How Do You Handle the Word of God?

Psalm 119 Delighting in God's Word   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  39:11
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One of the great challenges of life is that of eating right and exercising regularly. I know I personally struggle with how to handle my diet and get the proper exercise to have a healthy body and healthy heart. But did you realize that there are also some exercises and principles that are necessary to be implemented in our daily lives to have a healthy heart for God? That is what the verses before us this morning deal with. How you handle the Word of God will determine your heart health for God.
When a person is devoted to the Word of God he will have some desires which the ungodly certainly do not have. He will handle the Word of God differently.
So, this morning let’s look at some elements of how the Psalmist handles the Word of God and how we must do the same things in order to have a healthy heart for God.

I. The Psalmist’s Passion Regarding the Word (119:9-10)

A. He had a Passion for Sanctification

Psalm 119:9 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping your word.”
The Psalmist wants to be pure, holy, clean, upright. A rare desire but a very wise desire indeed. How does a young man remain pure? This is a subject that the Bible concerns itself with over and over again. There is not a question more important to ask than this one. The writer of Hebrews said this about purity, holiness.
Hebrews 12:14 “Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.”
Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
2 Timothy 2:22 “Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
The word “young” does not exclude “old” but rather shows the importance of seeking purity early in life. Failure to seek purity in one’s youth brings many scars, tears, regrets, and ruin.
Those of us who were saved later in life can testify to that fact.
So, young or old, how do we stay pure? “By keeping God’s Word.” That speaks about obedience, determination. It’s not our promises to God, but His promises to us that will give us victory over sin. The psalmist knew that it was easier to make promises to God than keep them. We are studying Romans on Wednesday evenings and right now we are in chapter 7 where Paul learns as we must also learn that only the indwelling Holy Spirit enables the child of God to fulfill God’s righteousness in daily living.
Oswald Chambers said, “The first thing to do in examining the power that dominates me is to take hold of the unwelcome fact that I am responsible for being so dominated. If I am a slave to myself, I am to blame because at some point away back I yielded to myself. Likewise, if I obey God I do so because I have yielded myself to Him.
Applying God’s Word personally will clean up your life.
John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

B. He had a Passion for Supervision

Psalm 119:10 “I have sought you with all my heart; don’t let me wander from your commands.”
The psalmist knew that a half-hearted attempt would not get it done. We must have an attitude of commitment when following the Lord. Our tendency is to wander or drift away from Him. Apathy and indifference cool us spiritually and we become “ho-hum” in our dedication and service to Christ. That’s why we need to seek Him with our whole heart, with a 100% effort.
Any walk that is not according to the Word of God is “wandering.” The world is mostly interested in wandering. They want to live a life apart from the Word of God and do what the Lord forbids.
I don’t know about you this morning but as for me, I want the Lord to be the one to guide me and direct my path. I want Him to be the one in control of everything I do. I need the Lord’s supervision in everything I do. I see those bumper stickers on cars that say, “The Lord is my Co-pilot.” I don’t need a Co-pilot, I need a pilot.
We need to seek Him with our whole heart and be obedient to His Word that we might not wander away from Him.

II. The Psalmist’s Position Regarding the Word (119:11-14)

A. The Depositing of the Word in His Heart

Psalm 119:11 “I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.”
The best place to put the Word is in your heart where it will do the most good.
Notice that verse doesn’t say, “I have treasured your word in my ‘night stand, or on my table’ that I might not sin against you.” You see, having a Bible in your home is a good thing. Taking that Bible in your hand is an even better thing. Better than both of those is putting that Bible into your head, but the best thing of all is to put that Bible in your heart. We have to learn to get the Bible in our heart. In order to do that we have to read it, and study it, and meditate on it, and memorize it.
Hiding God’s Word in our hearts involves more than mere knowledge of Scripture. It must move from the head to the heart. The Word must be allowed to transform our lives. We must learn it and then we must submit our lives to it. There are a lot of folks that can quote Scripture. There are some lost people who who know the Bible better than some that go to church every Sunday. We must feast on God’s Word, make it part of our life, and be obedient to it.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.”
Adrian Rogers said, “When you’ve been feasting on Jesus, you don’t have to be back in the back alley with the devil’s billy goats eating tin cans.”

B. The Desire to be Taught by the Word

Psalm 119:12 “Lord, may you be blessed; teach me your statutes.”
The psalmist knew that there is no teacher anywhere better than God. The Holy Spirit will reveal to our hearts and minds the truth of the Scriptures.
John 16:13 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.”
We need to know the Word of God more than anything else. No topic for education is more important than the Word, but there are only a few colleges that have courses that will help you learn the Scriptures. Even Christian colleges are not doing a great job in educating people in the Scriptures. They put the emphasis on learning a lot of things but not the Word of God. Secular colleges are more likely to forbid the Bible in the classroom than teach the Bible.
That’s why it is important for parents to have their kids in church where they can learn about God and Jesus at an early age and develop values that come from God’s Word as opposed to the society we live in now. Children as young as 3 years old can begin to learn about God.

C. The Declaring the Word with His Lips

Psalm 119:13 “With my lips I proclaim all the judgments from your mouth.”
There are a good many things that we say that would be better if we left them unsaid but the Word of God is not one of them. Declaring God’s Word is something that needs to be said. It is the best and wisest declaration that anyone can make. Declaring God’s judgments not only involves speaking His Word, but also demonstrating it in our own lives by the way we live. It needs to be put into practice in our daily lives.
Psalm 119:46 “I will speak of your decrees before kings and not be ashamed.”
Acts 4:20 “for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.””
Martin Luther observed that some people speak God’s truth but do not have it in their hearts, while others have it in their hearts but are afraid to proclaim it vigorously for fear of losing friends and making enemies and persecutors. He said, “It is not enough to believe with the heart unto righteousness, unless confession unto salvation is also made with the mouth (Rom. 10:10).” James Montgomery Boice, Psalms 107–150: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005), 981.

D. The Delight He Finds in the Word

Psalm 119:14 “I rejoice in the way revealed by your decrees as much as in all riches.”
What makes you happy or cheerful? Do you ever get happy because of the Bible? Unfortunately, I am sure that many people don’t because they don’t take the time to read it. Some of you who have gone through some deep trials understand the joy and peace that comes from seeking refuge in the Scriptures.
In his book How To Be Born Again, Billy Graham tells of a missionary who was imprisoned by the Japanese in China. At this concentration camp the penalty for owning even a portion of the Scriptures was death. However, a small Gospel of John was smuggled to her in a winter coat. At night when she went to bed she pulled the covers over her head and, with her flashlight in hand, read a verse and then put herself to sleep memorizing that verse. In this way, over a period of time, she memorized the entire Gospel of John. When she went to wash her hands, she would take one page at a time, dissolve it with the soap and water, and flush it down the drain. “And that is the way,” she said, “that John and I parted company.”
This little missionary was interviewed by a Time reporter just before the prisoners were released and he happened to be standing at the gates when the prisoners came out. Most of them shuffled along, eyes on the ground, little more than automatons. Then out came the little missionary, bright as a button with radiance and joy on her face. One of the reporters was heard to ask, “I wonder if they managed to brainwash her?” The Time reporter overheard the remark and answered, “God washed her brain.”Friends, in the midst of trials, God gave this woman joy from His Word. This is one of the challenges of Scripture. Treasures from Treasured Psalms, Volume 3, Psalm 119 (VII. Our Cheerfulness over God’s Word (119:14))
Psalm 119:47 “I delight in your commands, which I love.”
Psalm 119:111 “I have your decrees as a heritage forever; indeed, they are the joy of my heart.”

III. The Psalmist’s Practice Regarding the Word (119:15-16)

A. His Meditation Regarding the Word

Psalm 119:15 “I will meditate on your precepts and think about your ways.”
This is not just casual thinking about the Word of God.
Some one has said, “Meditation is a wise concentration; a consistent contemplation; and internalization of God’s Word for ethical direction and obedience.”
Psalm 1:2 “Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.”
Joshua 1:8 “This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.”
You have to read God’s Word with thoughtfulness, and intention, and spend time lingering over it. We must think deeply about the Word, and when God reveals Himself, His purposes, His will and His way, we must be ready not to question God’s Word but rather be obedient to what it says.
Charles Spurgeon said, “Don’t question in the dark, what God showed you in the light.”
God’s Word has such practical worth. The Bible is our chart and compass on life’s stormy sea.
A woman that was on board a ship threading it’s way through rocks and shoals asked the captain if he knew where all the rocks were to be found. ‘No, Madam,’ he said, ‘but I know where the deep water is.’”

B. His Determination Regarding the Word

Psalm 119:16 “I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.”
Where our joys are, reveals our character, and where our affections lie. The psalmist delights in the Word of God. Here it is said to be the “statutes” not just the promises. “Statutes” are laws, commands. We like promises but not precepts. The psalmist said he will love the precepts. “Delight” is not a mild attitude but a very earnest one. The word means to skip about, to jump for joy. We don’t see much of this excitement for the Word today.
There are those whose delight increases when the sermon from the Word is over, not when it begins.
Not forgetting God’s Word takes effort. You have to go over the Word often, review it. It takes work and time to do but it will be worth it. I’m sure you have heard about the sin of backsliding, right? It is often brought about by forgetting what the Word of God says. Satan and the world will try to fill your mind with so many unimportant things that you forget the Word.
In 1863, President Lincoln designated April 30th as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. In his speech, he said, “Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has grown, but we have forgotten God.” Treasures from Treasured Psalms, Volume 3, Psalm 119 (VIII. The Contemplation and Memorization of Scriptures (119:15–16))
I recently read a true story about a pastor of a church. The pastor had a kitten that climbed up a tree in his back yard and then it was afraid to come down. The pastor coaxed, offered warm milk, etc. The kitten, however, would not come down. The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor came up with a great idea. He decided that if he tied a rope to his car and slowly drove forward, the tree would bend down and he could reach up and get the little kitten.Well, that’s what he did, all the while checking his progress in the car. He then figured if he went just a little bit further, just a teeny bit, the tree would be bent sufficiently for him to easily reach the kitten with little effort and complication. But as he moved the car forward, something unplanned happened. The rope broke! The tree went “boing” and the kitten turned into Super Kitten and went flying through the air and out of sight.
The pastor felt terrible. He walked all over the neighborhood looking for that little kitten. He asked people if they had seen the little kitty, but nobody saw it at all. So the pastor prayed, “Lord, I just commit this kitten to your keeping,” and he went about his business. There was nothing else he could do.
A few days later, he was at the grocery store and met one of his church members. He happened to look into her shopping cart and was amazed to see cat food. This woman was a cat hater and everyone knew it. She did not like cats at all. So he asked her, “Why are you buying cat food when you have made it clear that you hate cats so much?”
She replied, “Pastor, you won’t believe this. My little girl has been begging me for a cat but I have continually refused to get one. A few days ago, she started begging me again for a cat. I finally told her, ‘If God gives you a cat, then I’ll let you keep the cat.’ ”The woman then told the pastor, “Pastor, I watched my child go out into the yard, get on her KNEES, and beg God for a cat. Pastor you really won’t believe this, but I saw it with MY OWN EYES. A kitten suddenly came flying out of the blue sky, with its paws outspread, and landed right in front of her! That’s why we now have a cat!” Treasures from Treasured Psalms, Volume 3, Psalm 119 (VIII. The Contemplation and Memorization of Scriptures (119:15–16))
When we forget the Lord, we miss out on these great answers to prayer and blessings in our lives. We miss out on seeing the great things God can do for us and others. Don’t forget about the Lord. Make Him comfortable in your heart.


How do you handle the Word of God? Do you have a healthy heart for God?
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