Theme: The Christian’s Heritage
In this week’s lessons, this stanza of Psalm 119 tells us how we can shed light on the darkness of our lives.
Scripture: Psalm 119:105-112
We have already seen how the fourteenth stanza speaks of the clarity of the Word of God. The Bible is not only clear itself; it is clarifying, which means that we see other things clearly by its light. The psalmist has noted the various things we see: 1) the way we should go (v. 105); 2) righteous behavior (v. 106); 3) suffering (v. 107); 4) right worship (v. 108); 5) the dangers of this life (v. 109); and 6) enemies (v. 110). In today’s study we conclude this list.
7. The believer’s true heritage (v. 111). And that leads to our spiritual heritage, that is, to what we are looking toward and working for. What do you suppose that is? Will the writer say that his heritage is some heavenly reward? A golden crown perhaps or a palace? A word of praise from God? Surprisingly, he says that his heritage is what he has been speaking about all along, that is, God’s Word itself.
Your statutes are my heritage forever;they are the joy of my heart.
What a remarkable statement! Why does he say that all he desires for his inheritance is what he already possesses? More importantly, why should we say it? There are several reasons.
First, of all the many seemingly weighty and important things we know on this earth, the only thing that will last forever is God’s Word. Jesus was not exaggerating when he said, “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Our houses will pass away. Our bank accounts will pass away. Our earthly achievements and reputations will pass away. Everything. Only the Word of God will not pass away. It makes sense that the psalmist would fix his mind on God’s Word and cherish it.
Second, because the law of God is the very Word of God, it is actually part of God himself, just as our words are part of what we are. In fact, it is what we possess of God here. So when the writer says that God’s statutes are his heritage forever, what he is actually saying is that God himself is his heritage. He said it explicitly earlier: “You are my portion, O LORD” (v. 57). There is nothing better than that, so he does not look for anything better. How could he? He sets his heart on God’s Word.
Third, the psalmist has found God’s statutes to be “the joy of [his] heart.” He is fully satisfied with God’s Law. Therefore, he wants nothing more than to go on enjoying God’s words forever. Isn’t it true that the reason so many of us are dissatisfied with life is that we have not found the satisfaction in God and his Word that the psalmist has? He was spiritually rich. By contrast, we are rich in things but poor in soul.
I have already pointed out several times in these studies that the psalmist was a practical person. We see this quality again in the way the nun stanza ends (vv. 105-112). It ends with a statement of fierce determination on the writer’s part: “My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end” (v. 112). Why does he want to keep God’s decrees to the very end? The answer is for all of the above he has mentioned. He wants to keep God’s decrees because he will be able to live a God pleasing life, he will understand the nature of true righteousness, he will possess a divine perspective on suffering and triumph in it, he will be able to worship God rightly, he will not be turned aside from obedience to God’s law by any physical danger, nor be distracted by the snares of evil men, and he will have a heritage that will last forever.
Sometimes we talk about having a biblical world-and-life view, as opposed to having a secular worldview. A secular worldview is bounded by what we can see and by the here and now. A biblical worldview sees everything in the light of God and from the perspective of God’s revelation. This can be expressed many ways. But there is probably no better short statement of what is involved than what is in these eight verses. They deal with God, life, righteousness, suffering, enemies and our heritage. To put it another way, they are what life is about. The only way the psalmist has attained this perspective is because the Word of God articulates it clearly.
The evangelical church needs to recapture this in our day. It needs to turn from its sad worldliness and once again begin to live by the truths of God’s Word. We are where this radical reorientation must begin.
What is a believer working toward? Why is this remarkable?
For what three reasons should we desire God’s Word?
How does stanza 14 end?
Explain the meaning of a biblical worldview.
Reflection: Are you satisfied with your life? How does your answer reflect your relationship with God?
Application: List the seven reasons to keep God’s decrees. Place this list where you will see and be reminded of them.
Key Point: Of all the many seemingly weighty and important things we know on this earth, the only thing that will last forever is God’s Word.
For Further Study: The Psalms have much to teach us about the Word of God. If you would like to have your own copy of James Boice’s sermons on all 150 psalms, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is offering his three-volume paperback set for 25% off the regular price.