Text: Psalm 119:97-104
What we love, or who we love, affects what we do. This is true of our relationship with God as well. Jesus said. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments… Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me” (John 14:15, 21).
That’s a central them revealed in our text this week: To love God is to obey Him. To love God is to know His word and joyfully embrace His will for our lives. And the way the psalmist communicates this, it’s not an obligation – it is a celebration. He’s expressing his love for God’s word, and how it has made him wise so that he knows how to respond to others and live a life pleasing to God.
1. True wisdom is cultivated by loving God’s Word. (vv. 97-100)
Kids love birthdays and Christmas. Why? Because they get presents. Adults like presents too. But as you grow older, you began to appreciate the people who gave the gift more than the gift itself, because of the love shown to us.
That’s how a love for God’s word is increased. It is cultivated. It is a growing value of not just the gift, but the Giver. Not just the blessing, but the God who blesses. We grow to love His word because we are growing to love Him.
So, after proclaiming his love for God’s word, the psalmist connects that love to wisdom. And what follows are some comparisons… he is wiser than his enemies, than his teachers, than the aged. At first, this looks boastful. But as we look closer, we realize it’s not the writer boasting in himself and his own wisdom. The psalmist is boasting in God’s wisdom found in God’s word. He says in v. 98, “Your commandment makes me wiser…” It’s God who gets the credit because it’s God’s word making us wise.
Knowledge is the raw information, understanding is knowing how that information fits together, and wisdom is knowing how to apply that to everyday life. And to love God’s word means we will love the wisdom God gives.
2. True wisdom is applied by obeying God’s Word. (vv. 101-104)
I read the Bible, I grow to love the God of the Bible, I meditate on His promises, on who He is and what He’s done for me. That motivates me to love Him, to trust Him, and to want to live my life by His wisdom. That’s how this connection between a love for God’s word leads to obeying God’s word.
The psalmist reflects on several incentives we have for obeying the Bible:
- The wisdom of God’s word guards our hearts and lives from sin (v. 101)
- The Bible is God Himself teaching His people (v. 102)
- God’s Word is sweet and pleasant for our souls (v. 103)
- God’s Word gives us understanding and grows us in sanctification (v. 104)
Nothing changes us like the love of God. And knowing how much God loves us causes us to want to trust and obey Him. “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
We are able to love God only because He loved us first. That’s what we see when we open the pages of the Bible – God’s love for His people. It’s undeserved and it’s unearned. It is immeasurable and it’s powerful.
See that love Jesus has for you. And in that see His word – not as a burden, but as a gift, to free us to live in His wisdom, in His truth, with His love, for His glory.