Delighting in God’s Word
We have been welcoming a few different pastors to speak at Radiant Church this summer, and this week we are excited to welcome back our Senior Pastor Keith Welton. Below, you can listen to his sermon on Psalm 119, “Delighting in God’s Word,” watch our whole service, and use the outline for a reference.
Missed last week’s sermon from JK Balraj, entitled “Our God Does the Impossible”? You can listen to it and watch the whole service here.
Delighting in God’s Word
If you could have any car in the world, what kind of car would you want? I had always wanted an old Corvette Stingray. Maybe you want a Mustang Shelby, or even just a nice pick-up truck or Jeep.
Something happened when I turned 30. I now had a wife and two kids, and to go to church required as much stuff as going somewhere for a week. We had strollers, diaper bags, pack-n-plays. And we had a Nissan Altima that felt like a the size of a smart car. So we needed a new car. We needed a mini-van.
Never in my life did I think I would drive a minivan, but on the way back from the dealership after purchasing a brand new swagger wagon, I was looking at all the room in the back seat, I was pushing the button to lower and raise the windows, and they actually worked! I was stoked about my new car. It was awesome! And I knew at that point that I was officially middle-aged!
There are points in life in which we go through a change, a change in which things we may not have valued now have a value to us. And we don’t have simply a tolerance of it, but an actual delight. I had friends in high school who had mini vans for their first car, and they did not appreciate it. But as a dad, I loved my new van. I delighted in it.
As Christians one of the great changes that has occurred or is occurring is that there is a delight in God. Not just a, “Well I have to do this.” But a “Wow, I love to do this.” One of the ways we see this change is in our approach to God’s word .Reading and knowing God’s word becomes a delight.
We are going to read a Psalm today that is about God’s word. It is about the place God’s word has in our life. It is about the attitude and disposition of delight in God’s word. It shows that our disposition is not one of, “Man I have to do this,” but “Wow, I get to do this.”
Psalm 119 is not only the longest psalm, but it is the longest chapter in the Bible. It is made up of 22 sections. Each section consists of 8 lines, and in each section the first word of each line begins the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, so each section corresponds to a different letter. It is a thoughtful reflection on the word of God and shows us the importance of it in our life. We are going to read the first two sections.
Sermon Scripture: Psalm 119:1-16
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.
9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.
We should delight in God’s word because in it we discover how to find blessing, direction and praise.
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! 2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,
Some versions translate blessed as happy. “Blessed is the person,” or “Happy is the person.” This is not a blessing like one is praying for God to bless them. This here is more like a congratulations. A recognition of one who is blessed.
This tells us those who are are blessed. Who do you think is someone who is blessed? Typically we think people who have a lot of stuff. Here the one who is blessed is the one who is blameless. “Who walk in the way of the Lord. Who keep his testimonies.”
God is the source. Everything comes from God. Without God there is no life. No light. He is like sun to a garden.
You could have great soil, the best fertilizer, the best spot in the yard. Those are all great things. But if there is no sun your plant will lose life. God is the source of our life. Vacations are fun. Stuff is nice to have. But those things do no give us life. Life is in God. When we come to him we come to the source of all blessing.
You can be blessed by God and be going through a really hard time.
“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” (Psa 119:92 ESV)
Psalm 1 talks about the blessed person being like a tree planted by streams of water:
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.” (Psa 1:1 ESV)
Hard times will come but when we have our roots in who God is we will stand strong through those hard times, even producing fruit.
I used to pray for God to give me good grades, help me get a good job, provide for me. And I still do that. Jesus said to pray for our daily bread. I like to eat. I want to eat. But there is something more important that just getting stuff from God. I want to know God. That is the biggest blessing we can ever have.
Blameless is a way of saying “blessed.” Blameless means one is whole, complete, without any defect.
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!” (Psa 119:1 ESV)
“be ashamed,” means to be put to shame, disconcerted, disappointed.
“Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.” (Psa 119:6 ESV)
When we do something wrong we often seek to cover it up. When I was little, I was playing with paint in the utility room closet and sprayed the wall. So I moved a bike to cover it up. Then I had to find a reason to put the bike in the room so I moved my toys to where the bike used to be. My dad asked where my bike was, so I told him I liked my toys better in the new place. Then he asked why in the world the bike was in the utility room. I had to make up another lie. Then he thought it was a dumb idea so he moved the bike and saw the walls with paint on, and so I told him my friend next door must have done it. So he said he would go over to my friend’s house to talk to his parents. I caved. I couldn’t take it, and I was filled with shame. It was shameful to lie like that. If I told the truth I would not have experienced guilt.
God’s ways are better than our ways.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD,” (Psa 1:1 ESV)
This is why you want to walk in God’s ways. Keep your way pure.
- Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! (Psa 119:1 ESV)
- Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, (Psa 119:2 ESV)
- How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Psa 119:9 ESV)
- Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! (Psa 119:36 ESV)
This psalm is about God’s word. We know God through his word. God is too pure, too holy for us to be in his presence. We love his word because we come to know him through it. We know him definitively. He reveals himself to us. He wants to be known.
This also means that there is a way that is blessed. There is a way that is pure. It also means the converse is true: There is a way that is not blessed, a way that leads to destruction. There is a way that is evil. It means you have to choose whom you will serve. Will you follow God and walk in his ways?
God’s word is a protection to us. It tells us what is right and what is wrong. For Christians, God’s word is our ultimate source of truth. It’s an authority (precepts, commands) over us.
God’s word keeps in line with what pleases God. It keeps us in connection to him. You need God’s word to know when you are getting out of line.
-when you start to lie about who painted the utility room wall
-when you start to sneak around and do things you don’t want your parents to know
-when you say something on text that you wouldn’t want anyone else to know about
-when you start to think things about yourself that are not true: nobody likes me. I don’t have any friends. I’m a terrible person. God doesn’t love me.
This is why there is such a pursuit in this passage to know God’s word. By knowing his word you know God, definitively. He says who he is, says what he has done. This gives you hope, direction, encouragement.
“I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word” (Psa 119:16 ESV)
“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Psa 119:18 NIV)
We have spiritual blinders. We have an enemy of our soul that does not want us to follow God. The world would love for us to fail. We have to acknowledge that. We have to want it. We have to want God. We need to humble ourselves and say that we don’t see as we should. We need to say to him, “I need help knowing you, God.”
We want to come like clay in a potters hand.
We also see praise. Who likes to share good news? We all like to talk about good things that happen. How about when we read God’s word?
“Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes. Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” (Psa 119:23-24 ESV)
“When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes!” (Psa 119:26 ESV)
“My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!” (Psa 119:28 ESV)
Now some people will say, “I can’t believe you would let the Bible be your source of truth.” Well, everyone has something that they appeal to for guidance, authority, truth. Some people look at a horoscope that is a randomly chosen, or wishful thinking. Some people will look to figures (Oprah, famous athletes). Some people define themselves with political parties. All of those are limited in their understanding and offer no true hope. They do not reveal to us God’s ways. We might see God at work in them and in their shortcomings, but God’s word is how God speaks to us primarily. It’s just a matter of how good the authority you are appealing to is.
Those things don’t teach you what is right and wrong. They can’t do that. That don’t give you any hope of how you can have your shame taken away. The Bible is history but not just history. It teaches morals but it is not just morals. It reminds us there is a God who loves us, wants us to know him and be in relationship with you.
C.S. Lewis once said: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
More than just knowing it is a place for answers, I want you to know it is here because God wants a relationship with you. **If you are ever at a point where you feel forsaken, you feel abandoned, you feel lost, I want you to look over at your Bible and know this book is here because God wants a relationship with you. He wants you to know him, to know what he has done, and to know who he is.**
He is not there just to make your dreams come true. He is there to change you.
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'” (Romans 10:14-15 ESV)
Parents, you are called to lead your kids in knowing God and knowing his word. How are you implementing it?
What is your plan for reading the word? What is your plan for leading others in reading the word?
If you want to be fed you need to read the word. I was playing tennis with some guys this week and we started asking how each other was doing. At one point a guy started talking about the need to care for himself and you can’t serve your family if you aren’t. He said it feels selfish, but it is important. That is so true. One of the best ways to care for yourself is to read the word. To know God. One of the best things you can do for your family is to nourish them with the word that you are being fed by. That is spiritual leadership.
Start spending time with the Lord. Make it a priority. 30 min a day. Read for part of it. Pray for part of it. Pick a book of the Bible and start going through it. Underline things that stand out and you want to remember. Don’t understand something? Put a question mark by it. Think about how it should shape your day and pray for help with those things.
If you don’t feel like it, ask God to change you. Help you to see wonderful things in it. Join a Discovery Group here at Radiant Church!
As you are reminded of his blessings, of his direction, of his salvation and the relationship he wants with you, you will be changed.