tells me where I can find it.
5. God’s word brings Wisdom
Your laws please me; they give me wise advice. (Psalm 119:24)
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide. (Psalm 119:98)
As I read and studied this psalm, I realized that the freedom from my shortcomings and the hope in a “better me” can also be found in God’s word. It is there for the taking if I will simply engage
6. God’s word brings Freedom
I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments. (Psalm 119:45)
7. God’s word brings Hope
You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope. (Psalm 119:114)
As if these seven benefits of reading, meditating on, and living Out God’s word aren’t enough, the psalmist also revealed several synonyms for and characteristics for the word of God.
1. The word of God is Trustworthy and Fair
All your commands are trustworthy. Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause. (Psalm 119:86)
O Lord, you are righteous, and your regulations are fair. Your laws are perfect and completely trustworthy. (Psalm 119:137-138)
2. The word of God is Eternal
Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven. (Psalm 119:89)
Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans. If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life. (Psalm 119:91-93)
3. The word of God is like Honey
How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey. Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life. (Psalm 119:103-104)
4. The word of God is like Light
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)
The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand. I pant with expectation, longing for your commands. (Psalm 119:130-131)
5. The word of God is like Treasure
Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight. (Psalm 119:111)
Psalm 119 is filled with good things from the word of God. It brings joy and happiness to my life. It brings peace during stressful times. It frees me from the many things that keep me in bondage (my thoughts, my emotions, my desires…). The word of God is sweet to the lips like honey. It is valuable as treasure, something to be sought and cherished. It brings light to a very dark world. I can trust it for the word of God is fair and eternal. It will stand forever.
What about you? Do you find treasure in the word of God? Does it provide light during the dark times, joy during sorrow, freedom from what binds you?