Psalm 119:20

Psalm 119:20

“My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.”

We think about what we love. We spend time on what we love. We talk about what we love. We make plans to do things we love. Our emotions are stirred by people and things we love.

Do you think about God? Do you spend time with Him? Do you talk about Him and His word with others? Do you make plans for the future which include Him? When you sing your favorite Christian song, are you stirred by His love for you in Christ, or some other emotion?

Your soul is eternal, and if you are saved, your soul will be with God forever, worshiping Him, and loving His majestic attributes, especially His holiness. Does that concept interest you? If not, you may have been sold a gospel that includes benefits in this life only. This is not limited to the prosperity gospel, but also includes the false gospel that is all about cleaning your life up here. To be clear, you will grow in holiness here if you are saved, but that is not the main attraction. The main attraction is God, and the eternal fellowship we have with Him in Christ.

We cannot have a relationship with Him outside of Christ because of our sin and His holiness. Any gospel that misses that point is simply not true.

Psalm 119:19

Psalm 119:19

“I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!”

This sounds a lot like the language in 1 Peter 1. The word exiles in that portion of scripture is very much implying that we are aliens here. This is not our home. And if that is true, we need see clearly the commands from the one whose home we’ll live in one day.

The Lord’s commands are not able to be understood by those who are not His. Asking for clarity on them, and petitioning God for understanding is a good thing to do. The perspective of the Psalmist here is an eternal one. He understands that the rules of this world may seem deceptively right and true, but it’s the command and statutes of the Eternal God which need to be prioritized.

Consider today the unseen, spiritual things, and their importance. These are the things that we need to fix our minds on. In particular, fixing our mind on God and His goodness to us in Christ, including what we’ve been saved from, and what we’ve saved to, is most important.

Psalm 119:18

Psalm 119:18

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”

We need God’s help in seeing how beautiful He is. We are not capable of grasping the depth, and breadth, and width of his amazing mercy displayed on the cross. Similarly, we cannot have a right perspective of His law without His help. It is a good thing to pray this way, and ask that we would see how wondrous His law really is.

If we’re Christians, this has been our experience. We know this to be true. We’ve seen how fruitless it is to worship idols. But, we still foolishly follow them. Ask God today to help you see how much better He is. Not just so your life is better here, but for His glory, and in order to condition yourself for what’s coming; eternal life with Him. Christian hedonism is a term John Piper has used, and is a helpful way to understand our time in this life. As Piper says, “He is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”

Psalm 119:17

Psalm 119:17

“Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word.”

The psalmist asks the Lord to deal bountifully with him that he may live and keep the Lord’s Word. Understand what the psalmist is saying here; this is a profound prayer. Repeatedly in the Psalms and elsewhere in Scripture, prayers like this indicate a desire for the Lord to bestow life, real life, a quality of life that is worthy of the name, a spiritual life that is found only in fellowship with God. And the psalmist is saying, “Lord, would You graciously, would You generously, would You kindly deal with Your servant so that I may have real life in the keeping of Your Word.”

We should set that in the context of the serpent’s temptation. To Adam and Eve he said, “If you want to have real life you’ve got to disobey His Word.” And the psalmist’s prayer, out of the midst of trouble, is blocking out that word of temptation from the serpent and he’s saying, “No, no, Lord. Deal bountifully with me and deal bountifully with me this way, that I may have real life in living out Your Word because I know that Your Word is not for a curse and Your Word does not inhibit life; Your Word gives life. So show me Your favor that I may live by Your Word.”

Psalm 119:16

Psalm 119:16

“I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.”

The white knuckle approach to Christian obedience doesn’t work. It breeds Phariseeism, and will often discourage you, and the people in contact with you. This verse is David’s way of preaching to himself. He’s reminding himself that God’s commands are a joy to keep. We need to view them this way, otherwise the following of His rules becomes drudgery.

We were made in His image for the sole purpose of bringing Him glory through obedience and love. The specific ways we’re supposed to do that is laid out in His statutes. If we forget His word, we’ll be robbed of the joy that comes with understanding the great gift we’ve been given in Christ.

Psalm 119:15

Psalm 119:15

“I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.”

So often for Christians, our struggle with joy comes down to simply forgetting God’s promises in Christ. This verse reminds us of the importance of disciplining our minds to focus on the Lord. And it’s not simply during our time in the word and in prayer each morning. Meditating and considering is more long-term.

Take time to meditate and consider God’s word today. Psalm 119 is a great chapter of the bible on which to meditate. A verse as simple as this one should stir a remembrance of what Christ has done, what He is doing, and what He will do. Think about those things today throughout the day, and fix your hope on things eternal. This things of this world are fleeting, and will not last.

Psalm 119:14

Psalm 119:14

“In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.”

What makes you happy? Money? Possessions? Success? If those things truly brought happiness, then the rich and famous would be the most content people in the world. However, we can simply look at the headlines from this past year alone to realize that’s not true.

Why is that? Everything our culture tells us via movies, commercials, tv, and sports is that we’ll be happy if we’re successful. So, why do the successful struggle to be content? Well, according to the bible, and specifically Psalm 119:14, it’s because the pursuit of wealth and fame is not what we were made to do. We were made to worship our creator, love Him, and submit to Him as our King.

Does that mean we shouldn’t pursue success? We absolutely should seek excellence in all we do, desiring to glorify God in being the best, so He gets the glory. Strive to be the best, but not for your own glory. Carefully choose to walk with Him in your pursuit of excellence, and He will be glorified.

Psalm 119:13

Psalm 119:13

“With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.”

A summary of all of God’s rules was given by Jesus in Matthew 7:12:

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

On this day in the US, when we remember the importance of MLK and his bravery and fearless pursuit of equality, it is good for Christians to consider God’s rules. But, it is not enough to just think about what’s right, we must speak and do what’s right too. Have the words that have come out of your mouth reflected Matthew 7:12? Would you want someone who is of a different ethnicity or culture to speak about you in the way that you’ve spoken negatively about them, specifically because of those differences?

We all have the exact same makeup on the inside, and all of our DNA is very similar. Recognize your need to repent from the hate that exists in your own hearts toward people who look and sound differently than you. You look and sound just as different to them, so with that perspective, love those who are different, and pursue loving and peaceful relationships with them. This includes the way that you speak of them when they aren’t around.

Psalm 119:12

Psalm 119:12

Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes!

We need to humble ourselves before the Lord. We need to ask for His help in understanding His word. His Holy Spirit is in us, and He helps us to discern what is right and true. However, we show how foolishly prideful we are when we attempt to go about any day without seeking Him first. We would not seek to travel on a journey without a map. That would be very risky. How much more risky is it for us to begin to walk through a day without His map for our lives, the bible.

Psalm 119:11

Psalm 119:11

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

This is so we are continually guided by the Lord’s precepts. Our default as humans is what we think is best, and that will always be self-serving. God’s word opposes our nature, which is why memorizing it is so helpful.

The meaning here of ‘stored’ means to conceal or treasure, much like someone would do with money or jewels. This really implies that the word of God is a treasure, which is absolutely true.

Work today to remind yourself of how valuable God’s word is. We cannot possible live in a way that glorifies Him without it. Humble yourself to recognize your need for His guidance, so you might not sin against Him.