August 10, 2010 David Balzer

Psalm 119:89-104: THAT’S why I love God’s Word!

Do you LOVE God’s word? Our second Core value says “We VALUE God’s word applied to our lives”.

Do you really VALUE the Bible? Do you thirst for it? Hunger for it? Does your tummy grumble when you miss out on a feed?

Jesus says in Matt 4:4, that man doesn’t live just by BREAD, but by EVERY WORD that comes from the mouth of God”.

It’s God’s Words that give me LIFE. That tell me what life is. It’s God’s words that tells me who HE is, and what he wants me to do.

Man doesn’t live by bread alone. But by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Michael Billester distributed bibles in Europe. And he visited a small village in Poland shortly before World War II. He gave a Bible to a villager, who was converted by reading it. This guy passed the Bible on to others. More people were converted, and that Bible got passed on again. Soon/ 200 people had become believers through that one Bible.

When Billester returned in 1940, this group of Christians met together to hear him preach. He normally asked for testimonies, but this time he suggested that several people from the congregation recite verses of Scripture.

One man stood and said, “Perhaps we have misunderstood. Did you mean verses or chapters?”

These new Christians hadn’t memorized a few select verses. But whole chapters and books. Thirteen people knew Matthew, Luke, and half of Genesis. Another person had committed to memory the Psalms. That’s people who are HUNGRY for the God’s Word. (Noted Bible teacher E. Schuyler English)

Man doesn’t live by bread alone. But by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

And WE need to HUNGER and THIRST for them. If God’s words are life-giving, we should be HANGING OUT for them.

1. God’s word and God (89-91)

The guy who wrote Psalm 119 LOVED God’s word. A LOT. Because he spent 176 verses saying it. Over and Over and Over. Each section starts with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. 22 different sections. All with the same theme. God’s word.

Fortunately, today we’re only going to look at 2 of them!

This guy was SERIOUS about God’s word. He loved it. He was hanging out for it. Why? Right back at the start of the Psalm. Verses 1 and 2. Because it pointed him to God. He loved GOD’S WORD because it POINTS TO GOD.

(Psa 119:1-2 NIV)  Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. {2} Blessed are they who keep his statutes and SEEK HIM WITH ALL THEIR HEART.

God’s word is how we find out about GOD. How we seek him.

He doesn’t tell us about the share prices, or who won the football. He doesn’t speak just for the sake of speaking. He SPEAKS/ to tell us about HIMSELF.

And THAT’S why he loves God’s word. Because it teaches him about God.

To love God’s word means to love God. To thirst for God’s word means to thirst for God. You can’t really love God’s word unless you love God.

I read an article in the paper a while ago. About the art of writing a love song. And Nick Barker, a singer and composer, talked about how much he loved the language of the bible. It was a great source of inspiration for his own song-writing. A bit like Shakespeare.

But he didn’t really LOVE it, because he didn’t really love GOD. He didn’t KNOW him. To love God’s word is more than just to love the words themselves.

The Psalmist loves God’s words because they’re GOD’S words. They COME from God, and they teach him ABOUT God. I love God’s words because they POINT TO God.

In fact, what’s true of God’s WORDS/ are true of GOD HIMSELF. Verse 89 and 90 of the Psalm. It’s on the outline.

(Psa 119:89-90 NIV)  Your WORD, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. {90} YOUR FAITHFULNESS continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.

These verses are telling us two things about the relationship between God and his word.

1. God’s words are ETERNAL/ because God is eternal.

2. God’s words can be TRUSTED/ because God is trustworthy.

Words. Our lives are full of WORDS. Newspapers. Billboards. Radio. Television. Faxes. Letters. Flyers. Email. Quick conversations as people pass.

And almost all of the words are gone as quickly as they came. Newspapers get recycled. Billboards get torn down after a month. Radio and television waves zoom off into space/ never to be heard again. Conversations are forgotten as soon as we turn the corner of the corridor.

But God’s words are the opposite. God’s words are eternal. And they last FOREVER, because that’s what God’s like.

What God decided before the world began is still there. It stands firm in the heavens.

And that’s a great reason to LOVE the Bible. It doesn’t MOVE. It doesn’t CHANGE. It’s DEPENDABLE.

To dip into the bible/ is to find something of eternity/ in the passing, fading, changing nature of the world today.

God’s word is a rock-solid lump of concrete/ in the middle of quick sand.

A safe sheltered harbour in a fierce storm.

A firm, snug seatbelt on a roller coaster.

It’s a spotlight showing the way forward on a pitch black night.

When the whole world screams at you in 100 ear-splitting voices, “Listen to me. Come over here. I know what’s best for you” God’s word is the gentle whisper in your ear “It’s okay. Don’t be scared. I’m here”

Like it did for Phoebe Palmer, a famous American author, speaker, and magazine editor in the 19th century. She had six children, but three died as babies. The third, in tragic circumstances.

A maid dropped an oil lamp on the gauze curtain over the baby’s crib. The baby died in her mother’s arms. In what she called her “inexpressible bewilderment of grief”, Phoebe turned to her bible.

Listen to her words.

“In the agony of my soul, I exclaimed, “O, what shall I do?” And the answer now came, – “Be still and know that I am God!” I took up the precious WORD, and cried, “O teach me the lesson of this trial,” and the first lines to catch my eye on opening the bible, were these, “O, the depths of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and his ways past finding out!” …

The tumult of feeling was hushed… “What you don’t know NOW, you shall know hereafter,” was assuringly whispered.

Wholly subdued before the Lord, my chastened spirit nestled in quietness under the wing of the Holy Comforter…

God’s word doesn’t change. Because that’s what God’s like. And THAT’S why I love God’s word!

And BECAUSE God doesn’t change, he can be TRUSTED. His WORD can be trusted/ because HE’S trustworthy.

He’s ALWAYS faithful to who he is, and what he’s said about himself. It doesn’t matter WHO he’s dealing with/ in whatever age/ He’s faithful through ALL GENERATIONS.

And as we read God’s word, and see how he stood by so many generations before, that gives us the confidence to know that he’ll stand by us NOW.

God’s Word is trustworthy because God is trustworthy. And THAT’S why I love God’s Word.

2. God’s word and me (92-104)

But it’s time for SPECIFICS. The Psalm gets personal. Verse 92. He’s been talking about God’s word on a big scale. The whole earth. But now he zooms in/ to how God’s word affects HIM.

I love God’s word because God’s word BENEFITS me.

Look at his love for God’s law. Verse 92. He DELIGHTS in it. Verse 97. Oh, how I LOVE your law! I meditate on it all day long. Verse 103. How SWEET are your words to my taste, SWEETER THAN HONEY to my mouth!

And look at WHY he loves God’s word.

1. God’s word brings me life

Verse 92 and 93. The most important benefit. God’s word brings me LIFE. If your law had not been my delight, I WOULD HAVE PERISHED IN MY AFFLICTION. {93} I will never forget your precepts, for BY THEM YOU HAVE PRESERVED MY LIFE.

It’s as we obey what God says. As we live life HIS way, he SAVES us. Now, that works on a couple of levels, doesn’t it?

But ultimately, it’s what the bible teaches us about ETERNAL life that’s most important.

I love God’s Word because it teaches me about how to get right with him. It teaches me about Jesus. God’s ultimate revelation of what he’s like.

And the bible teaches me about my sin, and about what Jesus did to deal with it.

And if I listen to what God’s word says about these things. Then I’ll repent. And God promises that I’m a new creation. I’m his friend. My life is saved. And that’s why I love God’s Word.

2. God’s Word makes me wise (98-100)

The second reason I love God’s word/ is because it makes me wise. Look at v 98 to 100. Three different groups who you’d think would know how the world works. But the person who loves God’s Law, is better-off than EACH ONE.

(Psa 119:98-100 NIV)  Your commands make me WISER than my ENEMIES, for they are ever with me. {99} I have MORE INSIGHT than all my TEACHERS, for I meditate on your statutes. {100} I have more UNDERSTANDING than the ELDERS, for I obey your precepts.

Wiser than my enemies

More insight than all my teachers

More understanding than the elders.

You see, as well as showing the way to ETERNAL life, the bible also helps us to live wisely NOW. We avoid the pitfalls and traps of life/ if we live according to God’s principles.

This is the wise way to BUILD A FAMILY. Here’s the wise way to RUN A BUSINESS. Here’s the sort of people to LISTEN to. Here’s the sorts of situations to steer well clear of. Here’s the things that someone with insight DOESN’T worry about. Here’s the things someone with understanding DOES worry about.

And it’s often the complete OPPOSITE to the way the world works/ isn’t it? Who would resign their job to go to Bible college? Who would sell their home and move to a new area just to help a church? Who would give a reasonable amount of their money just to support a minister, or a missionary, or a schools youth worker?

But the bible says/ that’s what wisdom is. And it’s wiser than the world!

The Bible makes me wise. That’s why I love God’s word!

3. Therefore I will

And what’s the right response? The right ACTION? Let me suggest three things that the Psalmist does. Plus one other.

Firstly, meditate on it. Verse 97. (Psa 119:97 NIV)  Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

Spend time in it! Try reading only a few verses a day. Read one verse and concentrate on it. Wait. Ask, “What do I learn about God? About myself?” Pray after that one verse. Read another verse. Do the same thing. Let God’s word sink in.

Water skiers move so fast across the water that they never SINK IN. They defy the physics of buoyancy. But when they SLOW DOWN, they SINK IN. Physics catches up on them. Slow down, so God’s word can sink in! Meditate on it.

Second, I love God’s Word, therefore I will never forget it (93)

(Psa 119:93 NIV)  I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.

One of the challenges for me is memorising Scripture. I’m always saying, “It says SOMEWHERE. I think it’s Matthew”.

But it’s great to have God’s word at our fingertips. So we can use it right when we need it. Songs are a great way to memorise Scripture. We sing quite a lot of good ones here. Actually it’s probably Kid’s songs that are the best!

Who can finish this song? “We all like sheep have gone astray… (Ba, Ba etc)

And where’s it from? Isaiah …. (53:6 urgh!)

3. Third thing. I love God’s word, therefore I WON’T DEPART FROM IT. Verse 102. I HAVE NOT DEPARTED from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.

I’ll stick at them. Even when they seem hard. Or FOOLISH.

I’ll follow THEM, rather than following the crowd.

Like Jason Stevens, the Cronulla footballer. A rough guy, but a genuine Christian. He’s on the footy show pretty regularly. And Fatty Vautin always has a regular question. About his well-known decision to abstain from sex until he gets married. “So, Jason, how’s it going? How’re you coping?” A big smirk on Fatty’s face.

Jason says something about lots of cold showers.

It’s hard work sticking with God’s word, when EVERYONE ELSE does something different. But I love God’s word, so I won’t depart from it.

4. Let me add one more thing that I do because I love God’s word. I preach it.

I preach God’s word because it makes people alive. I preach it because it’s done exactly that in ME. It makes people alive.

I was about 14, and full of the normal teenage worries. I’d grown up in the church, but wasn’t SURE of my salvation. I told a wise Christian called Morris Glasson. He said to me, “Go and read 1 John, and if you still feel the same way, come back and talk to me”

I went across the road from the church to a park. And I sat on a bench. And God spoke to me.

(1 John 1:6-9 NIV)  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. {7} But if we WALK IN THE LIGHT, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. {8} If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. {9} IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, he is faithful and just and WILL FORGIVE US OUR SINS and purify us from all unrighteousness.

(1 John 5:10-13 NIV)  ANYONE WHO BELIEVES IN THE SON OF GOD has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. {11} And this is the testimony: GOD HAS GIVEN US ETERNAL LIFE, and this life is in his Son. {12} HE WHO HAS THE SON HAS LIFE; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. {13} I WRITE THESE THINGS TO YOU WHO BELIEVE IN THE NAME OF THE SON OF GOD SO THAT YOU MAY KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.

And after God had finished speaking with me, I KNEW that I had eternal life.

God’s word WORKS. And so I preach it.

I love God’s Word because it points me to God. God is eternal and trustworthy, and so is His Word. I love God’s word because God communicates to me, saves me, and guides me through it.

THAT’S why I love God’s Word!

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