This week’s pSaturday Psalm comes from Psalm 119:65-72. Psalm 119 is a wonderful psalm that is really a “love poem,” so to speak, about God’s word! It is the longest chapter in the Bible — composed of 22 8 verse stanzas where the first letter of each line in a stanza begins with the same letter and each new stanza begins with a new letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Today, we will focus on the 9th stanza:
You have dealt well with your servant,
O LORD, according to your word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
for I believe in your commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.
You are good and do good,
teach me your statutes.
The insolent smear me with lies,
but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
their heart is unfeeling like fat,
but I delight in your law.
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
The law of your mouth is better to me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Is there a person in the world that can say the LORD has not dealt well with them? Will there be anyone on that great Day of Judgment that will be able to say “I was not dealt with fairly?”
God’s benevolent dealing with mankind is free, meaning that He is not obligated in His dealings with us. Yes, His character is good, but that doesn’t mean He is obligated to be kind to us, in fact, because God is good He should destroy all sinners.
And He will. But in the sovereign dispensation of His grace, He has covenanted with His creation. He has bound Himself to the promises of His Word. In other words, He has chosen to deal kindly with all mankind but especially those who are His servants — those who look upon Him in faith, and trust in His provision — His own Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the means by which God is just in treating us kindly because of His wrath poured out on Jesus on the cross.
He has Dealt Well with Us
So, the psalmist says “You have dealt well with your servant O LORD, according to your word.”
God has dealt well with us! What complaints do you have? What disgruntlements? They are washed away in a flood of thanksgiving as we meditate upon this fact! You O LORD have dealt well with us, according to your word, according to your promise.
Now, for us, this Word, this Promise, has been more fully revealed in the person and work of Jesus. We know that all those who look upon the Son in faith, who acknowledge their sinfulness before God and turn from it, understanding their need for Christ alone, will be saved!
I submit to you that this verse is the title of this section of Psalm 119. In other words if you were reading a book with chapter titles and you came to this chapter, chapter 9 of Psalm 119, it would have this as the title: “You have dealt well with your servant O LORD, according to your word.”
So, all that we are about to read flows out of that. It is a great gospel indicative if you will. A gospel indicative is just a statement of truth. It informs us of something that has been done for us by God, not something we do. And this fits that definition.
Chin up, God has dealt well with you. Jesus Christ has bled on the Cross for your sins and rose again from the dead. In time, God drew you to Himself, and you turned from your sins and put your faith in Him. So, the rest of what we discuss is grounded in the fact that God has dealt well with His servants according to His Word.
Since God has dealt well with us according to His Word, Believers: Learn the Word, Lean on the Word, and Love the Word
Learn the Word
Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.
The people of God should be the most teachable people on the planet. We want to learn the Word. And who better to teach us than God Himself? So, we pray for understanding — “God, teach me good judgment and knowledge.” Why? For I believe your commandments.
Those who believe God’s Word want to learn the Word. Do you see the connection? I mean, if you say you believe the Bible to be the all inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of the most high God, but then don’t desire to learn from it, what’s that say?
It says you doubt the goodness of God and His word: You are good and do good, teach me your statutes.
Are you cultivating learning the Word in your life? Here are some simple, practicle steps for learning Scripture: Read it. Study it. Memorize it. Meditate on it. Teach it.
If you say v.65 is true in your life, then so should verse 66. You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, according to your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. You desire to learn the Word.
Lean on the Word
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word…It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
We won’t develop a theology of affliction in this post but we do see this from the psalmist: He felt the chastising hand of God, and because of it he was brought back into fellowship with God. Here’s what I mean by leaning on the Word: I want the image in our mind of the Word propping you up.
There are things that happen in our lives that we do not like. Sometimes it’s the chastising hand of God. Sometimes it’s simply the providential hand of God in your life that allows some sort of trial or suffering. In those times, we must lean on the Word. And we must believe that in all affliction, whether directly brought by God or allowed by God, there is a good purpose!
God is good and He does good (v.68). So, when you get the flu, or have a car crash, or someone dies, or you get fired – it is NOT our natural inclination to say “You are good and do good.” It is our natural inclination to say “Why God!?” But when we lean on the Word we are able to say “I don’t understand it all but this I know: You are good and you do good.”
That’s faith! Now, it seems to me that in this section the Psalmist is talking about God bringing about chastisement. Revelation 3:19 says Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. So, in this regards, we lean on the Word believing that the discipline of the Lord is out of love. And when we are crushed or broken it is because God loves us and calls us to repentance, to come back to Him.
There will be no revival without repentance. Repentance is difficult. But we lean on the word realizing that God breaks us because He loves us! Are you willing to be broken?
Are you willing to believe v.71? It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
Love the Word
The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.
Let’s reflect upon some of these statements:
“with my whole heart” – Was the Psalmist perfect? No. But this is poetry, and he is saying Lord, my heart is YOURS! All of it! Love is an action isn’t it? Not just a feeling. The psalmist loved the Word and therefore he said: “with my whole heart I keep it.”
Ultimately, only Jesus did that. But for those who trust Him, we are freed to live that sort of life – a freeing obedience so to speak.
“their heart is unfeeling like fat” Who? The insolent. Their heart is unfeeling. It doesn’t feel. It doesn’t love the Word. If it loved the Word, it would delight in it, submit to it, and desire to live it out.
But for those who love the word: The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
In the United States, we’ve developed a pretty good system whereby we feel as though we can serve BOTH God AND Money. This is simply not true. In your heart of hearts, you must think on this verse. Is God’s Word better to you than THOUSANDS of gold and silver pieces?
Why is so much of our life oriented around money? Making money? You say “Oh, well that’s just the society we live in.” And I most certainly understand that we have to have money to operate in this society, but my question is, has money become better to us than the Word of God?
And see, here is what’s interesting – many people work very hard to get money. And they can endure the working and the hardships because they know come Friday, they’ll get a check. Why then won’t we wrestle with the Word of God? Why won’t we dig in? Why won’t we labor in the Word? Knowing that it is the Word of God that will change us and shape us and make us?
Beloved do you love the Word? Labor in it! Is it more precious to you than gold or silver? Is it sweeter than honey?
The Lord has dealt well with us, has He not? Let us live like it!