Your statutes are wonderful;(Ps. 119:129-136 NIV)
therefore I obey them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
longing for your commands.
Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as you always do to those who love your name.
Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.
Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may obey your precepts.
Make your face shine on your servant
and teach me your decrees.
Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for your law is not obeyed.
Adherence to the word of God is often presented in the media today as something either eccentric or dull. The Psalmist has a different view, he describes God’s word as wonderful. What a way to think of God’s word as something wonderful. Because the word is wonderful the Psalmist obeys God’s word. What is wonderful about God’s word? It has to be the theme of covenant redemption that runs throughout the Bible. It is wonderful to learn how much we are loved and the price that God paid to demonstrate His love to us.
The Psalmist talks about the unfolding of God’s word. The unfolding of God’s word means that God reveals His word to us over a period of time. We don’t just get all of God’s word unfolded to us at our first reading. There is a lifetime of unfolding of the word of God. We never become masters of the word of God, but the word of God can become a master of us. The unfolding of God’s word gives us the light and understanding that we need to live by.
The desire for the word of God is expressed by the Psalmist as panting for the word of God, longing to have more of God’s word. This is an incredible appetite for the word of God.
As positive as the Psalmist is about his desire to know the word of God, he still recognises that he is in need of mercy. God is faithful in showing mercy to all who love His name. V132 is the fourth verse that we have read that does not contain a reference to the word of God.
When you have reached a point in your life where you describe God’s word as wonderful and your desire to have God’s word is a longing for the word, you would think that you really had arrived at an ideal point. The Psalmist is still not satisfied, he not only wants to know the word, he desires that God would guide his footsteps according to the word. He does not want to be defeated by sin.
The Psalmist desires redemption from human oppression so that he can be free to obey God’s word. Difficulty can distract us from God’s word but it can also drive us to God’s word.
V135 is a typical OT expression to ask for God’s favour. The Psalmist asks that God turn His face towards him. When the face of God is turned towards you, this is to experience the blessing of God.
The Psalmist is reduced to tears as he views people not obeying the word of God.
Lord God we have greater reason to love Your word than the Psalmist because we have the fuller revelation of the New Testament. Your word is so available to us in so many ways and we have so many books to help us understand, yet we have to confess that we do not have the excitement that the Psalmist has about Your word. Lord open our eyes that we might see what wonderful things are contained in Your word because we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.