Question 1: What did I learn about the nature and activity of God? In Psalms 119 we see that the author or authors of these verses as looking to apply God’s word in his life to fully understand God’s ways which will lead to blessings. The DTIB concludes with a similar statement saying the ultimate aim of our work in the reading of scripture is that it will lead us to Blessings of knowing God and conforming us to His Godly image (p. 25). The DTIB remind us that Knowing God is more than a simple academic exercise, but it is seeking God out daily in our life.
The DTIB says to know God is the author and subject of the scripture requires more than simple intellectual knowledge and acknowledgement of him. To know God is to love and obey him and all of his precepts as said over and over again in Psalms 119. God is calling His children to more than a simple academic knowledge of Him. The psalmist says he wants to love His precepts knowing that loving His word in that sense is loving God himself. Sometimes people love the simple knowledge and wisdom of the scripture yet never truly understand or realize the love of God.
The Psalmist says your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalms 119:105 ESV). God wants us to use His words as directional guides to our walk in life. God is calling us to more than simple studying of His words, but to use them as pillars in the construction of our daily routines and habits. This clearly leads us to see a loving God who is more than simple knowledge, but it is a desire driven by loving all things about God. Question 2: What did I learn about scripture as revelation? The evelation from Psalms 119 is that God is calling his children to more than a simple understanding of Him and His word. God is calling for us to love Him and His words. He wishes for our life and all that we do to be centered on God’s love and His words. Within Psalms 119 we see the Psalmist uses the words “laws” “statutes” “ordinances” and “precepts” of God repeatedly. The Psalmist uses these words as a reminder to us that God’s words have great value and that with this great words of value comes blessings as well.
It is with the God’s words, statutes, precepts, and laws which gives us as children of God better understanding of what God wants from us in our lives. These words and images help guide us to the understanding of who God is, which should lead us to a deeper love for God and His word. James Orr believed our development of doctrines needed to be formulated on infinite truths, which are found in the scripture (DTIB p. 178). God’s words, statutes, precepts, and laws are a part of these infinite truths that our Evangelic Doctrine has been found upon.
In the past The Lord instructed the Israelites in the Old Testament to love the Lord our God with all their heart, soul, and strength in Deuteronomy 6, but Jesus calls us the church today in Mark chapter 12 to not only love the Lord Our God with all our heart, soul, and strength, but with our minds as well. This call that Jesus gives is more than a simple academic knowledge and acceptance of his rules, but it is to be given to God even in the deepest thoughts of our mind. Just as the DTIB stated that knowing God is more than simple academic knowledge (p. 4), but we see that Jesus counted our relationship with Him to being part of our heart, our strength, our soul, and our minds. This seems to be a large task but as Paul wrote to the church at Philippi for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13 ESV). It is the indwelling spirit which helps us develop and grow a love for the Lord and His word. Question 3: What did I learn about the people of God? The Psalmist in Psalms 119 shows us what it means to be in a covenant with God. It is to truly desire God’s word more than anything.
Even though the psalmist desire God’s words his fellow Israelites seem to turn from God’s words to easily to have placed them so highly. Israel was not the only group of God fearing people to run into trouble with poor application of scripture. During the Middle Ages the church was witness to willful explosion in doctoral hearsay (DTIB p. 179). Like the issuing of indulgences, which was highly questionable practice of the Catholic Church. The miss application and erroneous construction of church doctrine during the Middle Ages lead to the church Reformation.
We saw a similar reformation in the American Restoration Movement or the Stone-Campbell Movement. It was an Evangelic Christian movement that began on the United States frontier during the 1790-1840 of the early 19th century. Both Stone and Campbell were seeking to reform the church from within and hoped to bring about the unification of all Christians into a single body patterned after the New Testament church. These movement was like the Psalmist’s call in Psalms 119 for us to return to the scripter and away from man’s ideas.
The greatest things given to us from both of these reformation movements was a return to the scripture and the emergence of works of biblical theology, which stressed that church doctrine must be grounded in the scripture. It was from this Middle Age Reformation movement that Calvin set out to provide a meticulous systematic theology that was entrenched in the scripture (DTIB p. 79). The Psalmist call for God to help him to love God’s laws, statutes, ordinances and precepts, which is similar to Calvin’s detailed unearthing of the systematic theology and doctrine which is rooted within the scripture.
This love for God’s scripture needs to be returned to the church leadership today and away from the liberal interpretation of scripture seen within the field of theology and the church today. The DTIB states that the ultimate aim of our work in the reading of scripture is that it will lead us to Blessings of knowing God and conforming us to His Godly image (p. 25). This conforming spoke of is a movement toward a better image as individuals Christians and as a Christian Church.
Some see this movement toward community churches as freedom from strict church doctrine and outdated rituals, but I believe this opens the door for true love for God and His laws, statutes, ordinances and precepts. With a seeking of the scripture to answer church doctrine we will continue to see a movement away from denominationalism and toward nondenominational churches and community churches. It is this love for God’s laws, statutes, ordinances, and precepts, which the Psalmist spoke of in Psalms 119, which leads the searching for truths in church doctrine.
It is this love for God’s word, which will spear head this movement as Christians will do and as Israel did after returning from Babylonian Captivity. Last summer we spent a large amount of time rewriting our church doctrine to ensure our definition of marriage would elevate any attempt to force our church to marry a gay couple. We approached this topic by looking at what the Bible called a marriage. More churches will be challenged to return to scripture and seek answers from God to sure up their doctrinal definition for many cultural and social issues which will eventual be a the churches door step sooner than later.
Question 4: How can I apply this reading to the preaching and teaching task of the church? I believe as DTIB states, that God has been at work throughout history in the composition of the biblical text, and in the formation of people to reveal and redeem (DTIB p. 19). The scripture was inspired by God and God speaks to the readers today just as He spoke to the authors of each book and letter in the Bible. The Psalmist seemed to believe the writings in the Torah to be more than a collect of old men’s writings about God. The Psalmist saw them as the inspired word of God which were able to redeem the worst wretch.
This holding of scripture in high praise I believe is a reflection of a deep reservoir of love for God and His word. In my sermon I need to develop or convey the message that the Holy Spirit had laid on the heart of the Psalmist in Psalms 119. The Psalmist relays his love for God’s laws, statutes, ordinances, and precepts, to his audience. Arthur W. Pink a Baptist minister and theologian stated that the nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelism. Most of today’s Evangelical messages announce a Savior from Hell rather than a Savior from sin.
As Pink says that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire but they have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness. I am afraid many in church today simple reside where Arthur W. Pink spoke of truly lacking that love that the Psalmist desires in Psalms 119. We see that the Psalmist desired God’s laws, statutes, ordinances, and precepts so that his walk with the Lord would bless him and strength his love for Him. The Psalmist did not simple understand the Lord as escape from Hell.
The Psalmist saw God as having the ability to bless him and deepen his love for God’s words. The Psalmist does not see God and his words as simple academic studies to gain wisdom. He saw the studying of God’s word as having great value to the point of them being a lamp that allows him to see each step in his life, but at the same time they also provide a light to guide him on a dark path during his times of deep despair. As a minister and a teacher in the church I need to help the congregation move beyond simple academic study to developing this type of love that moves the congregation to seek out God’s will daily in their life.
This sounds simple on paper, but getting a congregation to seek God’s word and its application daily is mighty feet. I as a church leader cannot push people to a deeper love of the Lord, but I can give them the opportunity to deepen their life within the Lord by offering them chances to serve on short mission trips or outreaches. These outreaches and short term mission trips helps the congregation connect with the Lord in a deep and meaningful way. Not only do they receive Blessings from participation in these activities, ut they actively see the work of the Holy Spirit within themselves.
I believe it is through these types of experience that Christians can have that deep heart felt love attachment with the Lord that is not possible with simple academic study of the scripture. It is through these opportunities to serve that people are asked to move out of their comfort zones and live out their faith. Living out your faith while actively involved in a Bible study makes the words of God come to life and application becomes an experience that you are eve witness too.
If I cannot get the members of the congregation to be actively engaged in the mission work or community outreach opportunities, then | need to relay the experiences those active in these projects receive and develop Bible studies which are daily application driven If I can use eye witness accounts as to what God has been doing through one member maybe those most reluctant will be encourage to step out of their comfort zone and begin serving. It is through these life experiences connect to God’s words that we gain insight, understanding, and, wisdom.