Do me a favor and please read Psalm 119:17-24
The psalmist here finds blessings in the word of God – which is nothing new because that’s what this whole massive psalm is about! We see that they want to obey the word of God while they live (17), that they want to see the wonderfulness of the law (18) and that in fact their soul is literally “consumed with longing for your laws at times.” (20) The psalmist then goes into state that there are people in this world (“rulers”, the “arrogant”, the “scorn and contempt”) that want nothing to do with the Law and thus they, themselves, seek God’s work to separate them from him. Again, all of this is nothing new – so what is this psalm saying? How are we challenged by this word?
Well first off we just need to recognize that repetition happens. There’s only so much you can say about a topic (in this case it’s the Law of God) before you start repeating what you’ve already stated. But what this psalm is doing is stating that there is so much richness, so much depth, so much hope, so much truth, so much LIFE in the law that they are only seeing a small part of it. Their own eyes are only scratching the surface but it is at this surface that they recognize more and more layers of God’s blessings in his Word. And the psalmist recognizes that the more they scratch, the deeper they go, the more they are put at odds against people of this world…and the more they need God’s help.
And then THAT takes us to so many different levels that the psalmist declares but that you and I must recognize as well.
First off, we must recognize that God’s word is vast and deep and there simply is no way for us to understand its true depths. It seems like for every step down we go in understanding God’s word there are 20 more steps that are revealed. Should we be discouraged by this? Maybe – but only because many of us want to simply know everything. But we can’t know everything. As it is, God’s word wouldn’t make sense to us unless the Holy Spirit revealed it and all it’s beautiful layers to us. So take hope in the fact that when you “scratch” away at the Word of God a beautiful new truth is revealed. And then dwell in THAT NEW TRUTH.
Secondly, do not get complacent with the word of God. Don’t just read it then set aside. We continue to read because God continues to reveal. There are times when we gloss over one thing only to come back days, weeks, months, years later and proclaim, “Where in world did THAT come from! I don’t remember reading that!” So keep on reading. Keep on finding the truth and comfort in God’s word and allow the Holy Spirit to do what He does best: Reveal the Father and the Son and their love.
Thirdly, and this goes back to the reason for Psalm 119, KNOW THE LAW. The Law of God declares what it means to be holy, righteous, good, and just. As Paul declares in Romans 7:7, the Law of God shows us our brokenness, our sin, and opens our eyes to how bad we are. So don’t think of the Law as some collection of outdated commands of God. Remember that they are still pertinent today. That while Christ came to fulfill the Law on our behalf (Matthew 5:17-20) they are still required by God for his disciples to follow.
Lastly, or fourthly, we must understand that this broken world (broken until Christ returns and makes everything new) wants nothing to do with the goodness that people do when they follow the Law. So you’re gonna feel like a “stranger” at times…all the time. Even worse: you’re gonna be talked about, slandered, hated upon, and people may even try to cut you down. But never should you or I stray from the ways God calls us to be. We do not repay evil with evil, slander with slander, or hate with hate. So when the world is trying to cut you down – hold firm to the Word of God and the Law he gives.
3 QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CHEW-ON:
- Do you ever read the Law (the 10 commandments) and reflect on their truth in your life? If not – why not?
- How is your daily devotion and reading of Scripture? I know for me that life can be busy and I can easily neglect just spending 5 mins reading. Make it a priority. If you have problems remembering then schedule some time with God and his word. It sounds weird, but I actually have it in my calendar on my phone. It works for me – so find what works for you.
- What gives you strength to go each day when people around you don’t abide by the goodness of God? How do you stay in his Word and by his Law when it’s so easy to just conform to the ways of this world?