*Spiritual Taste-buds that Love and Savor Scripture (Psalm 119:97-104)*
/Preached by Pastor Phil Layton at Gold Country Baptist Church on January 11, 2009/
*Psalm 119:97-104 (NASB95) 97 **O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.**
**98 **Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, For they are ever mine.**
**99 **I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.**
**100 **I understand more than the aged, Because I have observed Your precepts.**
**101 **I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word.** **102 **I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, For You Yourself have taught me.** **103 **How sweet are Your words to my taste!
/Yes, sweeter /than honey to my mouth!** **104 **From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.*
Don Whitney, in his book /Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life/ tells the true story of ‘a man in Kansas City who was severely injured in an explosion.
The victim's face was badly disfigured, and he lost his eyesight as well as both hands.
He had just become a Christian when the accident happened, and one of his greatest disappointments was that he could no longer read the Bible [he loved].
Then he heard about a lady in England who read braille with her lips.
Hoping to do the same, he sent for some books of the Bible in braille.
But he discovered that the nerve endings in his lips had been too badly damaged to distinguish the characters.
One day, as he brought one of the braille pages to his lips, his tongue happened to touch a few of the raised characters and he could feel them.
Like a flash he thought, “I can read the Bible using my tongue.”
[According to a 1988 article in /Our Daily Bread/] the man had read through the entire Bible four times’ using his tongue!’
I can’t help but think he may have paused and found special delight as his tongue felt verse 103 as he read through: “How sweet are your words to my taste, yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”
Do you love God’s Word?
If you lost your eyesight, would your great disappointment be that you can no longer read the Bible?
Do you read it?
If not, what’s your excuse?
Do you long for it?
Do you know we are commanded to?
We are not just to /admire/ those who do, we are all to /aspire/ to love and long more for God’s Word.
1 Peter 2 begins with our need to put off and turn from sins, and it says “like newborn babies, *long for* the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, *if you have tasted* the kindness of the Lord.”
We are commanded to “long for” it (NASB), or “crave” it (NIV) like a newborn babe craves his life-nourishing milk.
We are commanded to “desire” God’s Word (NKJV), not just fulfill our duty in God’s Word, it is actually a sin to not desire it and love it.
How do we know if we can truly say with v. 97 “O how I love Thy law”?
How can we increase our love for Scripture?
This passage by the inspiration of God answers these questions and more
*Outline: The Evidence and Effects of Being in Love with God’s Word:*
* Heart – what he dwells on – v. 97 \\ Mind – whose wisdom he follows - vv. 98-100*
* Feet – how he walks – vv.
* Mouth – where his tastes are – vv.
The whole person is impacted by what we love.
Let’s look first at:
*The Heart – What He Dwells On (v.
*97 **O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.*
The Bible has to say a lot about the heart.
We’ll talk more about this in our evening message.
Love springs from our heart, but in the Bible, it is the seat not only of affections but also thinking as well.
The first time the word “heart” is used in Scripture illustrates this – it speaks of sinful “*thoughts of the heart*” (Gen.
6:5) and the next verse says God was “*grieved in his heart*.”
Both thoughts and feelings take place in the biblical concept of the “heart.”
111 speaks of the “joy of my heart” (/emotion/)
11 speaks of memorizing in the heart (focused /thinking/)
The heart is the place where we can hide God’s Word, or better translated as “store up” or “treasure” God’s Word.
This thinking /exercise/ of the heart in turn gives /enjoyment/ of the heart as well.
In the writings of the famous missionary Henry Martyn, one of many who memorized Psalm 119, he said when he came to this /… /stanza of the psalm [v.
97-104]: “I experienced a solemn gladness in learning this part, “/MEM,” /of the 119th Psalm.”
That gladness is only found by learning and loving Scripture.
It’s very difficult to meditate on God’s Word, as v. 97 says, if we haven’t memorized God’s Word, as v. 11 says.
Memorization fuels meditation, and in v. 97, love is the kindling of this fire.
48 //And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, Which *I love; And I will meditate on Your statutes.*/
The entire book of Psalms begins with this idea of the connection between what we meditate, and what we love or delight in.
/Psalm 1:2 “his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”/
You can’t help but meditate and mull over and repeat things you love.
Songs you love you find yourself humming and thinking about during the day, sometimes when not even consciously trying to, they just come up.
In fact, this Hebrew word for “meditate” has a very verbal emphasis - it basically means to mutter, to utter, to speak, muse, to murmur in low tones, reviewing or reciting something.
It is a very interesting word study, let me give you just a few examples of how the word is translated in other places.
Proverbs 8:7 “For my mouth will /utter/ truth”
Job 27:4 “My lips certainly will not speak unjustly, Nor will my tongue /mutter/ deceit.”
Psalm 115:7 “They cannot /make/ a sound with their throat” (talking of idols)
Psalm 35:28 “My tongue shall /declare/ your righteousness”
Joshua 1:8 may be the most important example, since it’s the closest parallel to Ps 1:2: “This book of the law shall /not depart from your mouth/, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you will be careful to do everything written in it.”
This isn’t talking about /reading /the Bible, it’s talking about repeating it, reflecting on it, reciting it, regurgitating, rehearsing it thoughtfully and constantly, whether under your breath, out loud or internal.
Not telling it to others necessarily but telling it to yourself because you need to be reminded all the time, saying and savoring its truths to your soul, mulling it over quietly, thinking hard about it, pondering the rich truths on your lips and heart, dwelling on them.
Paul said “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
So in verse 97, God’s law is like a lozenge to be put on the tongue spiritually speaking; we savor it and let it flavor our affections.
Biblical meditation has been compared to a cow chewing its cud, taking it in, but not too quickly; munching slowly over and over and over again, swallowing, ingesting, digesting, letting it impress itself within us and work its way through us … to bring it back up later!
Meditation by regurgitation, recitation, reiteration.
It’s not just consuming it like a quick meal, but letting it consume more of us beyond the time that we feed on it.
Meditation is not spending 5-15 minutes in the Word at some set time in the day, that’s a good start, but this verse is talking about what you do the rest of the hours you’re awake each day.
“As a man *thinks in his heart*, so is he.”
What our heart thinks of and meditates on when it has the opportunity, when it’s in neutral, where our thoughts tend to go, this reveals who we are and where we are spiritually, according to Scripture.
It shows what we love.
Jesus said, “where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”
Your heart cannot help but dwell on what it treasures.
This is true of all of us, and v. 97 is written by a man who treasures Scripture: /O how I love thy law, it is my meditation all of the day./
11x in this psalm he speaks of his love for the Scriptures, using various terms or synonyms for the Word of God.
The word in verse 97 is /Torah, /which speaks of God’s instruction or teaching, not just the “thou shalt not” rules of the first five books of the OT, but the revelation of God Himself who the Torah calls us to love with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (the whole person).
In the Torah that the writer of Psalm 119 loved so much and knew so well, Gen. 27 uses this same Hebrew word “love” to speak of a savory meal which that Isaac loved.
It’s a similar connotation here – he loves and savors Scripture in his thoughts and meditations that are flavored by it.
Song of Solomon 1:3 also connects “savour of good ointments” with “love” (KJV).
Chapter 3 of that love poem uses this same word for “love” several times and connects it with seeking the object of her love, pursuing it actively, seeking help in seeking, and when she finds the beloved, she will not let go.
That’s the way we should treat the Scriptures as well.
We should seek and savor, actively pursue with all available helps, and when we have hold of the truths we love, we must never let them go.
Genesis 29:18-20 (NASB95) 18 Now *Jacob loved Rachel*, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”
… 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and *they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.*
The years seemed like days because of his love – what a picture!
She was on his mind as he worked (a great illustration of loving meditation – not driven by duty but delight).
This is similar to the idea in Psalm 119:97 – as we work doing whatever job God has called us to during the day, our great love for Scripture should be constantly on our mind and should make our work so much easier.
Experienced biblical counselor Jay Adams says this ‘is the ideal for the counselee: to come to the place where he so loves the law of God that all day he thinks about in relation to whatever it is that he must do at any given time.