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PSALM 119:97-104 MEM

What a beautiful declaration of faith with which the psalmist begins this
section, O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. On Thursday
morning when I was beginning to study this passage of Scripture I was
on the phone to a Pastors wife, - her husband has cancer in his bowel
and secondaries in his liver. She knows the whole matter is in the hands
of the Lord but she sounded so exhausted, but she gave me an update on
her husband and then she told me of the delight in their small fellowship
of people hungry for studying the Word of God.

There are many, many hungry Christians and it is good to see them
hungry for the Word of God, - it is a true characteristic of the child of
God. If you want to grow as a Christian you must feed on the Word of
God. There is no other means that will help you to grow as much as
studying and applying the great truths of Scripture.

You can tell the difference between those professing Christ and who have
a longing and a hunger for Gods Word and those who havent. J esus
said, Mt. 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for
they shall be filled. And He said also, J n. 6:35 I am the bread of life: he that
cometh to me shall never hunger.

The Bible is unlike any other book. It contains no error because its
ultimate Author is God and He is incapable of error. It is inerrant, and
since God is its Author it is also inspired. Behind ever word and every
phrase lies the passion of God Himself. He loves His Word. He has
protected and continues to protect His Word against all its enemies, -
those who tried and try to destroy it, and those who try to weaken it. God
has declared, Is. 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven,
and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and
bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my
word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it
shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I
sent it. Gods Word is also powerful, J er. 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire?
saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

We shall study Ps. 119:97-104 using three very simple headings
because the truth that these verses bring to us are the meat and blood of
the truly born-again believer.

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DEVOTION TO HIS WORD (vv.97-100)
If you are travelling on a journey to a place you have never visited
before, you take out the map beforehand and discover exactly where the
place is.
Then you look to find the most direct and suitable route to that
destination and you plan your trip accordingly.
What if you started out and did not pay sufficient attention to your
preparations? Surely it would take you longer getting there if
indeed you did manage to get there at all!
Our relationship with the Lord is determined by His will, and in order
to know His will you need to understand His Word.
I have heard people say, As a Christian, I know I should not have
done that but I believe the Lord will understand. No, when you are
disobedient to the Word of the Lord He does not understand. He accepts
no excuses for disobedience to His Word.
You see, it is not just a head knowledge of Gods Word that we
need, but you need to know how to, - and be willing to, - put it into
practice in the decisions of everyday life.
Yes, it is important to have a head knowledge of the Word of God, -
but far too many people read far too many books on the Bible and they
forget to read the Book itself and they come up with all kinds of wrong
conclusions, - so while it is important to have a head knowledge of the
Word of God, it is even more important that the head knowledge is
translated into the heart knowledge of Gods Word.
This is what you find with the psalmist, he begins with an
exclamation because he is excited! O how love I thy law!
When you love someone or something it is accompanied with
reverence and respect. It is altogether different to everything else. When
you say you love the Bible the evidence shows itself in your obedience to
it.
The Bible does not just contain the word of God, the Bible is the
Word of God, - every word is true, every one of them is for your own
development in your walk and in your relationship with Him.
There is no substitute for His Word; you cannot go far down the
road unless you have a love for it and a desire to be obedient to it. It
is the measure of a Christian their love for the Word and their
response to Gods Word.
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If you see someone who tells you they are a believer and they are
consistently disobedient to Gods Word you would be totally in the
right if you ask, Where is the evidence of your born-again faith?
And it is not a matter either of quoting Bible verse after Bible verse
in every conversation, and neither is it a matter of giving up everything
else you ought to be doing and only reading the Bible all day. Instead, it
means that our minds and our hearts are so in tune with the Word of God
through the Holy Spirit that we yield to its leading and to its directing.
When you are doing something and you wonder if you can improve
on it that verse of Scripture comes into your mind. In other words, you
live what the Bible teaches, and to know what the Bible teaches you need
to read it and study it and apply it.
It has guidance for you in every sphere of life. Ah but, you might
say, what I am having to contend with has never been mentioned in
Scripture. Aye, but you will nevertheless discover it has principles
you can use in the particular situation in which you find yourself.
Its too difficult for me to understand! and this is the excuse of
many people who dont want to study Gods Word. But you can learn it
from Godly men and women around you, - they are examples of how you
live out Gods Word.
I cant understand some of the heavy doctrines of the Bible and
this type of folk doesnt even bother trying. Once again, read great men
whom God has richly blessed on the subjects of doctrine, - read the
Reformers, read the Puritans, read Spurgeon, Lloyd-J ones read men of
this calibre who knew, loved and lived the Word of God.
I dont have the time Well, look how the psalmist made the
time, O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. His mind was
constantly on God and His Word for that was where his heart was!
v.127 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
Matthew Henry wrote, What we love, we love to think of and
its true, isnt it? He went on to write, A good man carries his Bible with
him, if not in his hands, yet in his head and in his heart.
Devotion to Gods Word

OBEDIENCE TO HIS WORD (vv.101-102)
You may have heard of Rev. Ian Murray. He has written so many
books and articles Everything he writes is so meticulous and so intent
on being faithful to God and His Word. He has a fantastic mind and if
you see any of his books I encourage you to purchase and read them.
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Since as long as I can remember, - in my studying days, - I have
been reading Ian Murray. One day I went over to a friend who I hadnt
seen for a long time and he introduced me to the man he was speaking to.
The man was Ian Murray.
Do you know I heard what my friend had said but the Ian
Murray I had said hello to was so gentle and unassuming that I did not
actually realise he was Ian Murray, the writer and commentator.
At our fraternal in Glasgow, Ian Murray was the speaker and after he
had finished there was time for questions and comments.
One young man, - with the know-it-all complex, - began pulling to
bits Mr. Murrays lecture/paper he had given to us.
Now Mr. Murray has a fantastic mind with a vast intellect of matters
spiritual and Biblical Instead of putting the young upstart in his place,
Ian Murray gently and very kindly gave way to the young man.
That spoke volumes to me! It is not always necessary to win an
argument in order to win ground for the Lord.
You can waste your time trying to argue your point with folk with a
limited capacity of intellect and whose mind is closed but remember
how J esus did it in his conflict with the devil; J esus quoted him Scripture
and moved on.
Of course, the devil quoted J esus Scripture too, - he quoted Scripture
to the Author! But the knowledge the devil had of Gods Word was
shown to be patchy and light and he failed to quote the Scriptures
correctly. He left pieces out when he quoted it to J esus.
In the same way the psalmists enemies were strangers to God. They
had no idea of the love the psalmist had for Gods Word and no idea how
Gods Word transformed his mind and his heart.
In our society today the Word of God is no longer held in high
regard. Its wisdom has been exchanged by the wisdom of the fallen world
and as a consequence the likes of abortion, homosexuality, marriage,
gambling etc etc has flooded in and become the accepted norm.
Sadly too, many in our churches do not speak out because even they
are no longer sure because they do not study the Word.
You need to study the Word. The soldier going out on patrol knows
his weapon, - he knows how to take it down and to put it up again. He is
sure of his arsenal The apostle tells us, Eph. 6:17 And take the helmet of
salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

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Yes, it is a weapon, a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands! But a
true student of the Word handles it carefully and respectfully; he is not a
person with a big head and who knows all the answers and who is full of
all sorts of wisdom.
A true student of the Word has an obedient heart and who loves and
lives to do Gods will.
We are told to feed on Gods Word and it is a feast, not a buffet!
We dont go to the buffet table and select what suits our appetite, only
those things that we like.
If the Bible tells you something is wrong, it is wrong and you do
not have anything to do with it.
If the Bible tells us something is right, we do not abandon it.
Devotion to Gods Word, Obedience to Gods Word

ENJOYMENT OF HIS WORD (vv.103-104)
The psalmists life was different to his enemies for his life was in the
hand of God. Yes, he had all sorts of evil and cruel opposition but, as
J esus said, Jn. 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they
follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave
them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's
hand.
He enjoyed His relationship with God and deepening that relationship
through the Word. He spoke about honey, - the sweetest taste. Honey is
good for you, Solomon told his son, Prov. 24:13 My son, eat thou honey,
because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste. But the
Word of God is even better for you.
Gods Word is pure, undefiled and it gives you all the energy and all
the spiritual nutrients you need for the road home to Heaven.
To get the best out of it you need to always obey it. You need to seek
to keep doing what it tells you. When you fail, dont let the devil
discourage you keep on going dont fail the next time!
Yes, to the unsaved the Bible is boring, dull, dreary, wearisome,
but to the child of God the Bible is food and nourishment.
It is beyond Bible study, - it is more than Bible study, - it is living out
in practice what the Word of God says to you in private.
And the more you recognise the need, the lessons of the Bible help
you in your spiritual walk with God the more you enjoy studying and
implementing those lessons.
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It is not drudgery and a hard toil, it is not a chore It is the
privilege of holding in your hands the Book that God has written and has
preserved for us today to guard and warn us so that we may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this
world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:11,12).

Conclusion
Devotion to Gods Word, Obedience to Gods Word, Enjoyment
of Gods Word, - that was the psalmists testimony.
Martin Luther wrote, The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet,
it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold on me. And his study of the
Bible brought him out of a blasphemous, idolatrous system that continues
to boast today semper eadem (always the same), and it gloriously brought
him into the wonderful light of the Gospel of Free and Sovereign Grace.
It is a privilege to have Gods Word and may we love it and learn
from it as did the psalmist, Ps. 119:97 O how love I thy law! ... 103 How
sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!