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The Scriptorium

Word Power

What strength and comfort are in God's Law. Psalm 119.1-3

Psalm 119: Introduction (4)

Pray Psalm 119.12-14.

Blessed are You, O LORD!
Teach me Your statutes.
With my lips I have declared
All the judgments of Your mouth.
I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.

Sing Psalm 119.12-14.
(Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Be blessed, O God our Savior; teach us Your holy Word!
Our lips proclaim with favor the statutes of the Lord.
How great our joy, dear Jesus, to follow in Your ways.
What more than this could please us, or brighten all our days?

Read and meditate on Psalm 119.1-3.

Preparation

1. What is the state of those who walk in the ways of God’s Law?

2. How does keeping the Law empower them?

Meditation
The New Testament speaks of the Scriptures in terms of power. Hebrews 4.12 asserts that the Word of God is living and powerful. Jesus understood the Word of God to have power to sanctify our lives (Jn. 17.17). Paul believed that looking into the Word of God could transform us increasingly into the likeness of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3.12-18).

Such convictions are consistent with what the psalmist wrote concerning the Law and Word of God in Psalm 119. In his view, word power is at work in the Law of God to affect us in holy, righteous, good, peaceable, and joyous ways.

Walking in the Law of God and keeping His Word is the way to true happiness, erasing every defilement of soul and life, and strengthening us to resist temptation and the devil (vv. 1-3; 9-11; 67). The Word has power to comfort us in times of affliction (v. 50) and strengthen us in the face of mocking (v. 51). Reading and meditating on God’s Law can fill us with a sense of delight to sustain us during trials (v. 92). The Word of God emboldens and sustains us during times of persecution (vv. 157, 161). It brings us such abiding and pervading peace that nothing can cause us to stumble in our way (v. 165).

No wonder the Law of God is looked to as a refuge or shelter, a place to resort to for understanding, wisdom, guidance, and power to obey (cf. vv. 76, 77, 114, 143). It is a never-failing source of divine grace to keep, sustain, empower, delight, and embolden us for obedience, come what may.

Thus God’s Word is a true and reliable guide to life – full and abundant life in Jesus Christ (cf. vv. 9-11, 59, 60, 105). And so we pray, “Be blessed, O God, our Savior; teach us Your holy Word!”

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
To be blessed, I am told from a website, describes a believer as being in an enviable position for receiving God’s provisions (favor) – an extension of His grace. And this is true. But it is hard to grasp all the nuances of being blessed. It is almost easier to understand when we consider a few of the antonyms for blessed: condemned, damned, cursed, and disapproved. And we know for a fact, that we are none of those because of the gift of forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ.

But the Bible explicitly tells us that we are blessed if we are:
1. Undefiled in the way.
2. Walking in the law of the Lord.
3. Keeping His testimonies.
4. Seeking Him with our whole heart.
5. Doing no iniquity.
6. Walking in His ways.

We are blessed by His grace. “For by grace you have been saved…” (Eph. 2.8). And we are blessed if we do His commandments. “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD!” (Ps. 119.1)

“Praise the LORD!
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who delights greatly in His commandments” (Ps. 112.1).

“Blessed are those who walk not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor stands in the path of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and
in His law he meditates day and night” (Ps. 1.1, 2).

There is no getting around the connection between love for the Law of God, the doing of the Law of God, and being blessed by God Who is the giver of His Law.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O, what a foretaste of glory divine!
(Crosby/Knapp,1873)

For reflection
1. How would you explain the idea of being “blessed” to a new believer?

2. What’s the connection between the blessings and power of God’s Word and obedience to God’s Word?

3. Given the connection between blessing, power, and obedience to God’s Word, what could you do to increase in the blessings and power of God?

This psalm may be considered as the statement of a believer’s experience. As far as our views, desires, and affection agree with what is here expressed, they come from the influences of the Holy Spirit, and no further. The pardoning mercy of God in Christ, is the only source of a sinner’s happiness. And those are most happy, who are preserved most free from the defilement of sin, who simply believe God’s testimonies, and depend on his promises. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.1-8

Pray Psalm 1.1-3.
Ask the Lord to increase in you the blessings of reading, meditating on, and studying His Word. Call on Him to let the power of the Word of God be at work in you today to will and do of His good pleasure.

Sing Psalm 1.1-3.
(Ode to Joy: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee)
Blessed are they whose way is blameless, all who walk within God’s Law,
who, His testimonies keeping, seek Him, filled with joy and awe.
These are they who, no wrong doing, ever walk within God’s ways.
Lord, Your precepts You command us; we would keep them all our days.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in the series on Acts by clicking here.

What is the Law of God and how should we learn and obey it? Two books can help. The Law of God arranges the statutes and precepts of God’s Law under their appropriate number of the Ten Commandments. This book is an excellent tool for meditating on God’s Law and thinking about its application in our time. The Foundation for Christian Ethics, on the other hand, explains why the Law matters and how we are to use it. You can order free copes of each of these here and here.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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