[As a church we are reading through the book of Psalms each Sunday morning. As a result Thursday postings will be geared toward a devotional look at the respective Psalm for each week in effort to kindle genuine affections in heart of the child of God through the word of God to the glory of God.]
As you read the 119th Psalm you quickly realize this guy was incredibly passionate and transparent with God. One might rightly say he actually knew God and was known by him. Therefore as followers of the same God, believers living today do well to emulate his pattern of seeking divine pleasure in all things through the intimate study, meditation and proclamation of the word of God and the God of the word. I have found personally that the 119th Psalm is a great personal revival tool; for if I cannot pray as the Psalmist there must be something clogging my spiritual windpipe, I must therefore search for this impediment and remove it that I may think God’s thoughts after him.
There is an exciting connection that is established right away in the first few verses of Psalm 119 between joy and obedience. In v.1 the saints are “blessed whose way is blameless who walk in the law of the LORD” this same theme continues in v.2. There is great joy in faithful obedience to the divine agenda. And conversely there is great sorrow in the rejection of and rebellion from God’s will. So many people are searching for the secret of abiding joy and happiness, the answer is quite simple, it is to know God and to obey him, for in this there is joy that endures.
Why is there such joy in genuine obedience to God? I think there are several facets to the answer, however, one real basic understanding fuels everything else. Believers have abiding joy because the source of the joy is not in themselves but rather in the infinitely glorious and joyous God. The joy is rooted in the eternal character of God. We as his followers are privileged then to sit at the great buffet of God as prepared through his word and enjoy the delicious feast of divine revelation as it explains with unparrelled precision the glory and beauty of God.
There is an interesting dynamic that the Psalmist hits on right out of the box here for us concerning the role of the word in our obedience and joy. There are several words used in verses 1-8 to denote our actions:
- v.1: walk in the law
- v.2: observe his testimonies
- v.2: seek him
- v.3: do no unrighteousness
- v.3: walk in his ways
- v.4: keep them (precepts) diligently
- v.5: keep your statutes
- v.7: give thanks
- v.8: keep your statutes
As the Psalmist grows in his knowledge and understanding of God he grows in his love for God, the Scriptures, and obedience! It becomes a wonderfully designed conduit of praise. Think about it: God reveals himself in the Scriptures, which are then read by us his creation, he then causes there hearts to respond to this truth, even converting them and then he gives them food daily that nourishes and inflames appetites for divine glory….and the more you eat the more you want!! The more you stoop and taste at the fountain of God’s delights the more you realize that the taste is unparalleled and the well is inexhaustible (Jn. 4). Therefore, we as believers are to linger long at the spring of God and enjoy fresh water from his word as often as possible, knowing that it nourishes, satisfies, and is inexhaustible.
What a privilege it truly is to have God reveal himself in the Scriptures. We may know him and his tender lovingkindness, his wisdom, and his holiness. We may tremble at this sovereignty and inflexible justice, but take great comfort in his goodness.
While we endeavor to keep the statutes diligently (v.4) we remember the Lord Jesus who, in the place of sinners, kept the commandments of God perfectly and gloriously! As we long to obey and enjoy God through his word we remember that it is earned by one who was quite like us but quite unlike us also. Our Lord Jesus, the God-man, who has purchased salvation for his people; there is great joy in the Christian because there is great joy in Christ.