The Power of God’s Word – Life Altering (pt. 2)
“In a cellar in Cologne, Germany, after World War II were found these words on the wall:
I BELIEVE. . .
I believe in the sun,
even when it is not shining;
I believe in love,
even when I feel it not;
I believe in God,
Last week we looked at an earlier portion of Psalm 119 (vv. 25-32) in which we saw six statements related to God’s Word. Remember that the chapter is an extended acrostic poem made up of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order, and its main them is the Word of God. The Word of God is essential for the spiritual life of every Christian.
When the world rejects the Word of God, and even professing Christians exchange the Word of God for the wisdom of man, where will we stand? We live in a world filled with confusion, where do we look for answers? When our minds are spinning where do we look to reorient ourselves? Psalm 119:169-176 describes the faith-filled prayer of the psalmist looking to God for help through the Word of God and for deliverance because he has chosen dedication to God’s Word. This morning we are going to see the power of God’s Word illustrated through 8 encouragements related to God’s Word.
Ask God to help you think biblically (169).
The psalmist asks God to hear his cry for help. This is what desperation looks like, but it is properly answered by faith as the believer prays. He asks God to give him insight/understanding through the Word of God. When you are in need of a proper perspective, do you look to God’s Word? He is asking God to provide him with understanding (for his present situation, for life) through the Word of God (cf. Rom. 12:1-2). Remember, this necessitates reading/hearing God’s Word. One must have knowledge of Scripture to receive an answer to such a request. The Word of God provides God’s wisdom (Ps. 19:7-11; Prov. 3:5-8).
J.I. Packer wrote, The Christian principle of biblical authority means, on the one hand, that God purposes to direct the belief and behavior of his people through the revealed truth set forth in Holy Scripture; on the other hand it means that all our ideas about God should be measured, tested, and where necessary corrected and enlarged, by reference to biblical teaching.”2
Ask God to help you think biblically.
Trust in God’s promises to you (170).
The psalmist asks once more for God to hear his request as he lifts up his prayer. It is a request for God’s favor. He asks God to deliver him from whatever precarious position he is in, which would be in accordance with God’s promise to him to do so (Ps. 119:81-88, 65-68). Something that must be recognized is that God has not given a blanket promise to deliver believers from trial nor death in this earthly life. What are some promises that God has made to N.T. Christians? Some examples – eternal security (Rom. 8:31-39); peace in the midst of trouble (Phil. 4:6-7); conformity to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:28-30); his Word is sufficient for our spiritual needs (2 Tim. 3:16-17); provide for our needs (Heb. 13:5-6); provide wisdom (Jas. 1:5-8); answer prayers according to his will (1 Jn. 5:13-14); etc…
Trust in God’s promises to you.
Praise God for his teaching (171).
The psalmist desires to praise God because God teaches him from the Word of God. The desire to praise God necessitates God’s help – allowing him to live, enabling him to think and act properly so that he will praise God for his teaching. God’s teaching is indispensable in the life of a believer (Ps. 119:97-103, 129-130, 140). J.I. Packer wrote the following in his book Concise Theology, “Christians should be grateful to God for the gift of his written Word, and conscientious in basing their faith and life entirely and exclusively upon it. Otherwise, we cannot ever honor or please him as he calls us to do.”3
Praise God for his teaching.
Praise God because his commands are just (172).
The psalmist desires to sing about God’s Word because all of God’s commands are just (Ps. 119:64). He is seeking God’s enablement to do so. The psalmist recognizes God’s righteousness demonstrated in his commands (Ps. 119:137-144, 159-160). God is just and so is his Word (Tit. 1:1-3; Heb. 7:17-18). God is always true and just (Rom. 3:3-4; 9:18-24).
Praise God because his commands are just.
Choose God’s Word (173).
The psalmist asks God to be ready to help him because he has chosen God’s precepts – to obey them (cf. Ps. 119:30-31, 33-36). He has chosen God’s Word over the ways of this world (Ps. 119:72). As a result, he looks to God for help and asks for God to help him whenever he is in need (Ps. 119:92-94).
Choose God’s Word.
Delight in God’s Word (174).
The psalmist longs for God’s salvation/deliverance, which could be deliverance from an immediate enemy, deliverance from all enemies, or eternal deliverance (likely it refers to deliverance from all enemies – Ps. 119:81-96). Not only does he long for God’s Word because it is just, it reveals God who is the source of all true joy, and it is truth (cf. Ps. 119:14-16, 24, 47-48, 103-104, 161-168).
Delight in God’s Word.
Look to God’s Word for help (175).
The psalmist asks God to let him live so that he can praise God. If he lives longer on earth he can continue lifting up praises to God. He does not know much about the afterlife, he knows for certain that he can praise God while he lives. God is in control of when life begins and when it ends. The psalmist recognizes this truth. He also looks for help to come from God’s ordinances. He is asking God to help him through the Word of God (Ps. 119:113-117).
Look to God’s Word for help.
Do not forget God’s Word (176).
The psalmist acknowledges that even though he loves God and his Word, he still repeatedly wanders from God (Rom. 8:14-25). He is like a lost sheep, and he asks God to come find him – he wants his shepherd to bring him back. He asks God to bring him back because he has not forgotten God’s commands. This is the only request one can make when faced with the reality of having sinned against God again (genuine repentance is the goal – 2 Cor. 7:8-11; 1 Jn. 1:9). When a genuine believer sins God’s brings correction/discipline/chastening (Ps. 119:65-80; Heb. 12:4-11).
Do not forget God’s Word.
Christians must trust in God for help through his Word and through his deliverance, which results choosing dedication to his Word.
THINK – Trust in God for help and deliverance results from dedication to his Word.
FEEL – I need more of God’s Word.
DO – Spend consistent, quality time in God’s Word.
Because of God’s Word, my next step today is to:
__ Commit to reading the Bible five days each week for this year (for at least 5-10 minutes each day).
__ Commit to memorizing one Bible verse each month of this year, in addition to spending consistent, quality time in God’s Word.
__ Commit to reading through the Bible using one of the Bible reading plans Pastor Bruce made available.
__ Commit to meditate on what I have read in God’s Word by keeping a record of what you have read. You may use the following guide (or your own system, it is simply to get you meditating on God’s Word):
Mark or make note of words/thoughts that stand out or impress you.
Date _____________ What I read today _______________
Best thought I marked/noted today: ________________________
How it impressed me: _________________________________