When there is a love of something deep, so deep it grabs on to parts of your heart and embeds itself within the fibers, it becomes a new reality that changes you completely for the rest of your journey. This is a quickening kind of transformation, a switching that is by degree more than noticeable … it is undeniable. And it is alluring to some, yet in the same way offensive to others. Perhaps because it is misunderstood. But we are made to love deeply. We are wired to be intimately and acutely aware knowing and being known.
It is the kind of pure love and admiration that enacts a pursuing. It is active and it is demonstrative and it is sacred.
David had this kind of love for God. He was named as a man after the heart of God. A man who pursued the very heart of the Divine. Samuel declared the revelation to Saul about the kind of king that the Lord sought, a man who would heed the commandments of the Lord, a man who would seek first the heart of divine love rather than to foolishly squander what has been given.
“…the Lord has sought out [David] a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince and ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
Saul lost the forever established Kingdom that could have been his reward because he foolishly did not keep the commands of the Lord. It makes me think about my own living and loving and seeking. It makes me ponder the real purpose of my pursuit. Just what would I deny myself in order to consider the read, studying, hearing, and speaking a privilege?
Do I love the Lord enough to pursue Him with my whole heart?
With my whole heart have I sought You, inquire for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments. – Psalm 119:10
Do I understand the commandments, the precepts, the laws, the statutes, the testimonies, the judgments…. Do I take time to fully study THE WORD of God?
I will delight myself in Your statutes;I will not forget your word. – Psalm 119:16
Do I long to be not just a hearer of God’s Holy script but a doer as well?
You have commanded us to keep Your precepts, that we should observe them diligently. – Psalm 119:4
Do I hide His word in my heart so that it will be the fruit of my mouth?
With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. -Psalm 119:13
The more time I spend in quiet contemplation of His Word, the clearer it becomes that I have only just scratched the surface of His goodness. The more I read it, study it, meditate on it, pray over it… then the more I will know that it is the best answer for every single issue that arises in my life.
Every direction we need on our journey, every question we could compose in query, every thought that breeches our mind’s perception… are coupled with a precept, a statute, a command, a testimony, or a law that is meant to lead us into liberty through His grace and love.
“The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.” Psalm 19:7-9
When we meditate close in the Way of the Lord, based on His Word and through His Spirit, we lose sight of our worldly perspective and we undergo a transformation of the soul. His Spirit, which teaches us all Truth, manifests within our hearts and guides us on our journey to see as we ought. Through the lens of His Word we are educated, we are liberated from bondage, and released into the wisdom that brings understanding.
Get wisdom, get understanding: do not forget my words… Proverbs 4:5
Reading through the 1st 24 verses of Psalm 119 reminded me of a discussion I had with my children about rules. As parents we set rules for our children, guidelines and boundaries that are supposed to train and teach them, to keep them safe and to help them be wise. We are protecting them with the limitations we purposefully place upon them. We do it out of love.
Likewise, our Heavenly Father, who is a far better parent than we will ever be, has established these boundaries to keep us close to the very center of His will, set apart from the world. His Word encompasses the fullness of what they are all ascribing to convey, corporately and uniquely. Ultimately, He is seeking to bring us out of the darkness by casting His light upon the circumstances that take us away from fellowship with Him. Through the doctrine of the Word we are trained to know truth, to understand and discern with judgment, and to honor the commandments of the Lord. Like our desire to love our own children through rules, God’s love is being demonstrated in His Law.
If you take time to really look into the schematic of this prayerful psalm, you will find multiple names for the Word of God are repeated routinely. It has convicted me to consider the matter of respect that we should give to His Word as we read it. For context I have placed the Hebrew word and the number of times it is found in the 119th Psalm inside parentheses beside the word being defined.
• Law-(torah/ 25x), the 5 books of the Old Testament called the Pentateuch, considered doctrine for direction and instruction.
• Word-(dabar/24x), the spoken Word which is God’s revealed and inspired promise to man.
• Judgments – (mispatim/23x),a binding law or rule in order to judge rightly, to determine accurately, or to enable discernment of right from wrong.
• Testimonies -(edotaw/edot/23x), God’s Standard, such as the Ten Commandments in Exodus, which is a witness of the Word of God that testifies of Truth.
• Commandments – (mitsvah/22x), the right which is reserved by God’s authority to establish decrees and express an order in His Word .
• Statutes-(chuqqah/21x), enacted positive moral laws engraved or prescribed by on the authority of the written Word of God.
• Precepts – (piqqud/21x), a commandment or a requirement with directions relating to special conduct.
I have always loved the image from Nehemiah 9:3 of the people who stood to hear the Word of the LORD. In my own church, we do this regularly, and it never fails to bring me to tears.The Psalm further endears my heart to the physical act of an inward decision to love God, to love His Word, and in whatever we do, thought word, or deed, to bring glory to Him.
And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of Law of the LORD their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the LORD their God. – Nehemiah 9:3
People of God, we need to revere the Word of God. We need to honor it and keep it close. It is life and health to our bones. It is the living epistle that is being engraved upon our hearts. Matthew Henry had relates to the sacredness of His Word bringing us to worship God with every discovery of truth it brings.
The word will direct and quicken prayer, for by it the Spirit helps our infirmities in prayer. The careful study of God’s Word will more and more discover to us our own sinfulness, and the plenteousness of his salvation; thus it calls us to mourn for sin, and to rejoice in him. Every discovery of the truth of God, should render us more unwearied in attendance on his sacred word, and on his worship. – Matthew Henry Commentary on Nehemiah 9:1-3
These teachings are for our good and ultimately for His glory. We may not always enjoy the conviction in our hearts as we read the Word, but they are hidden morsels of kingly wisdom that are meant to be found by royal hearts. We are blessed, as the opening verse declares, when we walk in the Way of the Lord. We heed His commands when we both hear them and do them. Obedience is the act of a son versus obligation which is the deed of the servant. To follow His will is to preserve our eternal living and to sanctify our earthly vessel.
Like David, I want to be one who is after the heart of the Lord. When we start with an appetite for truth, and make His Word our full course each time are hungering for wisdom, we will be changed. We will no longer desire the unholy ordinary but glorious extraordinary that is our God.
Discovering God’s Promises through His Word: Psalm 119 Bible Study
Would you like to join a Bible Study for Psalm 119?
We started studying Psalm 119 together in community over at the Table of Grace Community this week! If you are looking for a gentle group of seeking hearts who love the Word of God, there is a seat for you at this table.
Would you like to discover more of God’s promises through His Word by reading, journaling and praying through Psalm 119?
Everyone who is an email subscriber to my blog will receive the 52 page study guide that encourages you to read and meditate on God’s Word, memorize, journal and pray as you study this Psalm. Once you subscribe you will receive a confirmation email, once you confirm your subscription you will receive a link to download the pdf study guide.
This Week’s Resource is: The Heart of the King/ A Devotional Commentary on Psalm 119 by Ron Auch
Over at the Table of Grace we are focusing on 3 stanzas/sections per week, and discussing the Hebrew Letters that are the heading of each section of this Psalm. We will get through this study in roughly 8 weeks. I won’t get into as much detail in my weekly posts, as they are a reflection of what I have studied over the week, but I want to share resources with you that may encourage or aid your study of this psalm. I will try to share a new one each week.
The Heart of the King by Ron Auch is a daily devotional that briefly discusses each of the 176 verses of this Psalm. I used this resource with my children when they were young and we attempted to put the Psalm to memory.(the link is to a kindle version on Amazon, which is really cheap. I am not an affiliate and do not make any money if you click over there. I just wanted to let you know that it is available as an ebook and it is a very reasonable resource.)