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Loving and Living God’s Word

Psalm 119:176 (ESV) … “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.”

The basic theme of Psalm 119 is the practical use of the Word of God in the life of the believer. When you consider that the writer probably did not have a complete Old Testament, let alone a complete Bible, this emphasis is both remarkable and important. Christian believers today own complete Bibles, yet how many of them say that they love God’s Word and get up at night or early in the morning to read it and meditate on it (vv. 55, 62, 147–148)? How many Christian believers ignore the Old Testament Scriptures or read the Old Testament in a careless and cursory manner? Yet here was a man who rejoiced in the Old Testament Scriptures—which was the only Word of God he had—and considered God’s Word his food (v. 103) and his greatest wealth! (vv. 14, 72, 127, 162). His love for the Word of God puts today’s believers to shame. If the psalmist with his limited knowledge and resources could live a godly and victorious life feeding on the Old Testament, how much more ought Christians today live for the Lord. After all, we have the entire Bible before us and two millennia of church history behind us!

In reaching this verse 176, the Psalmist did not say that he had greatly sinned against the Lord or that he was rebelling against God’s will. At this point, he felt his own weakness and ignorance and expressed it in terms that were meaningful to him. In verse 110 he affirmed that he had not strayed away, but now he realized the danger of feeling overconfident (1 Cor. 10:12).

During the spiritual journey recorded in this psalm, the psalmist had experienced his ups and downs, but he had always stayed himself on the Word of God, and he did this to the very end. He opened the psalm with a benediction (v. 1), but he closed it with a warning, and both are important to the balanced Christian life. God gives us promises and assurances so we will not despair, but He gives us warnings that we might not presume. He was still the servant of God and not the servant of sin, and he still remembered God’s Word, so he would not stray for long. The Good Shepherd would find him and lead him back to the fold. He would anoint his wounds with healing oil and give him a long refreshing drink of water (23:5). [1]

  1. Wiersbe, W. W. (2004). Be exultant(1st ed., pp. 141–142). Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries.

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