THOUGHTS FROM THE PSALMS

THE WORD OF GOD - 2

As we saw last week Psalm 1 briefly expressed the blessedness of people who base their faith and action on the Word of God. This blessedness is again affirmed in Psalm 119, a psalm in which the writer expresses his deep love of God's Word and his firm commitment to God's Word.

For the writer of Psalm 119 the Word of God is a thing of great joy:

      • he rejoices in God's Word as one rejoices in great riches [v14]
      • he delights in God's Word [v16,24,35,47,70,77,92,143,174]
      • he knows that there are wonderful things in God's Word [v18,129]
      • his soul is consumed with longing for God's Word at all times [v20,40,131]
      • he loves God's Word [v47,97,127,159,163,167]
      • God's Word is the theme of his song [v54]
      • God's Word is sweet to his taste, sweeter than honey to his mouth [v103]
      • God's Word is the joy of his heart [v111,162]

This strong personal love for the Word of God and joy in the Word of God produced a desire to constantly learn from God's Word and a commitment to continually study this Word:

      • he asks God to teach him his Word [v12,26,33,64,66,68,108,124]
      • he asks God for understanding of his Word [v27,34,73,125,144,169]
      • he regards his suffering as an opportunity to learn God's Word [v71]
      • he considers being taught from God's Word an expression of God's favour [v135]
      • because of his great joy in God's Word he meditates on it [v15,48,97]
      • when he suffers scorn, contempt and slander from human beings he meditates on God's Word [v22-24]
      • when he is wronged by arrogant people he meditates on God's Word [v78]
      • his constant meditation on God's Word makes him wiser that his enemies [v97-100]

 So greatly does this writer esteem the Word of God that he is deeply grieved when God's Word is scorned and rejected:

'Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed ... My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words' [v136,139].

And here a heavy and disturbing challenge confronts us: this writer had only a small portion of God's Word, perhaps only Genesis to Deuteronomy, maybe also some of the books of history. We hold in our hands the complete Word of God - both the full Old Testament and the full New Testament, both the anticipation of the incarnation and sin-bearing death of Christ, and the record of their fulfillment in Christ. Both the hidden, symbolic mystery form of the Old Testament and the revealed, made-known form of the New. We have the lot - the complete riches of God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ [Colossians 1:25-2:3].

This writer loved and rejoiced in his small portion of God's Word as his greatest treasure, and was committed to understand it more and more. This writer grieved when this small portion of God's Word was despised.

What about us, to whom the whole revelation has been given? Can we, with this writer, honestly affirm  this same love, this same joy, this same commitment, this same grief?

 Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2008