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Experience the Word

Gotta live it. Psalm 119.129-136

Psalm 119.129-136

Pray Psalm 119.132, 133.

Look upon me and be merciful to me,
As Your custom is toward those who love Your name.
Direct my steps by Your word,
And let no iniquity have dominion over me.

Sing Psalm 119.132, 133.
No Other Plea: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place)
Look on me, Lord, with mercy as on all who love Your Name.
Direct my steps to keep Your paths, and all Your Word proclaim.
Yes, let Your Word my shelter be; rule over all my soul,
and keep me from iniquity; my every way control.

Read Psalm 119.129-136; meditate on verses 132, 133.

1. What kind of action is suggested in these verses?

2. What affections would the psalmist have been feeling?

It’s too easy to reduce Scripture reading and study to a merely intellectual activity. Of course, it’s important to apply our minds to the Law and Word of God, thinking, reflecting, analyzing, summarizing, and so forth. But remember that Jesus is the central theme of all Scripture (Jn. 5.39), and He cannot be reduced to a mental construct.

To know Jesus is to experience Him in every facet of our soul and life always. Psalm 119.129-136 offers us an opportunity to think in a more varied manner about what knowing Jesus entails. Let’s consider some words from this stanza to help us experience the Word more fully.

First, wonder (v. 129): Wonder is that gobsmacking-I-never-saw-that-before-would-you-look-at-that experience of having Jesus emerge from a passage of Scripture as if from a stereogram. We are wowed and humbled, excited and even a little fearful – all at the same time.

So, no wonder we open our soul wide for the Word to enter like a two-edged sword (v. 130)! Disrupt my mind, Jesus! Pierce my heart! Reset my values and priorities! Call on Jesus to refocus your thoughts, realign your affections, and reconfirm your choices. Wait in silence as He does so. Then hunger and thirst for more of the same (v. 131).

Naturally, that kind of exposure to Jesus will make you call out for mercy (v. 132), pleading to know, confess, and repent of your sins, and holding out your hands for Jesus to take you in His love.

Then off you go into your Personal Mission Field. Keep in step with the Word and Spirit as you march through your day, making sure that every next step and word lines up with what Jesus is doing in you (v. 133). And keep a sharp eye out for temptation so that you grow through rather than fall through it.

From time to time throughout the day, turn your face upward to heaven and let the knowledge of the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ shine down on you (v. 135; cf. 2 Cor. 4.6). Then allow yourself, in the Sonshine of His love, to weep for lost people and all those who scorn God’s Law (v. 136).

Jesus is with us always. Let’s work harder at realizing His transforming power in all we do.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
When we take up the challenge of working harder to realize God’s transforming power, we see that all power for change comes directly from Him. The psalmist realized this too. Let’s listen to his requests: “Look at me; be merciful to me; direct me; don’t let sin get me” (Ps. 119.132, 133).

It is as if we are all in a play, and before the director calls for “Action” we each claim our role. God is the character who does everything demanding power. He looks at us with eyes of love and sees Jesus and His work of redemption for us. He responds in mercy to us. He directs our steps and guides our lives through His Word. He protects us from evil and gives us the wherewithal to resist temptation and not fall into sin.

Next, we are given our role to play. We are instructed to sit in the light of His love, grace, and mercy. We are to stand in His forgiveness. We then get to rejoice in His Spirit living in us. We show delight in His Word. We emote and respond conclusively in love for Him. Not a difficult character to play. How hard is it to show love to Someone Who loves you perfectly? Well, not hard at all.

In the real world there is one caveat, however, as we bask in His love for us: He has work for us to do in His Kingdom that some days seems harder to do than others. Here goes: “We love Him because He first loved us”. On that we all agree. But “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 Jn. 4.20, 21). As glorious as the love is, you see, there is difficult and challenging work for us to do.

We are a people, blessed beyond measure. We are loved by God—fully, completely, generously, and mercifully. This knowledge will cause us to look “upward to heaven” to “let the knowledge of the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ shine down on” us—to experience the Word fully and completely, which then gives us the impetus to get busy in our Personal Mission Field for the Kingdom’s sake.

“Remember me, O LORD, with the favor You have toward Your people.
Oh, visit me with Your salvation,
that I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones,
that I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,
that I may glory with Your inheritance” (Ps. 106.4, 5).

That my actions may be full of love for You and others. Always.

For reflection
1. Is there a difference between knowing the Word of God and experiencing it? Explain.

2. Why is your Personal Mission Field a perfect place to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2.12)?

3. Make your own prayer out of these words: “Look at me; be merciful to me; direct me; don’t let sin get me” (Ps. 119.132, 133). Pray this prayer throughout the day.

In vain does divine truth sound in our ears, if the Spirit of God does not effectually pierce into our hearts. The Prophet confesses that it is to no purpose for him to read or hear the law of God, unless his life is regulated by the secret influence of the Holy Spirit, that he may thus be enabled to walk in that righteousness which the law enjoins. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.133

Pray Psalm 119.129-131, 134-136.
Wonder, understanding, longing, being shown mercy, walking, keeping, basking in, learning, weeping for: Here are some ways to experience this stanza of Psalm 119. Ask the Lord to bring you to these experiences throughout the day.

Sing Psalm 119.129-131, 134-136.
No Other Plea: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place)
Your testimonies, Lord are sweet; I hide them in my soul.
Your words give light unto my feet, and make my thinking whole.
I open wide my mouth to You: Lord, feed me with Your Word!
I vow that all You say I’ll do: I love Your precepts, Lord.

Redeem me from oppression, Lord, from those who hate Your way,
that I may keep Your holy Word and serve You day by day.
Shine on me with Your glorious face; Your servant, Lord, am I.
So teach me by Your holy Word; Your grace to me supply.

Lord, see the world in lawlessness, how love has grown so cold.
Look down, O Lord, to save and bless; let grace and peace take hold.
Though many look on You with awe, rejoicing in Your Word,
I weep for those who void Your Law and spurn Your grace, O Lord.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can learn to read the Bible to see and delight in Jesus more completely. Our book, The Joy and Rejoicing of My Heart, can show you how. Learn more about this book and order your free copy by clicking here.

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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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