Description / Transcription
Let’s pray as we come to God’s Word. Your Word, O Lord, is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Accept our offerings of praise, O Lord, and teach us Your rules. The wicked may have laid a snare for us, but we do not stray from Your precepts. Your testimonies are our heritage forever. They are the joy of our hearts. We incline our hearts to perform Your statutes forever, to the end. In Jesus we pray. Amen.
Well, it’s the first Sunday of the New Year, and I know that New Year’s resolutions often get a bad rap, especially among Christians. They can be legalistic. People say it’s just an arbitrary turn of the calendar page or they simply don’t work… All of those things can be true. But I always find myself with some renewed motivation just to see that calendar turn from December to January, and so I don’t know if you do this, but I am typically writing down some sort of New Year’s resolution, some way I want to be a better husband or father or pastor or new goals for eating or for exercise. I just know now to stay away from the Y on January 2, ‘cuz it’s the fullest day of the year. Just wait a couple weeks until all the quitters are done. [laughter]
Usually my New Year’s resolution has something to do with the Bible and prayer. To think about, okay, what is my Bible plan going to be? What is, how am I going to get myself organized? How can I grow in reading God’s Word and praying in the New Year? And so quite often you will find, and I know this is only the second January that I’ve been here, but I like to take the first week or two in January to focus our attention on the Word of God and prayer, and so we have a sermon this morning on the Word of God, next week a sermon on prayer, before we come back to the series on John.
And yes, I’ll be up front, I hope that one of the applications you will consider is in 2019 to pray more and to read your Bible more. I know there’s lots of ways to get at that, that’s finger wagging and legalistic and shame on you and if you don’t do it you can’t be a good Christian today, and those things are not true. And yet, I challenge you to meet a growing Christian who is not reading the Bible and praying with some regularity. In fact, if you were to think of the godly, mature, seasoned saint that you would love to become, and you picture that person in your mind, whether that person is just a few years older or twice as old as you, I can almost guarantee that that person who you look up to as a model of Christian maturity and grace and wisdom, that that person has had a reliable pattern of reading the Bible and praying.
It’s not the end-all and be-all of Christianity and we all miss our quiet times and there is no eleventh commandment that says “and thou shalt have a quiet time every morning,” and yet we see the pattern of our Lord even taking time to withdraw and to pray. It is hard to have vibrant Christianity without regular time in the Word and in prayer.
Our text, as you already can tell for this morning, is Psalm 119. It is the longest chapter in the Psalms and it is the longest chapter in the Bible. It is a song of praise for God’s Word. You can see, and I hope you have it open in front of you because we’ve read almost all of it already, and we’ll read some more later in the service, so we’re not going to go through and now read through it again, but you’ll want to have it open on your lap because we’re going to bounce back and forth and look at a number of different verses. You can see how it’s laid out: 176 verses, and you see in your Bible the heading every eight verses, “aleph, beth, gimel… ” Those are the letters in the Hebrew alphabet. And this is an acrostic poem, so each of those stanzas of eight verses (it doesn’t show up in English), but in Hebrew they begin with that letter of the alphabet.
So the first verse begins with “aleph,” second verse “aleph,” third verse “aleph,” so on all through verse 8. First word of verse 9 begins with “beth,” verse 10 “beth,” and so on. So 8 times 22, 176 verses.
We have all sorts of different words for God’s Word, you notice: Law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, rules, promises, word. You can find at least one of these words in 169 of the 176 verses, and in many of those verses you get those words more than once. Slightly different shades of meaning, focusing on what God wants, what God appoints, what God commands, what God has spoken, what God has promised, but they all center on this one big idea: God’s verbal revelation to His people, spoken by the prophets, and now inscripturated and written down, inspired by the Holy Spirit for us.
Psalm 119 is a love poem about the Bible. Have you ever thought about that? The longest chapter in the Scriptures is a love poem about the Bible.
I bet that some of us have tried our hand at a love poem or two back in the day. Yesterday was my anniversary; you’ll be glad to know, and my wife will be glad to know, I did not pull out any of my old love poems to present before you. Hopefully, they have long since been incinerated somewhere. But I imagine that not a few starry-eyed young men and women crank out some poetry when they fall in love, and most of us are not actually very good at poetry; it’s more than just rhyming every now and again.
Some love poems are exquisite:
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.”
Hmm, I wrote that for Trisha yesterday. [laughter] It’s really good, meaningful. No, that is Shakespeare’s 116th sonnet, exquisite love poem.
Some poems are not as good. I found, for example, some love poems that a young man, I think in a moment of self-reflection years later put on the internet, these were poems he wrote while he was a sophomore in high school:
“Look, there’s a lonely cow.
If I were a cow, that would be me.
If love is the ocean, I’m the Titanic.
Baby, I burned my hand on the frying pan of our love.
But still, it feels better than the bubble gum that holds us together
Which you stepped on.” [laughter]
A lot of metaphors happening there.
He has more poems:
“Girl, you make me feel like gum on the bottom of a desk.”
So there’s a gum theme sort of in his [laughter]…
“When you touch my nose, I’ll never forget the way you eat your Frosty.
I need your love to keep me warm like the fires burning inside of us,
Pushing us over the edge of insanity,
Keeping us so close together in heart and yet so far apart in miles.”
And then here’s my favorite of this young man’s poems. It’s short, but I think it really speaks to the ethos of many a young high school man:
“Girl, you make me brush my teeth, [laughter]
Comb my hair, use deodorant,
Call you, you’re so swell.”
Wow, that is amazing. [laughter]
And there are many young women here saying “yes, if only he would brush his teeth and comb his hair and use deodorant he could write me all the poems he wants.”
We tend to look back on our old poetic exuberances with some embarrassment, not only because it’s almost always very bad poetry, but sometimes we look back and we think “wow, I was really, really, really passionate.” It can almost be awkward to read such unbounded enthusiasm in such poor, un-metered form. Especially if some marriage has grown cold and you look back and you think “how did I ever feel that way?”
I wonder if we read a love poem like Psalm 119 and sometimes we, we, if we’re honest, we feel a little bit of that same embarrassment.
Look for example at verses 129 and following:
“Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commandments.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
Redeem me from man’s oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.
Make your face shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.”
Now, honestly, you read through that and you think “wow, the psalmist is a little overboard” or “he’s a sort of dramatic person, he’s taking some poetic license.” And that may be our gut level reaction when reading Psalm 119. Maybe that’s what you think of when you come to this psalm, besides thinking “wow, my Bible reading plan is really getting out of whack today.” You think “does anyone really feel this strongly about God’s Word?”
Maybe you’re tired and discouraged or it’s just hard to keep that emotional fevered pitch, or perhaps if you’re honest, you read something like Psalm 119 and in your heart you go “mmm, yeah, right.” You think “hehhh, I don’t know.” Maybe you think the Bible’s full of mistakes, or maybe you think “why, no, I have good theology, it’s not full of mistakes, but it’s, it is kind of boring, and it’s confusing, and it seems irrelevant in large parts, and I don’t really get what the psalmist is talking about. It seems like an embarrassing love poem.”
Well, here’s my aim in this sermon, is that this song, this poem, would be the song in your heart, my heart. That this love poem would be your passionate poetry, using God’s words to describe your heart with regard to the law and the commandments and the statutes and the rules and the promises and the testimonies.
I want you to notice three things: Number one, what the psalmist believes about God’s Word; number two, what he feels about God’s Word; and number three, what he does as a result of what he believes and feels about God’s Word.
So first, I want you to notice what the psalmist believes about God’s Word. And think to yourself, is this in fact what I believe about God’s Word? We notice he believes that the Word is true.
Look back at verse 42, “then I shall have an answer for him who taunts me for I trust in Your Word.”
Verse 142: “Your righteousness is righteous forever. Your law is true.”
Verse 160: “The sum of Your Word is truth.”
Over and over again, he describes this Word, it is entirely trustworthy.
Isn’t it hard to know what we can really trust? You go to school to get an education and you go to a leading university and you find yourself sifting through well, can I really trust that this professor is saying? You listen to politicians and most of us instinctively figure “well, I don’t think I can trust everything that this man or woman is saying.” And then you have the journalists and you have the news reporters commenting on those politicians and you’ve learned over the years, “well, I can’t really trust what they’re saying.”
And so you have fact-checkers and now you know you can’t trust the fact-checkers. You have fact-checkers to check the fact-checkers. You can’t trust everything you read on the internet, did you know that? It’s a famous saying that Abraham Lincoln once mentioned, “you can’t trust everything on the internet.” I read that.
You can’t even trust your own eyes. This book is more trustworthy than even what you take in with your eyes.
Do you remember, you can Google this later and see it for yourself, but there was a few years ago, there was this famous commercial for Dove beauty products. The commercial was called “Evolution.” It’s about a minute long and they have a young woman who’s sitting down and she’s a normal-looking young lady who’s sitting down. She has nice features, but there’s, there’s nothing particularly remarkable about her. And she sits down and then with very fast motion, sort of time lapse, they show her getting all the makeup on and getting the hair done and getting it blown out and being transformed into this new sort of person and what they’re doing with eyebrows and face and lips and then they take all the, the photo shots and blow back the hair and you have this striking picture, and then the time lapse continues, and you see somebody, obviously on a computer, doing the, uh, the touch up. And so they, they make her eyes bigger and they raise up her eyebrows and then they, they make her neck longer and they take down some of her shoulders and put, accent the cheekbones, and by the time it’s all done, the last picture is this shot of her on a billboard in a city with people walking by. And then there’s a little line at the end that says “And you wonder why we have such unrealistic standards of beauty.”
You would walk by and you would see, well, there’s a strikingly beautiful woman and not even realizing that you can’t trust your own eyes, and this is not actually what a real person looks like. It’s a real person with an army of beauticians and makeup artists and then computer-generated fact-checkers to lengthen and enlarge and you can’t even trust what you see.
The Word of God is entirely true, always true, even more reliable than our own senses.
Verse 89: “Firmly fixed in the heavens.” That means it does not move.
Verse 96: “There is no limit to its perfection.” So it does not corrupt.
Verse 160 says it endures forever, so the Word never wears out.
If you think to yourself “I’m so confused in life, I just want to hear what is true. What’s true about me, what’s true about the world, what’s true about the future, what’s true about the past, what’s true about the good life, what’s true about God… I just want someone to tell me what’s true.”
The psalmist says the Word always tells you what is true.
Jesus said “sanctify them by the truth, Thy Word is truth.”
The psalmist believes that everything in this book is true. He also believes that the Word always demands what is right.
So look again at some of these verses.
Verse 75: “I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.”
Verse 86: ” All your commandments are sure.”
128: “I consider all your precepts to be right.
137: “Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules.”
So he looks at all of God’s commandments and he says over and over “they’re right, they’re right, they’re right.”
Have you ever found yourself in your heart reading some part of God’s Word and you go “I guess I’m a Christian, I guess it’s the Bible, I guess I’ll follow it, I guess I’ll believe it, but I don’t like it.”
Now there’s two ways to look at that sort of attitude. On the one hand, there’s something noble about that. You’re putting to death your own desires and saying “okay, I’m going to follow it, I’m going to believe it even though I don’t like it. I don’t like what the Bible says about Hell. I don’t like what the Bible says about sexuality. But there it is. I’m going to embrace it.”
There’s something good, but there’s something wrong with that, as well. You never get the sense that the psalmist is just sort of folding his arms and saying “okay, I don’t like Your Word.” He’s come to a point where his heart is so intertwined with God’s Word that he says over and over “it is right, it is good, it is for me.”
God is not laying down arbitrary commands. He does not issue orders in hopes that we will get tangled up and be miserable. He never demands what is impure, never asks what is unloving, never calls us to what is unwise. His commands are not cruel and unusual punishment.
And if we don’t like the commands of God, it says something about our heart toward God Himself, because all of His laws are a reflection of the law-giver, always noble, always just, always righteous. They are always true, they, they demand what is right. They provide what is good.
Go back to the beginning of the psalm: “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep His testimonies.” In other words, this is the way of happiness. This is the way of life. This is not a book to enslave you; it’s a book to set you free.
Look at verse 6: “Then I shall not be put to shame.”
It’s one of the tricks of the devil to give you misplaced shame, and it even happens now as a world and as a culture becomes more and more un-Christian, that you may find yourself out of step with the world and feeling ashamed, ashamed for believing what God’s Word says, ashamed for believing things that so many of your friends find absolutely barbaric. That’s what the devil wants: To be ashamed for all the wrong things, and to feel no shame for the things that are truly shameful.
Verse 9: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word.”
Verse 24: “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.”
Now the Bible doesn’t mean to tell us everything about everything. It’s not going to tell you how to change the oil in your car or how to build a, a rocket, or how to perform an appendectomy, but do you believe that God’s testimonies are your counselors? That the Bible is your counselor? Not just for, well, sure the Bible’s good for, you know, just normal people who are happy generally and they’re just having a bad day and they need a verse so just tell ‘me to, you know, all things work together for good and they’re cheered up. But I got real big problems, and you don’t know my family. We got things that show up as disorders and we got all sorts of issues, and the Bible’s not good for those.
Oh, really? The psalmist says the testimonies, they’re my counselors. God knows me better than anyone. This book knows me better than any other book. The Word of God provides strength, verse 28; the Word of God provides wisdom, verse 130; the Word shows us where to go, 105. And as you’ve noticed before in that famous verse, 105, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path.” The image there, you’ve noticed before, is not that the Word is a blazing sun to show me everything that I need to do in the future, but rather it’s a lamp to your feet, the next step, one more day sometimes, one more hour, a light to your path, how to follow Christ. Not everything you might want to know, but what you need to know for this day.
What are you absolutely convinced of? Do you believe that everything in this book is true and right and good? You know, a child may think “well, my parents are basically true, but you know what? The older I get, the rules don’t always seem right and I’m not sure they always want what is best.”
An athlete may be convinced that his coach’s rules are right, and yet understands no coach is infallible.
You may think your best friend is always on your side, always out to help you, but she does not get everything correct. Her advice is not always wise.
There is no person, there is no institute, there is no book like this book. The Bible can be trusted in every way to speak what is true, to command what is right, to provide us with that which is truly good. Do you believe what the psalmist believes about the Word? That’s the first point.
Here’s the second: Let’s look at what he feels about God’s Word. It’s one thing to say “yes, check, check, check, check, check… I believe that about God’s Word.” But now notice what he feels about the Word. Over and over we read that he delights in it.
Go back to verse 14: ” In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.”
Could you find yourself delighting in riches? You could do a lot of good things with riches. A lot of nice vacations and, and home improvements and cars and good things for your kids and new technology, trinkets… All sorts of things you could delight in. He delights in His Word as much as in all riches.
Or look at verse 24 again: “Your testimonies are my delight.” We find the same language in verse 47 and 70 and 77,143, 174.
Do you notice in this psalm the emotive language he uses to describe the Word of God?
Look at verse 103: “How sweet are your words to my taste.”
Verse 111: “Your testimonies are my heritage forever. They are the joy of my heart.”
129: “Your testimonies are wonderful.”
Is that how you feel about God’s Word? Sweet, joy, wonder.
Now maybe some of you say right here “look, I’m not a reader. I didn’t go to seminary and even when I went through school, I never liked reading things. I’m not a smarty-pants type and I don’t listen to sermons on my way to work. I don’t do podcasts, I don’t read books for fun. I’m, I’m not one of those people. I’m never going to delight in God’s Word.”
But think about it. I bet there are times in your life when you delight, to hear someone speak or read something on a page. Don’t we delight in reading something if we know there is great benefit in hearing it? If someone stood up, the executor of some wealthy estate of a deceased relative and says “okay, we’ve gathered the family here, I now want to read from the will, we’re going to hear the apportionment of all of the wealth,” wouldn’t you suddenly be attentive? ‘Cuz this reading, and after the executor, you say “now give that to me, I want to pore over it myself, make sure I didn’t miss anything,” because you know it has great benefit to you.
Wouldn’t you listen or read if something had great danger involved? Okay, there’s a, there’s a bomb here. I need one of you to defuse it, and we have a set of instructions. Even the men would read those instructions, I think. Because you know there’s great danger in not getting this right. Okay, this is very careful, I want to make sure the green wire goes with the black wire, and read this…
Or don’t you read things when they’re about you? I mean, that’s why, you know, when you write a Christmas card and you write about yourself and your family, you go on and on and on and on, and what you don’t know is that the people who open that say “picture? Oh, there’s something written. Hmm.” [laughter]
But you like to read it, about you. You might even do as I do sometimes and call family, “hey, I wrote the Christmas letter, you’re gonna want to listen to it. It’s about us.” You like to read things about you.
And we’re not always so self-centered. We, we like to hear things and read things about epoeple we love. So you do probably actually read most, some of those Christmas letters.
If your, if your son or daughter away at college wrote you, you’d be shocked! “Honey, gather ’round, he wrote us an e-mail! With words!” [laughter]
You’d read it because you love him and you want to know how he’s doing. You read about someone we love.
So think about it. If we would read something if it has great benefit to us, and if we don’t get it right there’s great danger, and if it’s about us and it’s about someone we love, well, isn’t that the Bible? All of those things can be said about the Word of God. There’s great benefit in hearing what God has to say. There’s great danger if we don’t pay attention to these things. It is, on one level, a book about us that speaks to us, tells us about us, and then it’s also a book about someone we dearly love, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So you don’t have to be a straight-A student to delight in the Word of God. The psalmist knew what he could find in God’s Word, and so he delighted in it. In fact, over and over, the psalmist professes his love for the commands and the testimonies. “I love it, I love it,” he says. And the flip side is that he also experiences indignation when God’s Word was not delighted in.
You see, for example, in verse 53: “Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked who forsake your law.”
136: “My eyes shed streams of tears because people do not keep your law.”
139: “My zeal consumes me because foes forget your words.”
Or verse 158: “I look at the faithless with disgust because they do not keep your commands.”
Now that language may seem harsh, but that’s a testimony not to how open minded we are, but to how little we love God and His Word.
As I said, yesterday was my anniversary and I have, like all of the other husbands here, an amazing wife. And if someone said “I’m not interested in hearing about your wife,” or someone spoke disparagingly about my wife, would you think it was a measure of my great tolerance and open-mindedness that I said “that’s fine, happy for you to have that opinion, to each his own”? No, wouldn’t you think it a better sign that I was a good husband, a better sign of my love, if I said “your statements disgust me. I shed streams of tears because you don’t recognize the beauty that I see.”
Well, it’s the same thing with God’s Word. Extreme delight in someone or something naturally needs to extreme disgust when others consider that person or that thing not worthy of their delight.
It isn’t that we’re, you know, putting a finger in everyone’s chest and saying “you need to become a Christian,” but I hope you weep. Or whatever culturally appropriate thing you can find yourself to do to express emotion. And some of you say “well, I’m just not a very emotional person.” Oh, yeah? Have you ever been with you when you’re watching football? You have emotions.
Say, “you don’t know the God I know. You don’t see the beauty in this beauty that I see. How can I not shed tears? You don’t delight in that which is most delightful.”
He feels this delight. He feels this desire. I count at least six times the psalmist expressed his longing to keep the commands of God.
Verse 5: “O, that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes.”
Verse 20: “My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.”
I count at least 14 times the psalmist expresses a desire to know and understand the Word of God. It’s true for every one of us… Our lives are animated by desire. It’s what literally gets us up in the morning. It’s why depression is so debilitating because it is the stripping away of desire, hope, joy, any sense that the day has something to offer.
It’s what the psalmist lies awake at night thinking about. Desire is what we dream about, what we pray about. And you have all sorts of desires, so do I. You have desires for relationships, desire for children, grandchildren, desires with your job, career, a promotion, opportunity, getting out of debt, a house, a vacation…. Maybe bad desires for revenge or recognition. There are all sorts of good desires, all sorts of bad desires. Most of us have a jumble of them at work in our hearts, motivating us all the time.
Well, in the midst of all of that, do you have a desire to know and understand and keep the Word of God? The psalmist so desire the Word, he considered suffering to be a blessing if it helped him to become more obedient.
Verse 67: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your Word.”
Verse 71: “It is good for me,” I mean, this is a hard thing to say, brothers and sisters, “it is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”
I don’t want to minimize any of your suffering, and I wouldn’t pretend to know all the things that God is doing in the midst of it, but certainly this is one thing God means to do, whenever we suffer, and that is in the midst of affliction that we might learn His statutes. He delights in it, he desires it, he depends upon it.
Verse 31: “I cling to your testimonies, O Lord.”
So he feels his great need for it. He’s desperate for it. The psalmist is saying there are lots of things I need in life, but there are few things I truly need to live, but this is one of them: God’s Word.
You remember in the book of Amos, the greatest calamity to fall upon God’s people was the famine of the hearing of the words of God. God expects not just a cognitive affirmation of His Word, but a visceral response.
Verse 161: “Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words.”
Do you notice the contrast? He’s not in awe of princes, he’s not in awe of presidents, he’s not in awe of the powers that persecute him… He’s in awe of God’s Word. He desires it, he depends upon it, he delights in it.
We’ve seen what the psalmist believes, what he feels, and then finally, quickly, notice what he does as a result of what he feels and believes about God’s Word. You can think of this way: What bursts forth, the geyser of action, when underneath is all this pressure of belief and feeling? If you’re believing this, if you’re feeling this, then what’s going to shoot out of you in action? Would we see what it looks like? What does the psalmist do because of what he believes and feels about the Word of God?
Well, he sings. Verse 172: “My tongue will sing of Your Word.”
He speaks of the word. Verse 13: “With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.”
He studies it. Verse 15: “I will meditate on your precepts.”
He stores it up. Verse 11: “I have stored up Your Word in my heart.”
He obeys it. Verse 8: “I will keep your statutes.”
He praises God. Verse 7: “I will raise you with an upright heart.”
And he often is praying for help. Verse 58: “I entreat you with favor, with all my heart.”
And we could multiply those examples tenfold. Did you notice the seven things he does? He sings, he speaks, he studies, he stores up, he obeys, he praises, he prays.
You can almost memorize that. Sing, speak, study, stores up, obeys, praises and prays. That’s what he does with the Word of God. They’re not only seven points of application, they’re seven points of implication, meaning if you’re doing those things, they imply something about your heart and your faith. And if you’re not doing those things, they imply something about your heart and your faith. Because if you’re singing God’s Word, speaking God’s Word, studying His Word, storing it up, obeying it, praising God for it, and praying for help through it, then even if you can’t articulate all of the theology of the Word of God, then you’re probably believing and feeling the right things.
And conversely, even if you may be able to articulate a good doctrine of scripture, if you’re never singing and speaking and studying and storing and obeying and praising and praying, then you at least have to ask the question, what do I really believe about it? What do I really feel about it?
So you work forward, here’s a good application. But you also work backward, if I don’t experience delight, if I don’t have a desire, if I don’t depend upon it, what am I believing? If I’m believing, what am I feeling? And if I am really believing and feeling it, when what am I doing to explode in activity with the Word of God?
What you feel about the Word, what you believe about the Word, are absolutely crucial for your life. And there could be almost nothing better. I’m sure there are things better, but almost nothing better that you could do in this new year, than to commit yourself anew to reading God’s Word.
I’ll tell you very practically, you want to know, one of the New Year’s resolutions that I made? I’m six days in and I’m six for six so far, check back, I won’t get 100%. It’s very simple. Many of you do it already, but I need help. And that is to make sure I spend time in the Word of God in prayer before I touch my phone. It would be a simple thing. Be a good thing for your, for your kids, too. You know, I’ve given this saying before, I heard John Piper say one time, “Maybe God invented Facebook to remind us all that we really do have time to pray and read our Bibles.”
All the time, going through, you don’t think you spend 10 minutes there? 15 minutes? A half hour? Hour? I’m just saying, okay, Lord, there it is. I’m not going to touch that, not going to see what the world has to say to me, until I sit down and make sure I have this time in Your Word and in prayer.
What you feel and believe about God’s Word reflect what you really believe and feel about God Himself. Because think about all we’ve been learning in the book of John. He is the Word made flesh, which means among other things that all the attributes of God’s verbal revelation—truth, righteousness, power, veracity, wisdom, omniscience—all of those are found in the person of Christ.
All that the psalmist believed and felt about the words of God is all that we should feel and believe about the Word of God incarnate. So that it’s always true, our desire, our delight, and our dependence on the words of scripture do not grow inversely with our desire, delight, and dependence on Jesus Christ. Some people say that, well, I’m about the capital W Word, not the little W. No, they always go together. They always rise together, or stagnate together. The most mature Christians thrill to hear every love poem that speaks about the Word made flesh and every love poem that celebrates the words of God.
Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, we pray that You would help us with these things. Get our minds right if we are not believing what we should. Get our hearts right if we are not feeling what we should. Get our wills right if we are simply not carrying out what we say we believe and feel about God’s Word, and may it be for so many of us in this room that 2019 would be a year of greater delight in Your word. We pray it in Jesus’ name. Amen.