Journal Ps 119:25-48 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “I have CHOSEN the way of faithfulness; I SET your rules before me. (v30)
I WILL KEEP your law continually, forever and ever, and I shall walk in a wide place for I have SOUGHT your precepts. (v44)
TEACH me, O Lord, the way of your statues and I will keep it to the end. (v33)
GIVE me understanding that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. (v34)
(…for) I find my DELIGHT in your commandments, which I love. (v47)
I will lift my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statues. (v48) (Excerpts from Ps 119:25-48)
Observation: There are times of study in which it is appropriate to find key words, key phrases, and patterns to consider and think about. Psalms 119 is a good place to practice a different kind of study process.
Analysis: One of the first effective practices of study I encountered is to highlight verbs and adverbs; you know, action words and/or phrases. “I will, I shall, do [this] or [that]” are those kinds of highlights you will find in some of my various bibles on my shelf. It is still a good practice and very effective.
I have begun looking for the patterns of intent in the Scriptures. The above references are showing a particular pattern:
- My decision or intent to objectively pursue.
- Calling upon the Lord to provide ability through supernatural intervention.
- Stating what will be the subjective result.
The Gospel, God’s Sovereignty, and Human Responsibility are all present here.
- I can decide and intend (purpose) to study His Word. All good and specifically my Responsibility. “…that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” (Acts 17:27a)
- Because of indwelling sin (according to the Gospel), the Word of Life can be studied but it takes the Holy Spirit to imbed His Word in my heart. I need to call on the Help of God (His Sovereignty) in faith that He will provide according to my prayer.
- And, in faith, the result should be anticipated and desired that DELIGHT and LOVE of His Word will erupt in my being because it is His delight to answer this prayer.
Psalms 119 is broadly about seeking Him through His Word and cultivating delight. His Word and God go hand in hand. What is revealed here through the Bible (God’s self-revelation) is awesome, wondrous, and stupendous. There are men who have studied it their whole lives…and that is what Men are called to do.
On a personal level, what are you wanting to be known for at the end of your days? A David? A Job? A certain apostle? A father of the faith like Charlie Spurgeon? A Wesley or Whitehead or Wilberforce? How about a Keith Green? Carson, Sproul, or Piper? Is there someone I am inclined to imitate that I can name (like is suggested in Heb 13)?
There is nothing better in this life than to be absorbed and delighted in knowing Him and his ways.
Prayer: Father, may I delight in searching for You all my days; never to think I have it all; never to rest on my laurels; never to think that one decision 5 decades ago can keep me fresh 5 decades later. In you and only you, do I hope.