We love to use the word “love”, don’t we? I love football and pizza and ice cream — not to mention 1,001 other things that may or may not deserve such a high accolade.
The writer of Psalm 119 is not shy to proclaim what he loves. He loves the Word of God. And he says so — not once, but ten times in this chapter. He loves God’s commands (v. 47, 48, 127), God’s law (v. 97, 113, 163), God’s statutes (v. 119, 167), God’s promises (v. 140), and God’s precepts (v. 159).
In fact, this man not only loves God’s Word, he is determined to demonstrate that love by learning it (v. 7), obeying it (v. 8), meditating on it (v. 15), delighting in it (v. 16), longing for it (v. 20), keeping it (v. 22), choosing it (v. 30), holding fast to it (v. 31), following it (v. 33), trusting it (v. 42), putting my hope in it (v. 43), seeking it (v. 45), speaking of it (v. 46), reaching out for it (v. 48), remembering it (v. 52), giving thanks for it (v. 62), and looking for it (v. 82).
Wow! Is this man consumed with the Bible, or what?
And the verbs listed above come from just the first half of Psalm 119 (verses 1-88). There’s another 88 verses that contain similar language (verses 89-176)!
What I find intriguing is that everything this writer says about the Word can also be said about God Himself. When Jesus was asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (Mark 12:28), what was his answer? Did he say, “Love the Bible with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”?
No. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Mark 12:30).
And what about all the other verbs that are used by the psalmist to describe his devotion to Scripture? Are we not commanded elsewhere in the Bible to learn about God, to obey God, to meditate on God, to delight in God, to long for God, to choose God, to hold fast to God, to follow God, to trust God, to put our hope in God, to seek God, to speak of God, to reach out for God, to remember God, to give thanks for God, and to look for God?
It seems to me that the psalmist does not make a distinction between God and His Word. He has the same passion for Scripture that we are supposed to have for God.
If this is true, then this is huge. The psalmist’s language tells me that if I want to pursue God with unshakable faith, I do that by pursuing His Word with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. If I want to find God, I will find him in His Word. If I want to know God, I will know him through His Word. If I want to follow him and obey him, I will do that by following His Word and obeying His Word.
Isn’t this why the people of God are known as “the people of the Book”?
Isn’t this why Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching” (John 14:23)?
I believe it is.