Psalm 119:105-112 Bible Life
Either you believe the Bible is God’s Word or you don’t. If you believe that the Bible is God’s Word, then you should obey it. If you don’t obey it, then you don’t believe God’s Word. If you believe God’s Word, then you really don’t believe God.
The number eight is stamped all over this psalm. Each section has eight verses; there are eight special names for God’s Word listed; there are eight symbols of the Word given; the believer has eight responsibilities to the Word. The word “eight” in Hebrew literally means “abundance, more than enough”; it is the number of new beginnings. It is as though the writer is saying, “God’s Word is enough. If you have the Scriptures, that is all you need for life and godliness.” Indeed the Bible points us to Christ: He is the Living Word about whom the written Word speaks.1
“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22, HCSB)
In keeping with the number eight theme, let’s look at eight ways the Bible helps me to keep a God-focused life.
EIGHT WAYS THE BIBLE HELPS ME TO KEEP A GOD-FOCUSED LIFE
1. The Bible LEADS me.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105, HCSB)
The light illuminates the darkness. It reveals what is in the the dark. It can reveal a positive path. The light can reveal a negative path. When I following God, the Bible helps see which way to go. When I am not following God, the Bible will bring out to light what is wrong with me. It is not my words that tell someone they have done wrong. I point to what the Bible says is wrong and God uses His Holy Spirit to convict of sin.
For a disobedient Christian who still wants to be led by God’s Word, the Word of God will truly reveal what is wrong to that the Christian.
““This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.” (John 3:19–20, HCSB)
The Bible teaches me integrity, it teaches ethics, it teaches me right belief, but also right behavior.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, HCSB)
“For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age,” (Titus 2:11–12, HCSB)
Grace and truth teach me. They go hand-in-hand. If I lean too much on the truth, I become a lover of the law (a legalist). If I lean too much on grace, I become a lover of the world (a liberal) and open the door for sin to deceive me.
The Bible helps guide me in the right direction. The right direction is show Jesus by my good works.
2. The Bible DIRECTS me.
“I have solemnly sworn to keep Your righteous judgments.” (Psalm 119:106, HCSB)
The law of God is like an X-ray. It will reveal a problem but it can’t fix it.2
Laws are made for direction. If I obey laws, they send me in a positive direction. If I disobey laws, it sends me in a negative direction. The psalmist here is teaching that people who follow God follow His laws.
When I made a decision to become a Christian, I made a commitment to Jesus Christ and His church. The basis of living in that spiritual society is the Bible.
A citizen of the United States makes a commitment to be an American (whether by birth or immigration). In making that commitment, they choose to live by American laws, and specifically according to the Constitution. We are a society that abides by the “rule of law.” We have freedoms, but they don’t violate the law we set down for each of us.
In the same way, a Christian has “sworn” to follow the Bible. God’s righteous judgments, His “rule of law” is something we decide to follow. It includes a moral code, but it also includes a Commission.
Sometimes the Christian order is in conflict with the world order. Jesus said:
“Then Jesus told them, “Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him.” (Mark 12:17, HCSB)
His language is legal and emphatic. He will uphold the law of God as it applies to the situations of this life. His ethics are absolute rather than relative. They are not determined by the particular context within which he finds himself. At the same time, such a stance provokes persecution.3
3. The Bible REVIVES me.
“I am severely afflicted; Lord, give me life through Your word.” (Psalm 119:107, HCSB)
The Bible is there to give me life (or revive me) when I am hurt. I don’t know about you, but there have been many times when I been hurt, or I am feeling down. During this times, I go to God’s Word and it refreshes my soul. The words have healing power. Not because the book itself is magical, but because these words come from a God who is all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful. He knows what I am going through. He is there beside me. He has the power to help me.
In the movie Batman Begins, This scene is repeated in the final movie of that trilogy The Dark Knight Rises. Bruce Wayne is riddled by guilt because someone killed his parents. He feels the need to avenge their deaths by becoming a masked crime-fighter. So he goes around as Batman and fights with all these gadgets. At one point in the first movie, Batman gets attacked he his cape gets on fire. He is really scared and he asks for help from Alfred, his butler – who is a father figure. As he asks, the film reflects back to a scene in his childhood. As a child, Bruce Wayne fell into a well. He is completely scared and cries out for his father to help. His father comes down on a rope and tells him: “Why do we fall, Bruce? We learn to pick ourselves back up.” This scene is repeated in the final movie of that trilogy The Dark Knight Rises as Bruce Wayne (whose back is broken and has been placed in a prison) gets ready to climb out of the prison. In the same way, when we fall, we may hurt ourselves. When we read God’s Word the Bible, God is there to pick us back up.
4. The Bible INSTRUCTS me.
“Lord, please accept my willing offerings of praise, and teach me Your judgments.” (Psalm 119:108, HCSB)
When God’s Word helps through a difficult, painful time, I am more inclined to worship. As I worship, because I am more in-tune with God, I am more willing to listen to what He wants to teach me.
What does the Bible teach me? Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his catechism of the Holy Scripture taught that the Bible teaches three things:
Christ—only one thing is preached throughout the entire Bible, Christ the Lord, that he is our Lord and is the Son of God.4In both the Old and the New Testament. “… seek in Scripture!” John 5:39; Rev. 10; Acts 17:11.
The commandment and the good news.
The commandment is to love God and love one another. The good news is that Jesus Christ came to save us and lead us to eternal life – this is something precious we should share. Finally, the Bible:
3. It is the word for us: teaching and doctrine, chastisement, improvement, discipline in righteousness so that we ourselves may be perfect. 4
5. The Bible PREPARES me.
“My life is constantly in danger, yet I do not forget Your instruction.” (Psalm 119:109, HCSB)
There are so many difficult situations in my life. My life is continually at risk. So I need to get prepared each day for whatever life throws at me.
In her book, Set Free to Live Free: Braking Through the Seven Lies Women Tell Themselves, Saundra Dalton-Smith says:
The Word of God is like seeds that can be sown into your life. These seeds contain the potential to blossom into new hope, renewed joy, and a peace that passes all understanding. However, these seeds can easily be consumed before they have time to take root. Those things that bog down your life, leaving you mentally fatigued and unsatisfied, are like weeds taking over the fertile ground of your mind. Before reading God’s Word, spend a few moments cultivating the land. Remove rocks of unforgiveness, pull up weeds of anxiety, and plow through the hard soil of anger. Prepare your heart and mind to receive the seeds of promise in his Word. Allow his love to shine upon you. Allow his peace to flood you wherever you are each day.5
6. The Bible PROTECTS me.
“The wicked have set a trap for me, but I have not wandered from Your precepts.” (Psalm 119:110, HCSB)
I can choose to follow God’s Word, or not. The “wicked” are people who refuse to follow God’s Word. They don’t DOUBT the Bible’s authenticity. They DEFY the Bible’s instruction.
Because of this, I need Someone more powerful to help me. God, through His Word helps me. So I learn it and memorize it so that I would not forget it. God’s Word doesn’t just PREPARE me when I memorize it, God’s Word also PROTECTS me.
When I was in Boy Scouts, they taught us to never wander alone away from the group. If you did, you could get lost, or you could end up getting hurt. Of course, they taught us what to do when we got hurt and how to get help. But that didn’t mean we should go out and get lost.
Lost people are not protected. The Evil One in this world is out to set a trap for them. That is why the Bible teaches here that we have to keep God close to our lives. We need to get into His Word. The tendency is to say that even though I am a Christian, I don’t need God. I can get along without Him. The problem is that Satan wants you to use that lie to get you into a trap. So God teaches here that we should not wander off from His Word, from what He teaches us. Stay close to God’s Word and when you encounter difficult times, His Word will be there to protect you.
Looking back on this Psalm, we realize that God’s words are the means by which He imparts Himself to us. This is profound. Do you wish to be close to God? Draw close to His Word. 6
7. The Bible ENCOURAGES me.
“I have Your decrees as a heritage forever; indeed, they are the joy of my heart.” (Psalm 119:111, HCSB)
Psalm 119, sometimes referred to as the “psalm of the whole heart,” mentions putting the whole heart into one’s relationship with God. Whether in seeking God, keeping God’s law, praying for His favor, walking in His precepts, or crying out for help, the psalmist is committed to doing everything with his whole heart (verses 10, 34, 58, 69, 145). God wants whole-hearted people, not half-hearted people, to serve Him. He wants people with no backup plans whatsoever, people for whom He is the only resource.7
There are some things people can’t take away from you. That is your heritage. One of those things is your relationship with Christ. One of the reassurances of that relationship is the Word of God He shares with you. There is the written Word of God and the personal Word of God. The written Word of God is objective and it never changes. It speaks to us through all ages. The personal word of God (Rhema) is the specific way God speaks to you through your experience as that objective Word of God intersects with your life.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, HCSB)
“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, HCSB)
“Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 11:16, HCSB)
Let me give you an example:
“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10, HCSB)
This is my wife’s favorite verse. Because when she was going through a very hard time, God spoke to her personally through this verse. She was weak, but God was strong for her. Now, that verse is a testimony that she can share about her personal experience. She looks back at it and encourages her. The same will be true with you. God will speak to you through His Word. You will also experience Him through His Word as well. That experience when coupled with the Word of God will encourage you in times of difficulty. God’s Word is designed to give you joy during your journey.
8. The Bible MAINTAINS me.
“I am resolved to obey Your statutes to the very end.” (Psalm 119:112, HCSB)
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, HCSB)
“For All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached as the gospel to you.” (1 Peter 1:24–25, HCSB)
God’s Word is going to outlast this world. There will be an end to our lives here on Earth as we know it. God’s Word will still be there to help us to the end. The Scriptures help prepare us in this world to get ready for the next. Jesus says that His words would not pass away because He doesn’t pass away. The Bible will outlast every government, every natural disaster, every season. It is tried and true. For the Christian, the Bible is not just my guide in this life, it is my life.
When a plane takes off, it needs a control tower. The control tower can see what the pilots cannot. The pilots have a limited vantage point. They can’t see underneath or above them. The pilots, even with all of their instruments, cannot see all the weather conditions that will affect their flight plan. The folks in the control tower can provide the pilots information they wouldn’t have because of their limited vantage point,
The Word of God is the control tower for the Christian. Where we have only a limited vantage point, God’s Word can communicate to us what is going on in the spiritual realm that we can’t see.8
1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1993), Ps 119.
2 Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More Than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 185.
3 Donald Williams and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, Psalms 73–150, vol. 14, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989), 368.
4 Marginal addendum, deleted: “so that we might obey Christ and be blessed through Christ alone.” [This statement reflects Luther’s interpretation of Scripture, which he understands to be “the cradle of Christ.”—HGB]
4 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Theological Education at Finkenwalde: 1935–1937, ed. Victoria J. Barnett and Barbara Wojhoski, trans. Douglas W. Stott, vol. 14, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2013), 654.
5 Saundra Md Dalton-Smith, Set Free to Live Free: Breaking through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011).
6 Mary Farrar, Reading Your Male: An Invitation to Understand and Influence Your Man’s Sexuality (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2012).
7 David Jeremiah, Powerful Principles from Proverbs: Study Guide (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2002), 116.
8 Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More Than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 344.