In the first half of this second strophe of Psalm 119, we saw the psalmist’s desire to study Scripture, and the joy it brings. In this week’s passage, we can see four practical ways to put this into practice. Take a look at Psalm 119:13-16:
Studying Scripture is a key aspect of developing a vibrant and growing spiritual life. This means more than just a simple reading through of God’s Word, although that is a great start. But it is when we take that Word and really dig into it, studying it and even memorizing it, that we begin to see the full effect it can have on our growth.
In the first half of this stanza, the psalmist shared his desire for God’s Word, and the joy it offers. In the second half, these four verses, he gives four practical ways to implement God’s Word into our lives.
While there is some debate about how old the psalmist may be as he wrote this, one idea that seems to be likely is that this psalm is a sort of spiritual journal for King David. As such, it contains aspects of his spiritual growth through different periods of his life. In that case, these strophes at the beginning may represent his younger life, while those towards the end could have been written later in his life. I do not know if this is the case, but it certainly fits with much of this psalm’s structure.
In light of this possibility, it seems as if the psalmist, probably David, is writing to encourage young readers, maybe because he is young himself at this point. As he does so, he gives four simple and practical applications to inserting God’s Word into every area of our lives.
Verse 13 – He recounts all God’s laws
One of the easiest ways to retain information is to teach it to someone else. Studies have shown that we retain 10 percent of what we hear, 50 percent of what we see, 70 percent of what we say, and 90 percent of what we hear, see, say, and do. In other words, When we take what we have learned and teach it to others, it is much more likely that we will retain it better. While application of God’s Word is of huge benefit, repeating what we learn helps us to hold on to it much more securely.
Verse 14 – He rejoices in following God’s statutes
We tend to remember the good things and forget the bad or negative things. And since the good things make such an impact on our memories, it stands to reason that the things we intentionally take joy in will remain longer in our minds. Rejoicing can take many forms, from quiet joy in daily Bible study to corporate worship with the whole church body. But the more joy you find in God’s Word, the more it sticks in your mind.
Verse 15 – He meditates on God’s precepts
Meditation is simply the pulling up what we have already studied and mulling over it again and again in our minds, gaining more spiritual nourishment from it. Think of a cow chewing a cud; she regurgitates what has already been eaten, to chew on it again, releasing more nutrients into her body. We do the same when we meditate on what we have read, allowing God to continue to use his Word to impact our lives.
Verse 16 – He delights in God’s decrees, and refuses to neglect them
This delight is not the same word that was used in verse 14, rejoice. That word indicates a festive, excited celebration. This word is more of a settled, reflective satisfaction and joy. Both are expressions of joy, so what more is to be found in this final step? It’s the exhortation to not neglect God’s Word. Our study and memorization of Scripture must become a top priority in our lives. We can allow nothing to drown it out. And the fact that this final statement carries a future tense rather than a past tense indicates that it is a commitment the psalmist makes to God. We would be wise to do the same.
These final four verses of the second stanza shows the author’s commitment to stay faithful to the study and memorization of God’s Word. He recognizes that it is perhaps the most critical element of his daily walk with God, and the only way he can stay connected to the source of life. He is willing to make it the foundation of his life.
That is my commitment as well. Is it yours?
Question: How solid is your commitment to Scripture? Is it a consistent, daily part of your life? If so, what benefits have you seen from it? If not, what do you need to do to make it so? You can leave a comment by clicking here.