By Justin Randolph
Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Sevierville
Among all the books ever written, the Bible is absolutely unique. One of its most remarkable qualities is the complete unity of its overall message despite being written over a period of roughly 2,000 years by 40 different authors on three different continents who wrote in three different languages. These facts alone make the Bible one of a kind, but there are many more amazing details that defy natural explanation.
Shepherds, kings, scholars, fishermen, prophets, a military general, a cupbearer, and a priest all penned portions of Scripture. They had different immediate purposes for writing, whether recording history, giving spiritual and moral instruction, or pronouncing judgment. They composed their works from palaces, prisons, the wilderness, and places of exile while writing history, laws, poetry, prophecy, and proverbs. Yet despite all this, the Bible displays a flawless internal consistency. It never contradicts itself or its common theme of a rebellious people, a gracious loving God, and His offer of salvation.
Psalm 119 is the longest psalm in the book of Psalms. However, its focus is on one topic — God’s Word. The psalmist begins in verses 1-3 with the word, blessed, also translated happy. Happy are those who follow the path of the Lord. How do we know the path of the Lord? It is revealed to us through the Word of God. The picture here is of an athlete who runs without swerving off course; straining every nerve, muscle, and sinew in order that he might reach the goal. What is the goal? It’s not perfection. The psalmist does not mean in verse three that our lives will be sinless or perfect this side of glory. But, those who seek the Lord will display the character of God and avoid many of the pitfalls and traps of this sinful world. The reward for such a faithful life is to experience the joy God intends for those who love Him.
Because God loves us and has our best interest in mind, He has commanded that we heed and obey His Word. While we all still fail to follow perfectly the commands of our Lord, this desire should be our aim. The word translated “directed” or “committed” in verse 5 has a Hebrew root word that signifies firmness. We might refer to it as determination. In other words, God has taken extreme care in revealing to us His commandments and we do well to determine in our own heart to both understand and obey them because they lead to greater fulfillment and joy.
Lastly, in verses 7-8, the psalmist recognizes what Paul later wrote to the church at Rome. Obedience to God’s Word is an act of worship, a living sacrifice to God. Therefore, he commits himself in verse 8 not only to learn God’s Word, but to obey it. However, he knows he is unable to keep this commitment without the grace and power of God behind him. So, he prays for God not to abandon him as he launches forth in this effort.
God has promised believers today that He will neither leave them nor forsake them. This assures us that no matter what circumstances we may face, be it trials or temptations, God will not only show us the way, but enable us to walk in it. As we do, we will find ourselves being transformed into the people God created us to be as a testimony of His grace.