When Hurricane Wilma struck South Florida a few years back, one of the first things it affected was electrical power. I can vividly recall tracking the storm’s progress on one of the local News stations that day when, without warning, my power went “south,” not to return again until a few weeks later.
During the evening hours, I needed a light source to illuminate my way through my house. With my hurricane supplies at the ready, I grabbed the closest flashlight to light my way.
If light is a basic need for people everywhere, how much more important is it to have a “light source” for life itself? Considered the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119 is comprised of 176 verses which highlight one theme: The benefits of knowing and following God’s Word. As we briefly peruse this chapter of Scripture, we’ll discover the many benefits of knowing and obeying His Word.
God’s Word brings blessings.
This Psalm opens with the words, “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD” (NIV).
The word for “law” here is “torah” which means “instruction.” The Psalmist tells us that we are blessed if we walk through life according to the instruction God has given us.
Occasionally, I will meet someone who has made a major decision apart from God’s council, only to regret their decision later. On the flip side, I have also had the joy of watching God orchestrate His will in someone’s life as they submitted to His leading each step of the way. Whether our decision involves finances, relationships or employment, we will experience the blessings of joy, peace and His provision, as we follow His word.
God’s Word prompts personal purity.
Verse 9 asks the question, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.”
Personal purity is a characteristic of someone who is genuinely following Christ. The Bible exhorts us to remain pure in a number of areas, including our speech (Ephesians 4:29), our sense of emotional self-control (Ephesians 4:31) and in sexual purity (Ephesians 5:3). What’s more is that living a pure life brings joy.
In verse 14, the Psalmist says, “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.”
God’s Word brings hope in the midst of suffering.
Times of suffering are common to us all. The Psalmist was evidently experiencing suffering of some kind when this psalm was penned.
Verse 25 recounts the psalmist’s hope in God’s faithfulness when he writes, “I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.”
It is one thing to know God is good; it is even better for Him to have told us so! The psalmist knew of God’s faithfulness and of His promise to be faithful to him in his particular circumstance.
One of the greatest realities of the Christian faith – which is plainly absent from other world religions – is the sense of hope we have as believers in Christ. Of all the founders of major world religions, Jesus is one-of-a-kind. Jesus did not merely point out a path of truth but claimed to be the Way to God (John 14:6).
In fact, He claimed to be more than just a man and claimed to be the Son of God in the flesh (Mark 14:61–62, John 5:19–30 and John 10:30). If this weren’t enough, He was even resurrected from the dead, as history so amply demonstrates.
Clearly, One with such credentials gives me hope when He says of His followers, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10: 28).
God’s Word gives wisdom and strength in the face of persecution.
The psalmist writes, “The arrogant mock me without restraint, but I do not turn from your law. I remember your ancient laws, O LORD, and I find comfort in them” (Psalm 119:51–52).
It is never fun to experience the backlash of envy, rivalry and deceit from people who take no thought of anyone other than themselves. Yet, the psalmist found strength by remembering how good God had been in the past and by contemplating that the Lord would be good again.
In verse 50 the psalmist writes, “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”
Paul would expand on this truth and write, “ we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
God’s word is truly a “lamp to [our] feet and a light for [our] path” (Psalm 119:105).
The way to discover God’s guidance for life is to learn and study His written Word, the Bible.
I never cease to be amazed at the richness and depth of God’s counsel and wisdom in the Bible.
My senior pastor once exhorted us to make Bible study a hobby, because he said once we did, we would never want to stop reading the Bible and learning about the Lord. I couldn’t agree more.