The Law Of The Lord And Happiness

The Law Of The Lord And Happiness

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

The third section of Psalm 119 is highlighted by the third Hebrew letter, “gimel.” It has been said that this section contains the basic idea that the Law of the Lord makes a righteous person happy. If we let God define happiness, this makes sense. Even when a stranger (19), when full of reproach and contempt (22), when princes sit and talk against him (23), the righteous can see wonderful things (18) and experience delight (24). Notice what this righteous Bible student does as he drinks in the Word.

He Makes Tangible Requests

He asks God to “deal bountifully” with him (17), to “open his eyes” (18), and to “take away reproach and contempt” from him (22). Studying God’s Word is meant to be practical and life-changing. What an attitude to see Bible study as a partnership between ourselves and it’s powerful, transforming nature. We should expect blessing, enlightenment, and transformation when we plant the Word deep on our hearts.

He Makes Personal Application

Notice how many times in these eight verses the writer says “me,” “my,” and “I.” The request for blessing is “that I may live” (17). “Open my eyes, that I may behold” (18). “I am a stranger” (19). “Do not hide your commandments from me” (19). “My soul is crushed” (20). He asks that reproach and contempt be taken “from me” (22). “I observe” (22). Princes “talk against me” (23). His testimonies “are my delight” and “my counselors” (24). Bible study is a first-person endeavor first, before we make it a second-person (you) or third-person (them) task.

He Makes An Important Connection

The writer sees God’s power in the written word. His tribute is to the God who had these things written down and revealed to him. When we can make the connection that God is speaking to us when we read the Bible, it changes what we do with what we read. He refers to “Your word” (17), “Your law” (18), “Your commandments” (19,21), “Your ordinances” (20), “Your testimonies” (22,24), and “Your statutes” (23). No wonder some even so-called scholars try to undercut the inspiration of Scripture. If I can reduce the words of Scripture to the work of men, even “later scribes” who changed and added to some original, lost message or if I can express doubt over the validity or legitimacy of a passage or Bible book, then it becomes more of a take it or leave it message. Contrast that attitude with passages like 1 Peter 1:23 (“the living and enduring word of God”), Jeremiah 23:29 (God’s word is a fire and a hammer), 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (the word of God which performs its work in you who believe), Ephesians 6:17 (the sword of the Spirit), and John 12:48 (the word that will judge us in the last day). The Bible is from God to us, and we must always make that connection!

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