There is more depth and height and breadth to God’s Word than I ever imagined. We pray that you have been filled up and refreshed by God’s sustaining power becoming activated as the Word is made alive in you.
Where should we venture next for our final Scripture destination? If you were looking for a grand finale, a magnum opus, a comprehensive review of the value of the Word, where would you look? In your search, you would eventually discover a unique and lengthy psalm that is wholly dedicated to glorifying God and His Word. You know, the chapter that goes on and on for pages, one hundred seventy-six verses to be exact — yes, Psalm 119.
Why is Psalm 119 so important?
Nearly every verse in this remarkable psalm refers to the Word of God using terms such as law, judgments, precepts, testimonies, commandments, statutes, way, and righteousness.
Charles Spurgeon shares his adoration for this treasured passage of Scripture with a helpful visualization:
“This wonderful psalm, from its great length, helps us to wonder at the immensity of Scripture. . . . Its variety is that of a kaleidoscope: from a few objects a boundless variation is produced. In the kaleidoscope you look once, and there is a strangely beautiful form. You shift the glass a very little, and another shape, equally delicate and beautiful, is before your eyes. So it is here.” (Spurgeon’s Commentary on the Bible, Psalm 119)
This psalm is also uniquely structured in an acrostic pattern, divided into twenty-two sections of eight verses each representing the 22-character Hebrew alphabet. Has the Lord here provided a metaphor revealing that His Word is our spiritual alphabet, the building blocks of our language of the Spirit?
Psalm 119 and Job
Reading this psalm simultaneously with Job has provided some fascinating insights. The voice of David and the voice of Job began to overlap in my mind, and I almost wondered if Job was the long-lost author of Psalm 119. The verses of longing and declaration sounded so much like the petitions and proclamations of Job. I could not help but notice how many verses in Psalm 119 refer to the value of suffering in our lives: “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71, ESV)
This discovery was not particularly comforting. I have to admit that much of my relationship with God is motivated by a desire to learn to walk in His ways so that I can acquire His blessing and protection. The verses that talk about finding life through death and growth through affliction are not my favorites. And yet, when pondering the life of Job together with the message of Psalm 119, it appears that God is more interested in my heart and my growth than in my ease.
For some reason, growth is rarely achieved without some measure of discomfort or even outright pain. Think of a baby’s birth, cutting teeth, learning to walk, limbs that ache during a growth spurt. God knows that this is the case, and He has provided relief in His Word: “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” (Psalm 119:50, ESV)
How does Job do it?
Alright, I admit that pain is part of life. So if affliction is coming, how do we endure these times of trial, valleys of despair, even attack on our bodies? When Job suffers unimaginable loss and painful disease, he refuses to curse God and die, although this might have been a tempting offer. How does Job remain steadfast?
As far as we know, he does not even have the written Word of God. He cannot turn to the Psalms for comfort or instruction. Jesus has not yet paid the final sacrifice to break the power of sin and death. Seemingly, Job is at a great disadvantage, and yet he does not give up on God. How does he persevere?
Treasure the Word
Job treasures God, and he is treasured by God. His life is sustained by his heart for the Lord: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21, NIV)
When everything else falls apart, and destruction is loosed in his life, Job discovers that there is an unshakable foundation beneath his feet, the Rock of his salvation.
Satan has no clue when he attempts to wreck this man’s life, that Job has an inner strength that will never be broken. The accuser falsely believes that Job’s dedication to the Lord is contingent on the blessings that he enjoys in his life. He is shocked to learn that Job’s inner strength is not based on his wealth, comfort, or health. In fact, Job’s determination is galvanized by affliction.
Despite mounting afflictions, Job is slowly apprehending that he has a fire in the pit of his belly that cannot be quenched by any suffering that the enemy launches against him.
Job proves that the Word is his treasure, just like David professes: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11, NIV)
In the midst of his suffering, Job is tempted by the bitter comfort of self-pity and self-righteousness, but he chooses instead the sweet refreshment of God’s commandments and precepts.
Our Declaration Verse takes on a profound weight when we realize that the Word of God is rooted deeply in our hearts, spread out into every thought, impulse, word, and deed that nourishes us from the inside out. We think that we do God a favor by tasting and enjoying His Word, but we do not realize that it is He who does us a favor, for we would wither and starve without His sustaining power coursing through our veins, bringing life to our weary spirit.
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103 (NIV)
The sweet refreshing in Job’s mouth which ignites the fire in his belly, establishes the rock beneath his feet, and creates the very breath in his lungs is none other than YHVH, the Hebrew word for Yahweh, the life force that sustains us.
The Source of Everything Good
When you turn to Jesus as your Savior and the Word as your nourishment, you experience the joy and liberation of abundance, even if your circumstances do not change. You experience that there is nothing more satisfying than a banquet table laden with God’s promises in the company of the Lord Himself.
God’s Word is indeed a multi-faceted kaleidoscope, full of color and brilliance. When I started this journey, I did not realize that I was going to be led into new vistas. I was living in a kingdom that appeared to be flat, but as I embarked on a pilgrimage to find the horizon, I realized that the world was round and endless and breathtaking. There is no end to the mystery and majesty of God’s Word and God Himself. What a satisfying discovery!