Anyone who has even taken a glance at Psalm 119 knows it’s not your typical psalm. It is, in fact, the longest chapter in the entire Bible. However, Riccardo did an excellent job of pulling out an underlying theme that we can discover all throughout this beautiful passage:
Engage the Word of God
How often do we walk away before listening to the entire presentation because we think that we “get the gist”? Or read steps one and two of the IKEA manual but then decide we’re better off assembling it ourselves, only to realize by around step thirty-three that we have it all wrong? Riccardo gave a great example of making assumptions: Reading the first sentence or two of a text or email and not finishing because we assume we know what the sender was going to say. Maybe sometimes, we will get it right—just maybe.
But often, we end up doing something completely different than what was intended for us. This often happens with the way we approach the Bible.
It’s safe to say most people in the world have not read the Bible in its entirety. Yet we, as Christians, have or should have a deep desire to do what God desires. And most of us would say that, overall, we have a pretty good grasp of how to honor his wishes. But there are times when we may be mistaken. The Bible says we know the God the Father by getting to know Jesus, and we know Jesus by reading his Word. So how can we claim to know what God really wants in all his fullness if we haven’t even read the Bible in all its fullness?
Now this isn’t a guilt trip by any means. This is a call to action.
Psalm 119:1-8 expresses a desire to know and keep God’s commands. The very best way that we can get to know those commands is to continually expose ourselves to the Word of God. The more we read it, the more it will transform our thinking, and most importantly, our hearts. As we read the Word of God, we get a more complete picture of the entire story of the world, who God truly is, and how we fit into His grand plan.
As we get to know the Word of God intellectually, Lord-willing we will begin to apply it, so that what we know to be true in our heads makes an impact upon our hearts and guides our hands to action:
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways. (37)
I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes. (48)
When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
I hasten and do not delay
to keep your commandments. (59-60)
My lips will pour forth praise,
for you teach me your statutes. (171)
And as we continue to soak up the truths in the Bible, we will begin to love the more and more, and our hearts will long for them and delight in them:
My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules at all times. (20)
My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word. (81)
Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors. (24)
As our church leaps into this year-long project of reading through the entire biblical story, I hope that you will join us. This is a beautiful opportunity to engage in the Word of God on every level so that we deeply know what we believe, we passionately feel what we believe, and we daily live out what we believe! As we embark on this journey of discovery and depth together, we can let these words resonate with us in a new and deeper way:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path. – Psalm 119:105