Psalm 119:13-16 — Declare and Delight!

Psalm 119:13-16 ESV With my lips I declare the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

As we’ve begun digging into the first 12 verses of Psalm 119 we’ve seen a few things:

  • Only Jesus can be the true fulfillment of the psalmist’s desires.
  • God takes his rules seriously!
  • That only grace-begotten love-for-God can ultimately motivate us to obey His commands.
  • That there is more to being good than just not doing the wrong thing.

I Do Declare…

As we move into verse 13, there is a bit of a shift of focus. Verse 15, (I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways), reminds us of the same theme we’ve seen already: a laser-like focus on God’s commands and obedience to those commands. But verse 13 is a reference to proclaiming the truth about God.

One of my least favorite phrases is “preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” The absolute necessity of using “words” in order to proclaim the gospel is a point many good men have already undertaken, so I don’t care to belabor that point. Verse 13 is specific though—“with my lips I proclaim all the rules of your mouth.” In other words, the psalmist does not shy away from proclaiming the law of God. Is it possible that too often in our quest to maintain a proper law-gospel distinction that we’ve shied away from proclaiming God’s law to generations that need to hear it?

God’s law is the schoolmaster used to bring people to Christ (Gal 3:24)! God’s law, or His word, is perfect (Psalm 19:7). Even the heavens themselves cannot help but praise God with words (Psalm 19:2-4). And God’s law is a reflection of His person. That is, when we look at God’s law, we aren’t just seeing a set of rules we can’t live up to. We are enjoying a glimpse of God’s character.

Thou shalt not steal—for God is not a thief and He provides sufficiently. Thou shalt not lie—because your God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Don’t commit adultery—God is faithful…

Ultimately, we are reminded of the words of the Apostle Peter who wrote: “that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).” Amen. We must speak of God at all times, and never fear to proclaim his law.

More Than Mere Afternoon Delight

It is here in verse 14 when this psalm really seems to get interesting! The psalmist states that he delights in God’s testimonies as much as in all riches! Oh! How many of us would do well to adopt a similar mindset! In God’s Wisdom in Proverbs, Dan Phillips makes an excellent point about Proverbs 2:4. That verse is in reference to wisdom and understanding and states thus: “and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure.” I don’t have a copy of Dan’s book (I’ve gifted them all, really, Dan!), but I remember the lesson well. He pointed out that if you were told there were huge amounts of riches buried in your backyard, you’d have the backyard dug up within days searching for it.

Michael Dam

Yet God has already given us something (His Word) that is better than all riches. Yet as Spurgeon said, “There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write ‘damnation’ with your fingers (30 awesome quotes from CHS).” But even more than reminding you of both yours and my own failure to truly study scripture as we ought, I need to remind you that the psalmist delights in God’s Word even more than all riches. And it is here that I cannot help but kneel at the feet of Christ who truly lived the life I could not live.

The One who owns everything came to a humble estate and had no place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20). The King of the universe became poor for us. The Lord of lords was a servant who did not covet material gain. It is Jesus who taught us that we cannot serve God and money. It is Jesus who is the radiance of the glory of God and when we look at Him we see who God is. We see why proclaiming God’s law: ‘Thou shall not covet’ is more than simply a command to obey. Declaring the tenth commandment is not simply a way to get kids to share or convince your cousin to quit his gambling habit. When we proclaim ‘Thou shall not covet’ to a crooked and twisted generation, we are telling them about Jesus—what He did, and who He is. Put away your desires for riches and delight in God instead!

Rejoice Always

So we rejoice. Paul told us to rejoice always. Jesus said in John 15:11 that he wanted our joy to be full! Joy is not a bad word to the Christian. True joy is experiencing the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. Godly joy may even appear as an emotional outburst as the result of meditating upon what Jesus accomplished on your behalf! It is utterly rational to be joyful if your sins have been forgiven by Christ. The Psalmist reminds us that he meditates on God’s precepts, but again, meditating on God’s precepts is the same as meditating on Christ himself!

Morgan Sessions

Thus, the meditation on the scriptures results in joy unspeakable! There is no earthly power that can steal this joy from the Christian in communion with His Christ and His God! We have a love letter from God (the Bible), and like the psalmist says, we ought not to forget it (Psalm 119:16). We are to be delighted in God, even in the trials. We ought to celebrate His glorious wisdom and holiness, even when His decree is that we suffer. We ought to trust in His unfailing love—even when it seems He is far from us.[bctt tweet=”We are to be delighted in God, even in the trials. We ought to celebrate His glorious wisdom and holiness, even when His decree is that we suffer. We ought to trust in His unfailing love—even when it seems He is far from us.” username=”ThingsAboveBlog”]

For He is always near. Jesus said he will never cast out those who come to Him (John 6:37), and that He is always with us (Matthew 28:20). Psalm 139 tells us “when I awake I am still with you.” Let us not fear that God would ever leave us. Would He who did not spare His only Son not also give us all things? This is balm for the weary soul, fellow sojourner. Lean on Christ and experience the range of emotions that come. Be immersed in His love toward you, His grace, His kindness, His mercy, and His serious care for every hair on your head. And be changed by it.


Dear Christian, declare God through His Word. Proclaim all of it: His attributes, his works, his law…and most importantly his gospel of salvation through Christ alone. Meditate on the scripture and DELIGHT in your Savior and the Word!

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