What a great day to be reading the book of Psalms. Today we, instead of reading several psalms read only one. Just one very very long thought that has to do with the power, position, proclamation, presentation, promises, principles, precepts, preservation, and prominence of God's word. In and of itself and in our lives. Today we read Psalm 119, one of my favorites. There are SO many good verses in this chapter that it is imposible to try and isolate a one or two to talk about. As many of you probably know, or are assuming after reading this chapter today, Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It is also the longest most elaborate and most developed acrostic in the Bible. It is broken into 22 different sections of 8 lines each (or 8 verses). Each line in each section begins with same letter. And each section moves onto the next letter in the alphabet. (in english this would be like having eight lines all starting with the letter A followed by 8 lines staring with the letter B and so on until the alphabet was complete) This is lost to us since we are reading an english translation of the bible but that is why each of the 22 heading's in today's reading has a hebrew letter and title above it. It is a literary masterpiece using the most basic of building blocks, the letters of the alphabet, and using them in such a way as to communicate the importance of "THE WORD" of God.
This truly is a literary tour de force. The eight line structure under each letter of the alphabet really does set the structure or framework for the whole psalm. The pattern seems to be that there are 8 synonyms used in almost every single section for the focus of the psalmists attention; The Torah. (God's Word. Remember the New Testament has not been written yet)
It is a literary monument in honor of God's revelation of himself to Israel (and ultimately to us as 21st Century Christians). It's whole purpose is to point to God's commands, precepts, promises, i.e. his word, as being trustworthy and at the center of our lives as believers. It is to be what we look to for answers in times of joy, sorrow, trouble, frustration, blessing, and so much more. God HAS given us the answers for life. Will we take the time to look them?
So often we find ourselves, figuratively speaking, groping around in the dark looking for answers and a way out of the situations we find ourselves in. But God never intended us to be there to begin with. Every verse in this great psalm is a declaration to the truth that can be had and the comfort we can find if we would just trust and listen to his word, not our whims.
The world is the great pretender, it promises the answers to life but fails on giving the results. Gods word is true and worth our putting trust in. It never fails. Pastor Ted has often called, for example, the ten commandments the "Ten Don't Hurt Yourselves." God has a much better way of doing things in life but we sometimes chose the dark ally as option number one don't we? We look at the lit path and convince ourselves that, "It just doesn't seem to be right for me at this point in time. I think I will check my options."
Studies, and statistics are showing in increasing fashion that people who claim to be evangelical or born again christians are less and less looking very different than the world. Just today I read an article about how around half of young evangelicals are choosing to live together before marriage and have at some point or are currently engaging in premarital sex. And this is a trend that has been moving upward at an increasingly and alarming rate in the last several years. The problem is that in this same group of people a much higher percentage of them claimed that their faith was important to them and that they believed in the Word of God and the truth that was in it.
It this was really true why is there such a big disconnect in people saying the believe it to be true and living as if God didn't really mean it? It is a troubling trend. And it is not just in the area of premarital sex that we see this trend. This is an issue that runs to the core of our thinking and is having similar results on all facits of life. As a culture we have replaced God's word as the authority in our lives for the conventional wisdom of this age. This psalm like no other points to the centrality that God's Word should play in our lives, and for me, drives to want even more of it in my life. I want to be the biggest sponge I can be when it comes to God's word. Just as we read today: "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
It is a challenge. And one that I am excited to take on. I hope that if you have been reading with us through the Bible this year that today's reading brought joy to your heart as you have been living out what this psalm talks about. Making the Bible an increasingly more central part of you walk with the Lord. Seeking and finding God is the greatest adventure anyone could embark on.
For those who have just joined us or are thinking about joining us on this journey, I welcome you to what could be the greatest year of spiritual growth you have ever had as we continue to journey together as one body, the body of Christ, through God's word.
I look forward to more of God's promises, more of God's plan and more of God's wisdom as we continue to seek His face and His will for our lives. Thank you all for letting me be a part of that journey with you. For fun read through this psalm again tonight and really consider, with honesty and a prayerful heart, where you are at in your "trust level" with regards to God's word.