Theme: True and Trustworthy
In this section of Psalm 119, we learn of the wonder of God’s Word, and of the obedience that is a proper response to it.
Scripture: Psalm 119:129-144
The theme of the next stanza of Psalm 119 is righteousness, doubtless because the Hebrew word for “righteous” (tzedek) begins with the letter that starts each verse in this section (tsadhe) and was the obvious word with which to begin. But even more than that, it is close to the word for the letter in form and pronunciation. It is found in verses 137, 138, 142, and 144.
This is another reason why the psalmist knew that God’s words are wonderful. It is because they are altogether righteous. Two thoughts go together in these references. First, the source of righteousness is the character of God (“Righteous are you, O LORD,” v. 137; “Your righteousness is everlasting,” v. 142). Second, the Law of God gives expression to that righteousness (“Your laws are right,” v. 137; “The statutes you have laid down are righteous,” v. 138; “Your statutes are forever right,” v. 144). A way we might express this is to say that the Bible mirrors the character of God. This means that anyone who cares about knowing what is righteous and wants to act righteously should study the Bible. Statesmen should study it. So should judges, policemen, teachers, parents, ministers—indeed, everyone who believes that morality matters.
In the middle of this discussion of the righteousness of God’s laws a new, sixth reason why God’s Word is wonderful occurs. It is that God’s words have been tested and proved to be reliable (vv. 140, 141). In other words, they really do give understanding, disclose God to be a God of great mercy, provide direction for life, victory over sin and deliverance from man’s oppression, reveal God himself, and teach what true righteousness is. Moreover, they show that God, who has given the Scriptures, can be trusted, since all his promises are “amen and amen.” They never fail of fulfillment.
Have you found God’s Word to be fully trustworthy? Years ago there were Christians who used to put the promises of God to the test and when they received what was promised would write “T and P” in their Bible next to the promise. The letters stood for “tried and proven,” exactly what the psalmist says he found to be true in his experience.
The last of these seven reasons why the Word of God is wonderful in the view of the psalmist is because God’s words are true. “Your law is true,” he says (v. 142). Why should that be important? Obviously because so much of what we hear from other sources, even those considered reputable and reliable, is false. Who trusts anyone’s words today? A number of years ago two researchers named James Patterson and Peter Kim wrote a book called The Day America Told the Truth, in which they claimed that Americans lie all the time and often for no apparent reason.1 Politicians lie. Directors of large corporations lie. Employees lie. Husbands and wives lie.
Is there anyone who does not lie? God does not lie. Every word he has ever spoken can be trusted. Every word! That is truly wonderful!
1James Patterson and Peter Kin, The Day America Told the Truth (New York, NY: Prentice-Hall, 1991), p. 201.
What are the fifth, sixth, and seventh reasons why the Word of God is wonderful?
Where does righteousness come from? How can Christians think and act in righteous ways?
Reflection: What promises of God have proven to be true in your life?
Review: Review all seven reasons why God’s words are wonderful.
Application: Knowing that God does not lie, and that every word of his can be trusted, how can that help you in difficult situations where you are not sure what God is doing?
For Further Study: The Psalms teach us much about the character of God, and what our response ought to be as Christians. James Boice’s studies can be used for personal or family devotions, as well as for smaller group studies or Sunday school classes. Order your copy of the three-volume set, and receive 25% off the regular price.