How much of the Bible do I have to know? Isn't Bible knowledge something for ministers and theologians to handle? Aren't people who constantly quote Scripture being extreme and fanatical? These questions are sometimes asked, and many times thought about, but not spoken. We can get a professional view of the church and of the Bible that allows others to handle the teachings of the Scriptures for us. History will show us that, where there has not been the influence of the Bible, there has been a lot of moral decay, instability, and unhappiness in society. Also, when the Bible has been handled by the "professionals" of the religious / political institutions, tyranny and abuse has often taken place. It is only when the average person gets involved with Scripture that society has a chance to be lifted to a higher level of morality, prosperity, and meaningful accomplishment. Of course, people can interpret things differently and mistakes will be made. But humans were designed to know and enjoy God. Their lives are imbalanced if they are not pursuing God on a personal level. Psalm 119 is dedicated to the intimate pursuit of God through His Word. This lesson offers suggestions of what you may find for your life, when you involve yourself in His Word.
A Bountiful Life - Psalm 119:17 (KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV)
If all you do in life is survive, you really haven't lived at all. God designed us to have joy and purpose in life that transcends mere animal survival and pleasures. God's Word is the source of abundant living. Consider Ecclesiastes 1:1-18; 3:1-15; 7:13-14; 12:1,13-14; Psalm 1:1-3; Luke 12:15-32; 119:32-38,68,72,77,124,133,165; Matthew 4:4; 16:24-26; John 10:9-10; 17:1-3.
An Illuminated Life, full of Wonder - Psalm 119:18
As children should explore the natural world, so we, as children of God should be exploring God's wonderful world. This, of course includes the natural world, but also much more! Our minds and hearts can enjoy a life of amazement when we search God's Word for His treasures. Consider Psalm 8:1-9; 19:1-11; 81:10; 119:105,130; Proverbs 2:1-11; Isaiah 55:1-2,6-13; Jeremiah 33:3; Matthew 5:6,8; 7:7-11; Romans 11:33-36; I Peter 2:2.
A Separated Life - Psalm 119:19
Putting it bluntly, becoming intimate with God will make you strange - strange to a world that does not know or love God. God Himself is a stranger to this world - like a traveler, just passing through. As we feed on God's Word, we then become strangers with Him. This world is not our home. God is our home. We are family to those who are family with God. Consider Psalm 90:1; 119:9-16,54; Jeremiah 14:8; Psalm 39:12; John 1:10-12; 6:66-69; 15:18-24; Galatians 1:3-4; 6:14; Philippians 3:18-20; I John 2:15-17; 3:1,11-16; 4;1-6; 5:1-5,19-20.
A Life of Godly Sorrow and Spiritual Desire - Psalm 119:20
"Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee." (Augustine) Though we are taught to find contentment and satisfaction with God and His provision through His Word (Psalm 16:11; 63:3-8; 119:162-165; Isaiah 55:1-2), there is, at the same time a heavenly longing and dissatisfaction with the status quo in our lives - a yearning for something greater. It is something that we are promised and must wait for. It is more than just wanting to go to heaven. It is a desire to mature, in this life, and to be more intimate with God. It is also a longing for things to be right in the world. When God is dishonored and ignored, we grieve. See Psalm 19:12-14; 42:1-5; 63:1-2; 73:24-28; 119:4-8,28,53,126-128,136; 139:23-24; Matthew 5:4; Ezekiel 9:4; Malachi 3:16; Romans 8:23-25; II Corinthians 5:1-10; Galatians 4:19; I Timothy 6:6-16; I Peter 1:3-9; II Peter 3:10-14.
A Humble, Obedient and Blessed Life - Psalm 119:21
There is a sharp contrast between those whose lives are regulated by the Scriptures and those who disregard and ignore the teachings of Scripture. To disregard Scripture, God says that it is an act of pride ("I don't need the Lord" - "I don't need to listen to Him"). These people are living under the curse and don't know it. Yet, their conscience is probably plagued with guilt, shame, and a need to defend and justify themselves. See Psalm 10:1-18; 36:1-4; 50:16-22; 119:155; Romans 3:10-19; Titus 1:15-16.
Conversely, now look at the benefit of clinging closely to God's Word. Instead of rebuke, we receive God's loving instruction and comfort. We are able to enjoy a father-child relationship. God's forgiveness and acceptance of us enables the joy of the Lord to be our strength. See Psalm 119:33-45; Nehemiah 8:8-10; Isaiah 66:1-2; Matthew 5:3,6; 7:7-11 (cp. John 15:1-8); Romans 1:16; 5:1-11; 8:14-18; 15:4; 16:25-27; II Corinthians 1:2-7; 5:17-19; Ephesians 1:3-14; I John 1:1 - 2:2.
A Life that Attracts Criticism and Opposition from the World - Psalm 119:22-23
Psalm 119:21 set the tone for living in a world full of proud, bitter, and aggressive people. This leads us to the spiritual warfare that is going on in this world. People who do not love God and His Word are at odds with those who do. We are misunderstood and misjudged at best. We are mocked and maligned at worst. For those who love Christ, friendship with the world is not an option. So, while we do not actively seek persecution, we must accept the fact that those who do not know God will attack things / people that are godly. This ungodliness only draws us closer to God and His Word. See Psalm 119:84-88, 95, 126-128, 143, 161; Matthew 5:10-12; John 17:6-21; I Corinthians 2:14-16; II Corinthians 2:14-17; II Timothy 3:12; I John 2:15-29 (cp. James 4:4).
A Life Full of Delights and Good Counsel - Psalm 119:24
This is a summary of all that has been said: God and His Word brings us lasting pleasure and prosperity. Having God's Word is like having counsellors, who are always available to guide us. See Psalm 1:1-3; 16:11; 19:7-11; 33:8-11; 37:4; 73:23-24; 119:14-16,97-104,111,142-144; Proverbs 2:6-11; II Timothy 3:15-17; I John 1:1-4; 4:5-6.