Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. However, it has much more to contribute to the Bible student than just being the answer to a trivia question. This Psalm is devoted entirely to professing the greatness of God’s word. All but four of the 176 verses of this Psalm make some allusion to the word of God. How fitting is it that the longest chapter in the Bible is about the Bible itself?
Let’s consider some of the things that this Psalm says about the word of God.
1. God’s Word is Eternal. “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven” (v. 89). The ideas, teachings and philosophies of men seem to change almost on a daily basis. What was taught as scientific fact one day is proven to be false the next. What was an accepted standard for one generation is ridiculed as “old fashioned” by their children’s generation. We are used to this kind of change.
God’s word is not subject to such changes. It has been “settled” or “established.” Thus, there is no need for us to call together a conference and vote on issues such as homosexuality, same-sex marriage, women preachers, etc. These matters are dealt with in God’s word, which means that they have been settled. They are not open for debate.
Also, notice where God’s word has been settled: in heaven. Such a statement reminds us that man was not involved in the formation of God’s word, nor is he granted access to its source so as to be allowed to tamper with it. Because of this, God’s word will stand as it is forever. God’s word is eternal. It is not subject to the passing of time, the rejection of men, or even the destruction of the entire world (Matt. 24:35).
2. God’s Word is Truth. “You are near, O LORD, and all Your commandments are truth” (v. 151). This should be no surprise to us. God’s word is entirely true because it is impossible for the Author to lie (Heb. 6:18).
This characteristic of God’s word is significant because we are living in a world that is trying to abolish absolutes. People are encouraged to decide for themselves what their truth is and to allow others make their own choice. Anyone with an understanding of human nature knows the foolishness of such a notion. A world without absolute truth is a world ruled by chaos and injustice. We need an absolute standard, and God’s word provides this standard for us.
3. God’s Word is Right. “Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way” (v. 128). Read this verse again. Do you believe what it says? Do you believe that everything that God’s word says is always right? The answer to this question will say a lot about our faith.
God’s word is the standard for the Christian. It is our rule. What the Bible says about such things as the home and family relationship, the employer and employee relationship, our responsibility to government, our responsibility to the local church, appropriate dress, speech and conduct, etc., is right. One who says, “I know what the Bible says, but…” does not believe that the word of God is right.
4. God’s Word Provides Enlightenment and Guidance. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (v. 105). There were no streetlights in ancient times. If one ventured out at night, he needed a lamp to find his way and to avoid stepping into danger. Like a lamp, God’s word shines forth in a world of darkness allowing us to find our way. Like a lighthouse, God’s word is a beacon alerting us to the dangers and pitfalls of life. Like a house light that has been left on by a loved one, God’s word shows us the way home.
God’s word is not just a collection of strange names and ancient history. Neither is it a volume of deep theological truths that the common man has no hope of understanding. The Bible does contain history and meaty subjects, but God’s word is also very practical, meeting many of us where we live our daily lives. It shows us how to be better husbands and wives, parents, citizens, employees, friends, etc. It gives us guidance in times of decision, help in times of trouble, stability in times of doubt, comfort in times of sorrow, and perspective in times of joy and celebration.
5. God’s Word Provides Salvation. “Lord, I hope for Your salvation, and I do Your commandments” (v. 166). If the Bible only helped us in this life, it would still be the best book ever written. However, not only is the Bible the best book to help us through this life, it is the only book that can prepare us for the life to come. God’s word is able to save our eternal souls (James 1:21). No other book can make this claim.
God’s word reveals our problem (sin), the solution (the shed blood of Jesus Christ), and what we must do in order to solve our problem (believe in and obey the gospel).
Conclusion: God’s word is great. It is eternal, it is the truth, it provides the standard for what is right and wrong, it is a practical source of guidance and wisdom, and it is our only hope of salvation. However, it is of no use to us if we fail to read it and obey it. Let us be like the Psalmist of Israel who wrote, “I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways,” and “I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end” (Ps. 119:15, 112).