Why the Word – Psalm 119 Part 2
If you’ve not read Why the Word – Psalm 119 Part 1, you may want to start there and then come back here when you finish. In that post, I cover what Psalm 119 has to say about the many benefits of having the Word of God (the Bible) be a large part of your life. In Part 2, we’ll look at all the things the psalmist did that caused him to reap those rewards.
Right, the benefits don’t just appear out of the blue. As is true with all of God’s promises, we do our part and God responds. First things first: It becomes quickly apparent, when reading Psalm 119, that condition of the psalmist’s heart had everything to do with His relationship with God and His Word (AKA “the teachings,” “the precepts,” etc.). That’s where we need to start as well.
In other words, why are you getting into the Bible? Is it because you think it’s a requirement for Christians? Would you feel guilty if you didn’t? Or are you digging in because you’re hungry, because you want more of God and understand that getting close to God requires getting close to His Word? Think about your motivation, because motivation matters.
Having covered that, there is a lot to Psalm 119. It was a challenge, deciding how to handle the massive amount of information it contains. I’ve opted to follow the same course here as I did with Part 1, sticking primarily to bullets supplemented with verse references and a few, select quotes. The verses quoted are in the New Living Translation.
So what did the psalmist DO?
- Ask God’s Help – He asked God to teach him, to open his eyes, to help his understanding, to make him eager and hungry, to teach him good judgement and give him knowledge, to give him discernment and the ability to follow… and more. (Verses: 12, 18, 26, 27, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 64, 66, 68, 73, 108, 125, 144, 169, 173)
- Be Anchored in the Word – Verse 61: “Evil people try to drag me into sin, but I am firmly anchored to your instructions.”
- Be Faithful to the Word – Verse 30: “I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations.”
- Believe the Word – Verse 66: “I believe in your commands…”
- Delight in the Word – (Verses: 16, 70, 77, 111, 174)
- Desire the Word – Verse 20: “I am always overwhelmed with a desire for your regulations.” Verse 131: “I pant with expectation, longing for your commands.”
- Do What’s Right – Verse 121: “Don’t leave me to the mercy of my enemies, for I have done what is just and right.”
- Don’t Fellowship with Evil-minded people – (Verse 115)
- Don’t Reject the Word – (Verses: 53, 102, 110)
- Don’t Wander Away from the Word – (Verses: 21, 51)
- Follow the Word – Verse 1: “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD.” (Also verse 173)
- Hope in the Word – Verse 147: “I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.” (Also verses: 43, 74, 81)
- Keep the Word – (Verses 4, 31, 33, 87, 100)
- Know the Word is Eternal – Verse 152: “I have known from my earliest days that your laws will last forever.”
- Learn the Word – Verse 7: “As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should!”
- Let the Word Guide You – Verse 105: “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”
- Let the Word Help You – (Verse: 175)
- Live by the Word – (Verses 30, 34, 98, 112, 157)
- Love the Word – (Verses 97, 113, 140, 159, 163, 165, 167)
- Meditate on the Word – (Verses 15, 23, 27, 52, 55, 78, 95, 97, 99, 117, 148)
- Obey the Word – Verse 94: “…I have worked hard at obeying your commandments.” (Also, verses 2, 9, 22, 34, 40, 44, 55, 56, 57, 60, 67, 69, 83, 88, 101, 106, 109, 115, 119, 129, 134, 145, 146, 166, 167, 168)
- Praise Him for the Word – (Verses 164, 171)
- Read the Word with Expectancy – Verse 131: “I pant with expectation, longing for your commands.”
- Rejoice in the Word – (Verses 14, 143)
- Remember the Word – (Verses 11, 16, 93, 141, 153, 176)
- Revere the Word – (Verses 120, 161)
- Search for Him Wholeheartedly – Verse 2: “Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.”
- Seek Unity – (Verses 63, 79)
- Self-assess – Verse 59: “I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws.”
- Sing the Word- (Verses 54, 172)
- Speak the Word – (Verse 13)
- Strive for the Word – (Verses 10, 32, 45)
- Study the Word – Verse 15: “I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.”
- Talk About the Word – (Verse 46)
- Thank Him for the Word – Verse 62: “I rise at midnight to thank you for your just regulations.”
- Treasure the Word – Verse 162: “I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.” (Also verses 72, 111, 127)
- Trust the Word – Verse 42: “Then I can answer those who taunt me, for I trust in your word.”
Near the top of the list is “Know the Word is Eternal.” It was this very revelation that woke me up to the necessity of getting into the Bible. We will literally live by the Word of God for eternity, and I want to enter into eternity prepared for that life! With this understanding, I dove into the Word of God and have never looked back. Nothing compares to reading God’s Word with an open heart and having Him speak truths to your spirit.
“In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.”
This is John 1:1, and if you continue reading you learn that The Word is Jesus. Do you really want to know Jesus? Get to know the Word!
If you want some help getting started, or just want to experience how I dig into the Bible, check out my book, Experiencing the Bible, on Amazon. It’s currently available in paperback and ebook, and an audiobook is in the works.
If you’ve never truly experienced the Word, you have no idea what you’re missing!
Pay the Fee
All wish to know, but none want to pay the fee.Decimus Juvenal
Why the Word – Psalm 119 Part 1
I’m working on my next book and coincidentally (Nope, don’t believe in coincidence) reached Psalm 119 in my studies this past week. My purpose in writing the book is to make clear the importance of having the Word of God, the Bible, as a vital part of our lives. As I studied this psalm, I realized just how thoroughly it covers this very topic.
Psalm 119 is not only the longest psalm but is also the longest chapter in the Bible. It is considered by many to be “the bible on the Bible” because The Bible (the Word, the Commandments, the Precepts, the Teachings…) is its topic, and it handles said topic in depth. Since my book won’t be ready for quite some time, I decided to share some of what I’ve learned here.
This post is Part 1, and in it I will cover some of what the Bible is and can do if we will pursue it like God commands us to. There’s a lot, so being the organizer I am I put it all in a spreadsheet and sorted it by rough topics. I’m sticking to bullet points and will provide verse references as well as including a few verses. The verses I quote are in the New Living Translation.
Ready? Let’s go!
- Battles Misery – “If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.” (v.92)
- Blesses/Makes joyful – The KJV says “blessed are…” In the NLT, “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.” (v. 1, 2) You can see the conditions here, of course. We must be people of integrity, follow His instructions, and search for Him with all our hearts for these verses to apply to us. That’s our part, and I’ll deal with our responsibilities in Part 2.
- Comforts us – (v. 52)
- Delights us/Pleases us – (v. 24, 77, 111)
- Keeps us from judgment – “You rebuke the arrogant. Those who wander from your commands are cursed.” (v. 21) Clearly, the reverse is true too!
- Eternal – (v. 89, 152, 160) We will live by His Word forever. That includes today.
- Fair – (v. 137)
- Makes us free – “I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.” (v. 45)
- Guides us – (v. 98, 105, 133) Verse 105 is the familiar, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”
- Leads us to happiness – “Make me walk along the path of your commands for that is where my happiness is found.” (v. 35)
- Helps us – (v. 130, 175)
- Gives hope – (v. 43, 114)
- Gives insight – (v. 99)
- Brings joy – (v. 74, 92, 143) Verse 143 teaches us an important lesson: “As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.” Let stress drive you to God and His Word!
- Is just – (v. 164)
- Keeps us close to rescue – (v. 155)
- Keeps us from self-deception – (v. 29, 118)
- Keeps us from wandering – (v. 67)
- Gives us knowledge – (v. 66)
- Gives life – (v. 37, 93) Verse 93: “I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life.”
- Gives light – (v. 130)
- Helps us live as we should – (v. 7, 19)
- Helps us not compromise with evil – (v. 3)
- Saves us from shame – (v. 5, 6, 31, 39, 80)
- Helps us not sin – (v. 11, 61) Verse 11: “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
- Helps us not be dull or stupid – (v. 70)
- Gives peace – “Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.” (v. 165)
- Is perfect – (v. 138)
- Prevents stumbling – (v. 165)
- Revives us – (v. 25, 149, 156)
- Is right – (v. 128, 144, 172)
- Helps us share freely with others – (v. 46)
- Stands firm in Heaven – (v. 89)
- Helps us stay pure – ” How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.” (v. 9)
- Strengthens & encourages – (v. 28)
- Is sweeter than honey – (v. 103)
- Has been thoroughly tested – (v. 140)
- Is a treasure – (v. 111)
- Is true – (v. 91, 142, 151, 160)
- Is trustworthy – (v. 86, 138)
- Gives understanding – (v. 32, 104) In verse 32 the psalmist says, “I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.” God’s Word is worth pursuing!
- Brings unity – (v. 79)
- Is unlimited – (v. 96)
- Helps us walk in His ways – “Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.” (v. 2, 3)
- Makes us wise – (v. 98, 100)
- Gives wise advice – (v. 24)
- Is wonderful – (v. 129)
Part 2 coming up! In it, we’ll cover the psalmist’s heart and actions, which also reflect our responsibility towards the Word of God.
The Inspire Bible (NLT), by Tyndale Publishers, is my current read-through Bible. By that, I mean it’s the one I started reading in Genesis 1 and am working my way through. I’m not just reading, however, and that is why this Bible is perfect.
The New Living Translation has been my favorite for many years, and I’ve read through it several times in various Bibles. It is a cross between word-for-word translations and thought-for-thought translations. This approach is a result of the translators striving to provide an option that would strike modern readers in a way similar to the manner in which the original texts affected the readers of their time. I will delve more deeply into this translation, or perhaps translations in general, in another post in the future.
One reason they called this the Inspire Bible is because it is filled with line drawings that can inspire you on their own, but also serve as coloring pages. If you’ve never experienced the therapeutic benefits of coloring on an adult level, you’re missing out. In my case, as you can see by this picture, I often color part of a drawing while listening to a recording of the passage. (My method is read [taking notes], listen to Through the Word’s guide on the chapter [taking notes], and listen to a recording of the chapter.) I didn’t realize until after I’d taken this photo that I’d never finished coloring this particular illustration; I must have stopped when the recording ended.
My favorite thing about this Bible, however, is the journaling lines that you can see in this second photo. As I explained, I’m making notes constantly as I read and study. This is something I recommend everyone do. Simply reading the Bible isn’t enough. We’re meant to meditate on it – to really think about what we read. This is why I often limit myself to a single chapter a day. While deeper thoughts, for instance thoughts that might turn into blog posts, send me to my journal, I can fill my Bible with individual notes as I read and experience the Word. This means I can come back to any passage I’ve already studied and find the treasure I discovered still lying there in the open.
I have owned, and still own, a variety of Bibles. This is definitely one of my favorites.
The Inspire Bible is available in several formats, which you can find simply by going to your favorite retailer’s website and searching “Inspire Bible.”
The Presale Starts NOW
I couldn’t wait to start the presale, and it’s truly a preSALE. Agree to sign up for my newsletter and instead of paying the regular price ($5.99) you’ll only pay $2.99! The sale ends when the book goes live, so time is already running out!
Experiencing the Bible Presale
Experiencing the Bible Available Now
Experiencing the Bible is now available in paperback at Amazon. If you’re looking for a new way to explore the Bible, a fresh way of looking at the Word of God, or just curious about what it means to “get into the Word,” you can check it out now!
I’ve been asked about an ebook option, and I am looking into that possibility, but the power of this book is its introduction to journaling and the fact that you can journal on these pages. So we’ll see.
It’s been a long road to walk, a big project, and I’m very happy with it. I hope you will be too!
Don’t Just Read
When I first started actively serving God, I thought I was doing great just to read a few verses every once in a while. I loved it when what I was reading fell in line with things I was experiencing or what ministers were teaching me. Even so, all too often it was ONLY reading.
By that, I mean that… It’s hard to know how to express it. I had trouble making connections, probably because I didn’t have much of a scriptural foundation. I also found myself reading, and then forgetting what I’d read. It was frustrating.
Things changed when I started using tools. Bible studies helped me make connections, and those connections helped me remember. Learning that it was ok to write in my Bible also made a huge difference because those notes reminded me of things I’d already learned. I considered dipping my toes into tried-and-true Bible commentaries because I knew that’s what a lot of wise people did, but the very thought intimidated me for some reason.
Now, with smart phones, things have changed. We have even more access to tools, and my current favorite, the Through the Word Bible app, has revolutionized my Bible experience. You can simply listen to the app, which is how I started, and it’s great. For months, it was my go-to for my drive to work.
I then moved on to first reading and making my own notes and highlights, then listening to the commentaries and making more notes. I’ve read these verses who knows how many times, but I’m getting more out of my reading today than I ever have before.
Yeah, I don’t just read anymore. I’ve changed the way I experience the Bible, and the Bible is changing me in increasingly greater ways.
We will live by the Word forever – starting right now. Don’t just read it; make it yours so that it can change you into who God wants you to be.
Hindsight and the Future
How many adults, with twenty twenty hindsight, wish they had given more while in high school…or in college..had put more effort into preparing themselves for their unknown future? Hindsight serves one important purpose; it helps us learn which mistakes to not make next time.
And there is a next time. We were put on this earth just as we were put in school – to prepare ourselves so that we will be ready to live the future that waits for us in Eternity. It is our responsibility, while we are here, to develop the closest possible relationship with God and to learn His Word, which we will live by forever.
My memories of school, and all the things the adult me would have done differently, help keep me aware of this truth. While I do forget and deviate from my preferred path on occasion, I try to continually be growing in the things of God, learning all I can about His Word and His will for my life, and getting just as close to Him as I can. I don’t want to just make it through the ultimate graduation; I want to excel now so that God can use me exactly the way He wants to in the next phase of my life.
Life is the childhood of our immortality. -Goethe
Staying in the Word
Months ago, I shared that my word for the year is consistency. I also reviewed some things that were helping me stay consistent in my walk with God. One of those tools is the Through The Word Bible app.
It seemed right to return today and share that yes, I have been consistent. It’s taken self-discipline, sometimes in the form of a swift kick to my own backside, but I am working my way through the Bible in an eye-opening, methodical way that I’m loving. Best of all? It’s simple, requiring nothing but my Bible, pens, and one app.
I start my study by reading a chapter in the Bible – just one. I don’t ONLY read it, however. I ask the Holy Spirit to talk to me, teach me, open my eyes. As I read, I’m underlining and making notes (journaling Bibles help with that!).
Then I hit play on my Through the Word app and listen to what Chris Langham or one of his associates has to say about the chapter. While I listen, I’m making more notes as things become clear or I make connections I’ve never made before. I’ll sometimes go back again, afterwards, to make even more notes. It seems the more connections you make the more you see new connections.
It’s such an easy way to gain a greater relationship with The Word, which is necessary if we want a greater relationship with God, and a close relationship with God is an absolute necessity.
Time is short, my friends. If we’re putting off this vital aspect of our walk with God we are making a grave mistake. The day will come, soon, when there will be no tomorrow. I mean that literally. If you’ve studied the end times at all, you know what I mean.
Celebrating Jesus, The Word!