Updated: Aug 3, 2019
Sitting on the balcony, the dark cloak of night still lingering, I couldn't see the ocean; but I knew it was there. I could hear the gentle lapping of the waves - swoosh, swoosh, swoosh. The sound fell on my ears, a soft whisper of God's power. The sea was calm, as if trying to rouse from slumber. The pathway to the beach was hidden in the darkness. Had I wanted to find my way there I would have needed a flash light.
As I sat there listening to the morning awaken, the first sliver of sunlight appeared across the eastern sky. With that first gleam came the faint form of the boardwalk leading to the beach. At first the shape was obscure, blending into the sand dunes. Looking straight at it from where I sat it could have been a dune, except I knew it wasn't. Suddenly the horizon burst forth in color and light and the picture was clear; the pathway was visible. The light of the sun changed everything. That's what light does. Light brings clarity. When light enters, darkness must flee.
The light of God's Word is the same. God's Word changes everything. God's Word brings clarity. When the light of God's Word enters our lives, darkness must flee. God's Word sheds light on His pathway for our lives. This is what David meant when he quietly affirmed:
"Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105 AMP
Wise King Solomon must have learned this lesson from his father for he penned:
"My son, keep your father's command and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life..." Proverbs 6:20-23 NIV
When we commit to read and study God's Word a spiritual sun begins to rise within our hearts, shedding light on His truths. At first we cannot see clearly, our understanding still obscured by the darkness of the world. Yet the longer we sit with God's Word the horizon of our understanding becomes brighter. We read a passage we've read hundreds of times before and suddenly His Spirit bursts forth with colors of new insight and the light of understanding. Our eyes can clearly see God's way. The light of His Word illumines our hearts and brightens our minds to His perspective.
Has this been your experience with God's Word? What passage have you read recently, one you've read many times before, yet this time the Spirit shed new light, opened your understanding a little more? Write this passage in your journal and write out the insights you gained, or if you write in your Bible, write what you learn in the margin of this passage.
As the dawn of our understanding shines brighter we begin desiring obedience to God's ways. David desired this so much so that he "swore an oath and confirmed it, that I will keep Your righteous ordinances [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them]." (verse 106, AMP)
In Old Testament times an oath was serious business. Oaths were confirmed in different ways. One way was for the one making the oath to raise his hands and swear, speaking the oath seven times in the presence of the one to whom he was making the oath. This is what Abram meant in Genesis 14:22-23a when he told the King of Sodom: "With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will accept nothing belonging to you..."
Another way oaths were confirmed is seen later in Genesis when, a then aged Abraham made his servant swear to find a wife for Isaac from his mother's family. He told his servant: "Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh. Swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women..." Genesis 24:2b-3
The placing of the hand under another's thigh was a symbol of placing oneself under that person's authority. Allowing someone to sit on your hand meant you were submitting to their authority and would obey, doing what you swore you would do.
A third way oaths were confirmed was before the altar of God in Jerusalem (see 1 Kings 8:31). And finally, an oath was confirmed by splitting animals in half, laying the halves out across from each other to form a pathway; the two parties making the oath would then pass through the animal parts to seal the covenant. God Himself confirmed His covenant with Abraham in this way in Genesis 15.
Are we this serious about keeping God's righteous laws? How do you show your commitment to God? Will you "swear an oath" of obedience to God?
When we become seriously committed to God's Word, we cling to it come what may. His Word becomes our lifeline when we are suffering trials and tribulations. Turning to God's Word during our times of suffering develops His character in us which enables us to live a godly life. Peter tells us:
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance godliness; and to godliness; mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
2 Peter 1:3-8 NIV
God’s Word gives us everything we need. His Word sheds light on His character enabling us to become Christlike in our character.
As we lean into God's Word during our times of suffering our hearts are awakened to His love for us. God told Paul in his suffering, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 1 Corinthians 12:9
Just as His Word gives us strength in our suffering, so too it brings life to our souls. Jesus spoke these words to his larger following of disciples: "The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life." John 6:63 (emphasis added)
Without God's Word in our lives our soul remains dead in sin. With the light of God's Word our soul is awakened to new life.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:105-108 is:
Commitment to follow God's Word gives us His light and life.
How committed are you to following God's Word? In what area of your life do you need to be more committed? Where do you need to recommit to following God's Word? How will you do this? When?
Human life is a fragile thing. In a moments time our life on this earth can end. We take this fact much too causally. Like David we need to open our minds to this fact and live accordingly. Psalm 31:15 says:
"My future is in Your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly."
We have a relentless enemy. Satan hunts us down day in and day out, doing all he can to kill, steal, and destroy our lives. What many Christians don't realize is that; though God holds our lives in His hands, we can, should, and must take time to evaluate our lives. When our lives are "continually in my hands" through self-examination of our spiritual state we are better equipped to stay strong when Satan attacks. With God's Word lighting our path we can clearly see our places of weakness and shore them up with His truths to strengthen us against Satan's relentless pursuit.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:109-110 is:
Commitment to follow God's Word gives us strength to stay instead of stray.
How often do you evaluate the state of your heart? Where is Satan attacking you? Could his area of attack be a place of weakness in your spiritual life? What can you do to ensure staying and not straying when under his attack?
Have you ever heard the saying "sunny disposition"? We use this phrase when describing someone with a good outlook on life, someone with joy in all circumstances. As Christ- followers we should all have a sunny disposition, joy in all circumstances. This doesn't mean we have a nonchalant view of life as some people think. Nor does it mean we are never sad or grief-stricken. What having joy in all circumstances does mean is we have allowed the light of God's Word to sink deep within our hearts, planting His joy and peace there. This is what David describes in verse 111 when he says God's Word is the "rejoicing of my heart".
The amplified version uses the word "inclined" in verse 112. Incline means: to have a mental tendency, preference, etc.; to be disposed in mind, habit, etc. ( dictionary.com )
With the light of God's Word illuminating our path our mental tendency becomes that of obedience. We begin to prefer obeying God over living in sin. Obedience to God becomes our habit.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:111-112 is:
Commitment to follow God's Word gives us the desire to obey.
How does God's Word bring joy to your heart? How has your mental tendency changed since you began reading God's Word regularly? In what ways do you prefer obedience to God over living in sin? How can you begin today to make obedience to God a habit?
Gathered manna from Nun (Psalm 119:105-112) is:
Commitment to follow God's Word gives us an eternal heritage.
Jesus told us: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21
Today most people are consumed with earthly treasure. One scroll through social media and you witness worldliness in neat little squares. People post pictures of their latest vacation destination, the new car they just bought, the cute shoes with matching purse. Christians do this too. We say we love God with our mouths but our lifestyle says something different. We are being double-minded. Our treasure is not with God because our hearts are not with Him. What we value shows up in how we live.
This is the truth David is conveying when he vehemently says:
"I hate double-minded men, but I love Your law." Psalm 119:113
James says of the double-minded person:
"[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]." James 1:8 AMP
The Greek word for double-minded in this verse is dipsuchos and literally means "a person with two minds or souls". Being double-minded means you doubt God's Word. A double-minded person is uncertain about God's promises and cannot commit to follow the light of His Word. James says they are "like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." (James 1:6b)
Sitting by the seashore watching the waves roll across the sands, I have seen shells and fragments of sand dollars tossed every which way in the waves. A shell may land on the shore with one wave only to be tossed back into the sea with the next. This must have been what Paul had in mind when he penned these words to the Ephesians:
"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming." Ephesians 4:14
Jesus put it this way:
"You cannot serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other..." Matthew 6:24
When we allow our heart to become clouded with earthly treasure we become double-minded and unstable. Failing to follow the light of God's Word, we are unable to see the correct path and cannot commit to wholehearted obedience to God. No wonder David hated double-minded people!
After declaring God to be his refuge and shield, David speaks directly to his enemies saying:
"Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God." Psalm 119:115
We must be careful who we allow into our lives. We become like the people we spend the most time with. We learn this truth in Proverbs 13:20:
"Walk with the wise and become wise, associate with fools and get in trouble."
And Paul told the Corinthians:
"Don't be fooled by those who say such things, for 'bad company corrupts good character.'" 1 Corinthians 15:33
When those who do not follow the light of God's Word begin to influence us we must be like David and demand they depart from our lives. We must become intolerant of the evil around us to ensure we do not fall prey and follow suite. Intolerance is not in vogue. An intolerant person is thought to be bigoted and narrow-minded. However, those who desire to walk in the light of God's Word must be narrow-minded when it comes to the evil around them. Satan would like nothing more than to spoil our witness by causing us to become so accustomed to evil we slip right into it without realizing we have.
Intolerance toward evil does not mean we are intolerant toward people. Flesh and blood people are not our true enemy, Satan is. We hate the sin but love the sinner in hopes of winning them to Christ. If verse 115 teaches us anything, it teaches us we can speak directly and boldly to our enemy (Satan) in Jesus' name and he must flee. Jesus did this many times and He said we would do greater things than Him in His name through His Spirit within us.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:113-115 is:
Commitment to follow God's Word develops intolerance toward evil and boldness to confront our true enemy.
What do you value most? Where is your treasure? In what ways are you double-minded? Where do you need to develop intolerance toward sin? How bold are you in confronting the enemy of our souls? How can you become bolder? Why should you?
The more we do battle with Satan the more we realize we need God's help. Following the light of God's Word gives us the weapons we need to confront Satan. God's Word strengthens us for battle. God's Word sustains us in battle. God's Word upholds us through battle. God's Word delivers us from evil, just as Jesus taught us to pray, "...lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil..."
Not only is God's Word our guiding light on the battlefield; His Word is the double-edged sword we use to defeat our enemy. The more we learn to depend on God the better our chances in this battle for our souls.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:116-117 is:
Commitment to follow God's Word develops dependance on Him.
How has God's Word given you strength to battle Satan? Where is your greatest battle right now? Look up Scriptures that speak to that thing, write them down, commit them to memory then the next time Satan begins aiming his fiery arrows your way you'll be ready! How dependent are you on God? How can you develop more dependance on Him?
God is sovereign over all things. He is the Righteous Judge who will judge all evil. The prophet Malachi said:
"I will send my messenger who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come, says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver." Malachi 3:1-2a
Dross is the impurity in metals that weakens them and takes away the shine of the metal. When a metal is placed in the hot fire of the furnace the dross rises to the top and the refiner skims it off and throws it out. The wicked of the earth are like dross and in the final judgment God will cast them away. This is what David means when he declares:
"You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum; no wonder I love to obey Your laws!"
Psalm 119:119 NLT
Living in the light of God's Word sheds light on our sin allowing us to confess and repent. Our sin is like dross. God's Word places our lives in the furnace. As we read and study His Word we become more and more aware of the places we fall short. This awareness puts our hearts in the right attitude, one of sorrow over our sin which allows God to "skim off" the dross of that sin.
Another effect of God's Word is that of reverential fear. The light of God's Word reveals His righteousness, His holiness, and our inadequacy to be either righteous or holy. As we comprehend God's true character and His disdain for sin our hearts should tremble knowing how wicked we truly are. Yet this fear is not one that causes us to run and hide, as Adam and Eve did in the garden. No, this fear is a deep seated respect for who God is and awe of His power, glory, and holiness. This fear is recognizing how much God hates sin to the extent that we desire to live our lives in obedience to Him. This fear is a reverence for God that leads to worship of Him.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:118-120 is:
Commitment to follow God's Word develops reverential fear and worshipful awe of our God.
We are quick to notice someone else's sin. How quick are you to notice your own sin? What is your attitude toward God? How do you fear Him; running to hide or falling before Him in confession and repentance? What is your definition of "the fear of the Lord"? Read the following verses from Proverbs and write out what you learn about the fear of the Lord.
Gathered manna for Samekh (Psalm 119:113-120) is:
Commitment to follow God's Word develops our spiritual senses and puts us in sync with His Spirit.
How have your spiritual senses been strengthened by your commitment to follow God's Word? Where do you need to develop them further? What can you begin doing today that will put you in sync with God's Spirit?
I pray we will all commit to wholeheartedly follow God's Word, walking in its light each day.
Until next time,
May God bless and keep you,
1. Read Psalm 119:105-120, marking all references to God’s Word.
2. Prayerfully answer all the questions in this teaching.
3. Read the following Scriptures from John. Write the things you learn about light. How do these things relate to God’s Word?
John 1:1-14; John 3:18-21; John 8:12
4. In verse 114 David declares God to be his “refuge and shield”. Both of these are places of safety and protection. Look up other verses which describe God in this way. What further insight do you gain about God as our protector from these verses? How have you personally encountered God in this way? Suggested verses: 2 Samuel 23; Psalm 7:10-13; Psalm 18; Psalm 31:1-5; Psalm 61:1-4 (but you may find others that speak to you!)