“I rejoice at your word”

Today we completed reading the 176 verses of Psalm 119. What impressed us was how often the Psalmist stresses the value of knowing God’s word. There is no point in reading God’s word if what we read has no effect on us. We read today, “The unfolding of your word gives light; it imparts understanding …” (verse 130) and leads to the plea for God’s help to “keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me” (verse 133).

Those with a firm relationship and reliance on God then feel great dismay at the attitudes they see around them; the Psalmist becomes very emotional about this, “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law … my zeal consumes me because my foes forget your words” (verses 136,139).

There have been many times in history where “foes” arise to make life difficult for those who follow Christ. The Psalmist says, “I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts … your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live” (verses 141,144).

He sees more than the continuation of the struggles of this mortal life, he looks forward to the time when he may live eternally – and because of this he declares, “The sum of your word is truth … my heart stands in awe of your words. I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil … great peace have they who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. I hope for your salvation, O LORD …” (verses 160-166). May God’s salvation be our hope and peace of mind, so that our ‘steps’ in this life are sure and firm.

In Luke’s Gospel today we read of John the Baptist’s message “to the crowds that came out to be baptized … ‘Bear fruits in keep with repentance’” (3:7,8) he told them. God’s call to people has not changed, but the foundation attitude of those who respond to the call is that they say to God, “I rejoice at your word”.