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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Psalm 119:97-104 - Loving God's Word

The psalmist has a deep love for God’s Word. We can see this in the first word of verse 97, ‘Oh.’ A lot can be said in a small word. If we love someone, we will think about them most of the time. The psalmist shows his love for God’s Word by meditating on it throughout each day (v. 97). He does not say how he did this, but he must have used his memory. After all, he did not have a Bible to put in his pocket. But when it is in our memories we can take it with us all the time.

In the next three verses, he mentions three benefits of meditation. First, it enables him to deal wisely with those who oppose him (v. 98). Thinking daily about God’s Word transforms our thinking and we will then usually know what to say in difficult situations.

Second, daily meditation on God’s Word made the psalmist wiser than his teachers (v. 99) – he is not suggesting that his teachers are ignorant. Instead he is merely stating a consequence of such meditation. The way to grow in knowledge is by constant reflection on the Bible.

Third, daily meditation on the Scriptures had given more understanding to the psalmist than those whom one normally assumed would know the most, that is, the aged (v. 100). Here the psalmist adds another feature of daily meditation, which is to obey what the Bible says. Meditation will reveal to us many reasons for obeying God’s instructions.

Of course, the psalmist is aware of his own responsibility (v. 101). Every day he has a choice whether to spend time with God’s Word or to engage in a sinful practice. As someone has said, ‘God’s Word will keep us from sin or sin will keep us from God.' Therefore the psalmist determined not to engage in any wrong practices because the Lord had taught him the folly of even one sin (v. 102).

Something else had happened to the psalmist as he meditated – he discovered the sweetness of God’s Word (v. 103). At times, we might find the Word of God is dry. When that happens, the cause of the problem is lack of meditation and the cure for the problem is return to meditation on God’s Word.

The Word of God will give personal sweetness to every person who reflects on it. In the Bible, there are many sources of satisfaction. Primarily they are connected to Jesus and what he did, is doing and will do for us. So we should always ask if there is a connection to Jesus in the passage we are meditating on.

It is not surprising that the psalmist concluded by stating his hatred for every false way (v. 104). Meditation on God’s Word had given spiritual understanding and he wanted to know more. The question that comes to us is, ‘Do we imitate him and experience what he found in the Bible?’

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