Updated: Jul 21, 2019
Have you ever had one of those "Congratulations! You've been chosen to receive a free gift!" messages pop up on your phone or computer screen? They usually pop up at the most inopportune time and though they claim to have "no strings" attached, we all know there are strings attached! Most "free" things are not really free.
But God's grace...God's grace IS free. The Amplified Version defines grace as God's "unmerited favor and blessing." John says of God's grace:
"For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift." John 1:16 AMP
One of my Bible study teachers described God's grace using the phrase "wave upon wave". My mind automatically went to the ocean. The waves are constant. They hit the shore day and night; sometimes a gentle lapping back and forth; sometimes with hurricane strength, slamming into the shore with such force trees snap and buildings crumble.
This is God's bountiful grace. Sometimes His grace is a gentle lapping across the shore of our lives. A sweet reminder of His presence when we are rushed. The timely call of a friend when we are discouraged. The quiet hush of His voice whispering His love for us when we feel alone. Other times God's grace is so strong it takes our breath away. His grace crashes over us, breaking strongholds and crumbling barriers. God's extravagant, bountiful, free gift of grace gives us life and freedom. Paul explains in Romans 5:17:
"For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." NIV
Though David lived centuries before the advent of Jesus, he understood God's grace well. He understood it is only because of God's grace we have life at all. David was well versed in the history of sin. He knew the stories of Adam and Eve, the dawn of sin, and God's gift of grace that covered that sin. He knew of Noah, God's destructive judgment, His protective grace, and redemptive promise. He knew of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. He could trace God's bountiful grace throughout the history of his people. He saw how time and again God bestowed grace and mercy on sinful man. He had experienced this grace in his own life; wave upon wave, so he could confidently cry out, "Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live!"
David wasn't asking God to deal bountifully with him in order to live the way he wanted. No, David was asking God to be generous toward him in order that his life could bring God glory. His cry is reminiscent of God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:2:
"And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favor] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others]." AMP
What is your motive when you ask God to be generous toward you - so you can increase in fame or so you can point others to Him? Why do you obey God's Word - to receive His blessing or to bring Him glory and be a blessing?
If God's grace is bountifully wonderful, God's Word is wonderfully bountiful. David knew God's Word. We've seen how he hid it in his heart, how he meditated on it, pondered it, delighted in it. Now David pleads with God to open his eyes and allow him to see wondrous things from His Word. God's Word contains treasure upon treasure. David studied and loved God's Word and he wanted to know even more of it. Yet, David's Bible didn't contain the greatest of God's treasure! Paul said of the Old Testament:
"For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ Himself is that reality." Colossians 2:17 NLT
Within the pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are found the most wondrous of all Words for they contain the life of the One whose name is Wonderful - Jesus. Within the pages of Scripture we have access to things the angels long to know.
"The prophets who told us this was coming asked a lot of questions about this gift of life God was preparing. The Messiah's Spirit let them in on some of it - that the Messiah would experience suffering, followed by glory. They clamored to know who and when. All they were told was that they were serving you, you who by orders from heaven have now heard for yourselves - through the Holy Spirit - the Message of these prophecies fulfilled. Do you realize how fortunate you are? Angels would have given anything to be in on this!"
1 Peter 1:10-12 MSG
What is your attitude as you open God's Word each day? How do you read it - as if you are searching for great treasure, or simply to check a box on your Christian to-do list? Do you realize how fortunate you are to have the full counsel of God's Word literally at your fingertips?! What changes do you need to make in order for God's Word to take priority in your life?
We should cry out as David asking God to open our eyes to see wonderful things each time we open His Word. His Word is "active and alive" (Hebrews 4:12) and He longs to speak to us through it. James tells us:
"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 NIV
God doesn't find fault with us when we don't understand His Word. He doesn't judge us for our lack of comprehension. What He does find fault with is our failure to open His Word. Jesus told those who believed in Him:
"You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32 NLT
We cannot remain faithful to what we do not know and we cannot know what we do not study. We need to make our hearts cry that of David's: "Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your instructions." Psalm 119:18 NLT
Like Paul standing broken and blind before Ananias, we need to have God remove the scales from our eyes in order to understand His Word. We must come before our God with all our brokenness, humbly standing in the blindness of our ignorance and ask Him to give us sight; to open our eyes until we see clearly the treasures found in His Word.
Prayer is a very important, but often neglected part of Bible study. Anytime we pick up God's Word we should first pray this prayer of David, asking the Spirit to open our eyes to see what He desires to teach us. Truly without God's Spirit enlightening our minds, we cannot see what God desires us to see and know of Him and His Word.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:17-18 is:
Asking God into our Bible study allows His Spirit to guide us into new insights and deeper understanding.
The more we know of God's Word, the more we know of Him. And the more we know of Him the more we realize this world is not our home. Like David we proclaim: "I am a stranger on earth!"
The writer of Hebrews declared:
"For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come." Hebrews 13:14 NLT
We are not to become so attached to this earth that we forget our heavenly home. Yet all too often we fail to remember we are just passing through. We become comfortable with this world - its ways, its pleasures, its things. Perhaps this is why David beseeched God not to hide His commandments from him. David was king. He had every treasure and comfort available for man. He could have easily slipped into worldliness and forgotten or set aside God's commandments.
Not many of us have royal status. However, we live in a time when it's easy to get lost in the world's ways. We become comfortable and lose our way. We begin looking to the world for our wisdom. We follow the newest fad without thinking of what is happening to our soul.
Because we are strangers here, and because our default is always toward our sin nature, we need a guide. We need a teacher. We need a guard. We need a companion. We need a comforter. Through the Spirit's leading, God's Word is all of these and more for us, but we must desire this of the Word.
Like David we must constantly and consistently long for more and more of God's Word. The Passion Translation renders Psalm 119:20 as:
"I am continually consumed by these irresistible longings, these cravings to obey Your every commandment!"
Is this the cry of your heart? How much do you long for God's Word? How much do you allow God's Word to consume you? In what ways do you see yourself as a stranger on this earth? How can you allow God's Word to be your guide, teacher, guard, companion, comforter as you pass through this world?
In verse 1 of this Psalm David declared those blessed who follow God's decrees; now he says those who do not follow God's commands are cursed. God Himself told the Israelites through Moses:
"This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach... No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you... But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed... Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make." Deuteronomy 30:11-20
God longs to bless His children, but His blessing only comes to the humbly obedient. Obedience or disobedience. Humility or pride. Approval or rebuke. Blessing or curse. The choice is ours. We can choose to humbly obey God and receive His blessing or we can choose to willfully disobey God and receive His rebuke. God wants a relationship not a dictatorship. He wants us to choose obedience. He wants us to choose Him.
Which will you choose? Where have you been willfully disobedient? Where has pride kept you from obeying God? How can you change this and choose obedience instead? Will you?
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:19-21 is:
God blesses those who choose to obey Him and long to know His Word.
In verse 22 David pleads with God to take away reproach and contempt. The word for reproach here is cherpah and it means the taunts of enemies. David knew an enemies taunts. He had heard those of Goliath when he was a simple shepherd boy defending God's honor. He had heard those of Saul when the Israelites were singing David's praise instead of his. To be reproached, taunted by an enemy is bad enough, but contempt is worse yet. To have contempt for someone is to regard them as worthless or useless.
Have you ever felt the taunts of an enemy? How have you felt contempt? From whom?
We have an enemy who loves to taunt us with thoughts of contempt. He loves to make us feel worthless or useless. Like David we must cry out for God to remove the reproach and contempt of Satan; those fiery darts of doubt he aims our way. Jesus tells us:
"A thief has only one thing in mind - he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect - life in its fullness until you overflow!" John 10:10 TPT
Satan's sole purpose is keeping us from God's full and abundant life. Jesus made us God's children, Satan wants to steal our identity. Jesus gave us a job to do, Satan wants to slaughter our purpose. Jesus has a place prepared for us, Satan wants to destroy our inheritance. www.bible.com/116/jhn.1.12.nlt www.bible.com/116/mat.28.19-20.nlt www.bible.com/116/jhn.14.2-3.nlt
The only way to defeat Satan is to meditate on and seek counsel from God's Word. We are in a spiritual battle each and every day. Paul knew this and in Ephesians 6 he gave us a list of things needed to fight well. Chief among these weapons is the "sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." www.bible.com/116/eph.6.17.nlt
We must be able to wield our sword well in battle. David knew to do this we need to memorize, meditate on, long for, and delight in God's Word. This is why he declared: "Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors." Psalm 119:24
Is this your battle cry? When Satan is aiming his fiery darts at you where do you turn? How well do you wield your Spirit-sword in the heat of battle?
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:22-24 is:
Knowing God's Word is paramount if we hope to defeat Satan.
Gathered manna from Gimmel (Psalm 119:17-24) is:
A true child of God chooses obedience, longs for God's Word, and prays for God to give deeper understanding of His Word.
I pray you are learning much from our study of Psalm 119. Remember to subscribe to my email list so that you can receive our "92 Days of Summer Scripture Reading and Writing Plan" to help enhance your study of this Psalm! You can do that by going to the Let's Connect page or by clicking the button at the top of this page.
Until next time,
God bless and keep you,
1) Don't forget to mark each synonym for God's Word as you do your daily reading of Psalm 119.
2) Prayerfully answer the questions in this teaching.
3) Answer the questions: Who is God/what does He do? and What am I to be/do? for Psalm 119:17-24
4) Make a list of everything you learn about God's Word in these verses (i.e.: vs. 18, contains wonderful things)
5) Read Psalm 19:7-14. How do these verses compare to what you have learned thus far from Psalm 119?