by Joshua Chambers
Text: Psalm 119:129-136
Keeping (obeying) the word of God is the central idea in these verses. The aim of the psalmist is to increase our delight in the word so that we will obey the word.
1. Delight is the Root of Obedience (vv. 129-131)
God, the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists, has chosen to speak to us in His Word. His Word contains hidden mysteries which are revealed to his people — available to all who will take it up and read. That is simply amazing! Because the psalmist sees God’s Word as wonderful, therefore he obeys the it. From the core of his being he keeps the Word. Delight is at the root of obedience.
Beloved, if your delight is small, your obedience will be small. If your delight is great, your obedience will not be a burden, but the overflow of joy. If you respond to this text by saying, “I just need to work harder to obey,” you have missed it. It’s not about merely working harder. It’s not about legalism but joy. Christianity is not about forcing yourself to do the things you hate so God will bless you. It’s about delight.
If you have an obedience problem, the solution is not more effort but more delight. Be on the lookout for how wonderful the Word of God is. Delight is at the root of obedience. It all starts there.
2. Prayer is the Power of Obedience (vv. 132-136)
We see the psalmist pray in two distinct ways:
A prayer for God to bless
When you pray, quote God’s promises back to Him. Give Him reasons to do what you are asking Him to do. It will change the way you pray. Praying for yourself isn’t necessarily selfish. We must pray for ourselves. But the way do it is the key. If you give God reasons, according to His Word, you won’t be able to pray for yourself in a selfish way.
A prayer for God to save
God designed suffering for our good (Romans 8). But God knows how much we can take. We can be tempted to anger, grumbling and sin. So the psalmist asks to be delivered from a kind of oppression that would keep him from obeying the Word. It’s not a prayer for comfort or ease. It is a prayer for God’s glory. “Father, I want to obey Your Word because I love You and Your Word is wonderful to me. But in this situation I am so tempted to sin. Please bring relief because I don’t want to sin against You.”
How does the fact that Christ has come and confirmed a better covenant change the way we should read this Psalm? We should rejoice! We are still tempted to sin. We should certainly fight and pray for help. But we shouldn’t undermine the inheritance Christ has won for us and forget that we have been born again — our hearts are new. Sin has been conquered by His death and resurrection. And we have been given inherent power over sin to obey from the heart. Death no longer has dominion over Christ, sin no longer has dominion over you, beloved.
Now, pray and fight, trusting in that promise!