Knowing the Bible will change your life! The Bible will guide you. Meditate on its words. Learn about the background... Join a Bible Study. Set aside time each day to read a portion of the Bible. You don’t know where to start? Ask for Help!
1) Reverence for the authority of God’s Word.
2) Admiration for its holiness.
3) Jealousy for its honor.
4) Respect for all that it says.
5) Diligence in the study of it.
6) Eager desire to obey it.
7) Readiness to praise it.
8) Great desire to share it with others.
Bible means library, it is a book of books! I believe the Bible is the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Each book has its own story pointing the way to God, teaching the true nature of man, and describing how reconciliation with God is made possible through Jesus Christ. (on the front of the church website I posted a list of finding Jesus in every book of the Bible…) The Bible outlines the promises of God, the love of God, the judgment of God, and the impossibility for man to achieve full acceptance without God’s intervention on our behalf. If you don’t know where to begin… ASK. If I have a problem with the computer I say, “Sally, help.” If you get confused about the Bible, ask for help… (any of you seasoned Christians willing to raise your hand that people can come to you?…you are needed.)
The Bible will change you. Do you crave the Bible? You will grow in your faith. Your mind and heart will be transformed. Why study the Bible? I have chosen Psalm 119:9-16 to answer that question. The theme of this lengthy Psalm is all about love for God’s word, meditating on God’s law, and delighting in God’s message for his people. Ps. 119 is about learning to love the Word of God. It is about what the Word of God does to us as we internalize the Bible.
A few Ps. 119 facts: Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. With its 176 verses, Psalm 119 has more verses than 14 Old Testament Books and 17 New Testament Books. The structure of Ps. 119 is fascinating ~ 22 sections corresponds to the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet … i.e. an ABC Psalm. Each section has 8 verses and each verse begins with that letter of the alphabet. I learned in preparing this message that there is a tradition in the Greek Orthodox Church that King David, the author of Ps. 119, used the Psalm to teach his son Solomon both the Hebrew alphabet, and the “alphabet of the spiritual life.” This Psalm is not so much an inspiration to study the Bible, as it is a testimony of the Joy of life when God’s word gets into you. God speaks into your heart as you become familiar with the Bible, and you discover a joy, a peace, a delight, an amazement.
Look at the opening question of Ps. 119: “How can a young man keep his way pure?” Pure. Clean. Honorable. Integrity. This is about cleanliness: in keeping with the “B” section theme, the answer is obvious: how to stay clean? take a Bath ~ take a spiritual bath to remain pure/clean. Plunge into God’s Word! a few funnies with a purpose:
Ned: Was I ever in hot water last night! Ed: You were? What did you do? Ned: I took a bath ! the Bible is challenging, the Bible will change you. It can be like getting into hot water because if you take the Bible seriously you may have to truly change your life! That can be scary, because we may not always like what we do, but it’s all we know and we don’t want to change, we resist taking a spiritual bath.
What animal do you look like when you get into the bath ? A little bear ! At first when you begin to get into God’s word it can be a bit overwhelming, you feel vulnerable, a little bear…
Why did the bank robber take a bath? So he could make a clean getaway. A spiritual bath will guide you, give confidence, a clean getaway, a clean pathway to life.
What happened to the leopard who took a bath three times a day ? After a week he was spotless! Keep on taking a spiritual bath and you will become spotless.
Ps. 119:8. Immerse/bathe yourself in the word of God. Here is an important point: Behavior must come after belief ~ live according to your word. Discover God’s word and then live according to what you learn. Many people get it backwards, they have decided what they want to do and then either dismiss what the Bible says or explain it away. That is not loving the Bible, that is disrespecting the Bible. Have you ever had anyone say to you, “I am not as religious as you.” Translation: “I don’t want to strictly follow God’s word.” You cannot pick and choose what portions of the Bible to follow, or the Bible has no authority… we must strive to live your life according to the principles, the values: Live according to the Will of God!
Ps. 119:10 has a wonderful twin truth: I seek you God, but I need you to keep me focused. God’s Word must be a priority. Not an add on. Do you truly understand what an amazing book is the Bible? I was looking at the display cabinet in the social hall ~ did you know there is an actual handwritten authentic letter written during the civil war? How much more amazing is the Bible ~ the Words of God, the instructions of God, the commands of God. The Bible is alive....
Ps. 119:11. Hidden. Memorizing is one application of this verse, but I think it is also about knowing the Bible, becoming more and more familiar so that you know Bible principles. The purpose of knowing and loving the Bible is to keep from sinning. Sin is anything that you see, do or say that takes you away from God.
We are invited to hide the word of God in our hearts. What a beautiful image. Hidden treasures are intriguing. Here is the story of one real life hidden treasure: From 1885 until the Russian Revolution in 1917, Saint Petersburg’s House of Fabergé created 50 Imperial Easter Eggs as special commissions for the Tsar’s family. These eggs weren’t just encrusted with the world’s most precious stones and metals; each shell opened to reveal a “surprise”—anything from a ruby pendant to a tiny bejeweled train with working mechanics.
When Communists seized control of Russia, they didn’t have much use for these decadent symbols. In 1927, Joseph Stalin’s young regime was dangerously low on cash, so the Soviets decided to hold what amounted to an extended high-end yard sale. Foreign collectors snapped up the Fabergé offerings, and today only 10 of the 50 original eggs still reside at the Kremlin. Of the remaining 40, 32 are in museums or private collections. But eight have vanished entirely. Estimates value the missing Imperial eggs at as much as $30 million apiece! Whether they’re lost or residing in private collections, these Easter eggs are definitely worth finding.
Hide the Word of God in your heart. Treasure it. Love it. You will always be able to find it. The Word of God is more valuable than a Fabergé egg…read, memorize, study, meditate, think upon the Word of God, the Bible… nothing will change you like God’s word, keep you focused on what he values, his commands, his precepts.
Ps. 119:12 Teach me. One of the wonderful descriptions of the Christian is disciple. We are called to be disciples. A life of learning. Teach me. Always crave more understanding, more wisdom from God, more insight…
Ps. 119:13. This is in contrast to the Hidden Word. I speak. I let people know. “I recount” I give a testimony of what I have seen and know of God’s word, the way it has changed me. The difference it makes. We speak of that which is important to us. Some of you are tired of hearing about the Seahawks. You know what? I want Seattle to win and go to the Superbowl, but win or lose, I will sleep the same tonight!
I am far more passionate about the Word of God. I am not neutral. You can live without the Seahawks. You cannot have a full life without the Word of God. When you bathe in God’s Word your heart you will be changed, you will praise the Lord, you will share your passion with the world.
Ps. 119:14. Rejoice. Rejoice. Being obedient to God changes your life. There is freedom in know what God wants. If you’ve ever worked in a job where you don’t know what is expected of you, when the rules keep changing, when the boss is moody, you know how much freedom there is in just knowing what is expected. The Bible tells us what God wants of us. Knowing his his rules, his desires, IS FREEDOM. We, in America, do not like the idea of submission, but that is exactly what we must do as we learn to love the Bible: I rejoice in FOLLOWING your statutes.
Ps. 119:15. Meditate. Consider. Yesterday I prepared the devotional for the Men’s breakfast. It was from John 16:33. I thought and thought and thought about that verse for days. The night before I was amazed at the insight that came to me, like the H.S. I’ve read the verse many times over the years, but never before did I meditate upon it, considered it, and I gained more insight that I personally found incredibly helpful and I think the guys appreciated it. Meditating does that. Take a verse, a passage of scripture, and think about it, carry it with you… be amazed when it comes alive…God’s word will change you, the way you think, your life, what’s important…
Ps. 119:16 I love this final word. So much of this scripture is lofty. Like going to a retreat and getting excited about God. Then you come home and have a let down because you find yourself back in the everyday world. David seems to understand this tendency of human nature to get excited, exuberant, making huge commitments, so in this final commitment he pulls us back to reality that God’s Word is to be lived and practiced in the everyday world.
The Bible is an amazing gift from God to you. We ought to be highly motivated to absorb God’s Word, but reality is that we get sidetracked. We get confused and tired. We lose our heads and don’t feel like obeying God. David ends with this simple, doable, life orienting declaration: “I will not neglect your word.”
Learn to love the Bible. Sometimes you may hate it because the challenge is too great, yet keep on bathing in the word. Keep on immersing yourself in the teaching. If you are young in your faith, I am so happy to be able to say to you that you have found a good community of faith that is patient. Ask for help. Begin wherever you are.
This scripture is a prayer: “I want my life to be changed God, to be pure, to live a clean God honoring life. I will bathe in your word. I will treasure your word in my heart to keep me from sin. I will never quit learning. The words from my mouth will reflect the treasure in my heart. I am so happy to follow your ways. I will think constantly what your words mean. I will be changed by inviting your word to transform me.” Challenge yourself to change! Learn to love the Word of God.