The Word is holy because it comes from a holy God. Its nature testifies to the nature of the One who speaks. It’s this Word that has led many who believe in the goodness of God to write countless books, testifying to what gives them joy and strength to continue the daily battle against sin and Satan.
This thought helped me have my mind be wrapped around Psalm 119:1-8, which is a glimpse into the life of the psalmist who is deeply in love with the Word of God, because it brought him great joy in getting to know the mind of God, and ultimately, God Himself. Here’s the text:
1How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD. 2How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. 3They also do no unrighteousness, they walk in His ways. 4You have ordained Your precepts, that we should keep them diligently. 5Oh, that my ways may be established to keep your statutes! 6Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon all your commandments. 7I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments. 8I shall keep Your statutes. Do not forsake me utterly!
Under the first Hebrew letter of the alphabet, this stanza begins this great psalm with a recognition of the state of those that walk in the ways of the Lord. Psalm 119 is a psalm that has been broken up into 8 verses, meaning 22 stanzas that correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, with the beginning of each verse starting with that Hebrew letter (if only that could translate to help us English-speaking people :-D). I found it fitting to title this psalm for my benefit, “Devotion to the Word of God and the God of the Word.” Meditating on these precious words has helped me evaluate my own heart in how I truly view the Word of God in my daily life. Reading and reflecting on these words have me jump at the excitement of the psalmist, who had no reservations in giving praise to God for His Word, that leads to blessedness, a desire to know God with passion (v. 2), and a plea to have his own life be a life without shame in encountering His Word (v. 6). This kind of worship stems from a desire to study the Word to reach new heights in giving honor to God in walking in His ways.
You can hear the psalmist’s heart yearn in this passage to obey the One who has delivered His Word to those who don’t even deserve to hear a peep from the One who created him. He wants to “walk in the law of the LORD,” he wants to “seek Him with all [his] heart,” he wants to “look upon all [His] commandments” without shame. His soul is poured out in the addition of the word, “Oh” in verse 5. His will is to do the will of God, and that is obvious for all to see. The way he shows love for His Word is displayed in having his own life be transformed by the power of this Word. Twice he writes, “I shall…” in terms of obedience continuously as time goes on. Twice he mentions the heart in matters of how he relates to God: in seeking Him with fullness of heart (v. 2), and in giving thanks with uprightness of heart (v. 7). The ESV and NIV render it, “I will praise you with an upright heart…”;
You can also see a glimpse into the character of God in the way the Word of God is mentioned in this psalm: “law of the LORD” shows Him to be a lawgiver; “…commandments” shows Him to be the one with authority; “judgments” (or “rules” in ESV) show Him to be the ruler, the righteous king.
Who are the blessed? Those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord, observe His testimonies, and walk in His ways. How do you seek God in order to be blessed? With all your heart. How can you tell who are the blessed ones? Those who do no unrighteousness. How do you keep God’s precepts? With diligence. Is there a limit to which commandment we are to be diligent in? No! Do we need to know the law of the Lord in order to walk in it? Yes!
These are only some of the questions that are asked and answered in these verses. The Words of this Psalm already challenge me to examine my heart to see if I can respond in the same way as this psalmist. I must walk in the law of the Lord with diligence, not when it comes to salvation, for I can never redeem myself, but as an act of love because I have already been redeemed. If I do not know the law of the Lord, which is His Word, then I cannot walk in it, or live my daily life under the Word of the Lord. This pushes me to make sure that I diligently seek to read more of His Word, to study His Word, to memorize His Word, to meditate on His Word, and to listen to the preaching of His Word in the hopes that I will live in His law out of love for His character revealed. It’s a blessing that awaits those who desire to love His Word enough to study it and obey. It also is a pressing desire for me to commune with God in prayer, to seek Him with all my heart in speaking with Him and depending on Him to guide me, that my ways may be established. The cry of the psalmist must be my cry as well: “Do not forsake me utterly!”
The power of the Living Word is revealed even more in the incarnation of the divine Son made flesh to reveal to me who God is truly like, and how our lives must be in accordance with the will of the Father, which was what Jesus’ life on earth was made for. This also displayed a love for being in submission under the Father’s will, which God calls us to as slaves of righteousness, and no longer unrighteousness. I have to give up my self-centeredness and live a crucified life for Christ, taking up my cross daily, so that I may “seek Him with all [my] heart.” This means no longer doing the things I wanted to do which has nothing to do with pleasing God and obeying His Word. Hopefully, by trusting in His Word, my heart will soon soften and change to keep His Word diligently in order to know God and love Him without the fear of man.
Sorry if this sounds like a lot of random thoughts thrown in together, but I had to write it down before I quickly forget and not seek accountability in this. Hopefully, the words of the psalmist, and ultimately, the words of God, challenge you to want to love His Word more and seek to rely on His Word when troubles arise, giving you more hope in this pure and holy Word.