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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Passion for the Word (Psalm 112:1)

"Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands" (Psalm 112:1).

The fear of the Lord. A passion for His Word. Blessing. The three go hand in hand.

Six of the Psalms begin with the words, "Blessed is the man . . ." (Psalm 1:1; 32:1; 41:1; 112:1; 119:1; 128:1). And at least eight other Psalms describe the man who is blessed (2:12; 32:12; 34:8; 40:4; 84:4-5, 12; 89:15; 94:12; 106:3). In each of these verses the Word of God plays a central role in this "blessed" man's life.

In today's reading, Psalm 111 ends by describing the fear of the Lord, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding" and Psalm 112 begins by describing the man who fears the LORD. These verses in Psalms describing the "blessed man" are like links of a chain with the first link being the most important:
  • Those who fear the Lord delight greatly in His commandments
  • Those who delight in His commandments trust also in Him
  • Those who trust in Him know and experience His forgiveness
  • Those who experience His forgiveness walk in an undefiled way and in fellowship with Him
  • Those who walk in fellowship with Him express compassion toward others
Experiencing fellowship with God, forgiveness from God, and compassion for others all stem from prioritizing God's Word. Unbelief, unforgiveness toward others, broken fellowship with God, and lack of compassion for others are all symptoms of a lack of a high regard for God and His Word of God. Genuine repentance of those sins begin by confessing the lack of esteem for God and His Word. 

Both Israel and Judah went into captivity because their kings did not revere God's Word (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). Their lack of Bible literacy, like a domino effect, led to unbelief and then, an defiled way. Upon their return to the land of promise God raises up Ezra and others to raise the bar of Bible literacy among His people. Psalm 119 demonstrates that biblically literate people generally fear God and walk in an undefiled way. May God's people raise the bar of Bible literacy in our day!

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Psalm 111
  • List the the five descriptions of the works/deeds of the Lord in this Psalm.
  • How does verse nine summarize His works?
  • How does knowing and pondering His works benefit the believer?
Psalm 112
  • What characterizes the "blessed man"?
  • What is the result or consequences of delighting in the commands of God listed in this Psalm?
Psalm 117
  • Describe God's love toward his people.
Psalm 119:1-72
  • How are "blessed" people defined?
  • Each of the 22 sections of 8 verses contains one or more requests, reveals the role God's Word played in the "blessed" man's life, and expresses spiritual determinations of the "blessed" man. Make a column for each of these categories and record your findings from each of these sections in Psalm 119:1-72.
Turning truth into prayer:
Tell the LORD that you want to delight in His Word and begin making lifestyle changes today so that the Word of God is your priority.