Great Peace

Psalm 119165 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 119:161–168 (ESV)

161 Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words. 162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. 163 I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law. 164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. 165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. 166 I hope for your salvation, O Lord, and I do your commandments. 167 My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly. 168 I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 119 focuses on the supreme value of God’s law. For 176 verses, the psalm states over and over again how wonderful the word of God is and why this is so. In our passage for today, in verse 165, we are told that God’s word brings “great peace.” Even in the face of persecution and falsehood, the psalmist finds peace. Peace is certainly something that we all desire. However, we usually think of world peace (i.e. the end of war and conflict) when we contemplate it. Such peace would be wonderful, but there is an even greater peace that we need.

Our greatest need is peace with God. Our sin sets us apart from him. While we are in our sin, we are in rebellion against God and his holy commands and we are justly under condemnation. One day we will stand before him and he is the righteous Judge who punishes all sin. We need to know how we can make peace with God.

Thankfully, God has told us in his word that there is a way to be reconciled. God stands ready to forgive our sin when we repent and turn to Jesus Christ as our Savior. Through Jesus, who suffered and died, our sins were paid for as he took the punishment we deserve on himself. In Christ, we find forgiveness and we find peace with God. Romans 5:1 reads: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It is through God’s word that we learn that peace with God is available through Jesus Christ. That is the greatest peace of all.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

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Redeem Me. Give Me Life.

Psalm 119154 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 119:153–160 (ESV)

153 Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law. 154 Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise! 155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. 156 Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to your rules. 157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies. 158 I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands. 159 Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love. 160 The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

Understanding and Applying the Word

“Plead my cause and deliver me,” says the psalmist. “Give me life according to your promise.” These are the words of one who knows that he cannot save himself, but must rely on the Lord, who is merciful (cf. verse 156).

All of Scripture teaches that all of us have sinned against God and stand condemned. There is nothing that we can do in our own power and ability to repay or make up for our sinfulness. However, God himself has made a way for reconciliation. He has paid the price himself for all who will call out to him for forgiveness. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world as a man, lived a perfect life, and gave himself as a sacrifice for all of mankind. All who trust in his death are forgiven of their sins and given eternal life, not because of anything they have done to earn it, but by the grace of God alone.

The best news is that Jesus, who died for the sins of mankind, later rose from the dead in victory over sin and death. His resurrection proves that his sacrifice was accepted by God and that, through him, we can have victory over sin and death as well. The risen Savior now stands in the presence of the Father and pleads the case for all who trust in him. He pleads our cause and redeems us as his very own, giving us eternal life. What a wonderful Savior we have!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

I Hope in Your Words

Psalm 119147 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading from Scripture. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms.

Reading the Word

Psalm 119:145–152 (ESV)

145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes. 146 I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies. 147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. 148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. 149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O Lord, according to your justice give me life. 150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law. 151 But you are near, O Lord, and all your commandments are true. 152 Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever.

Your Law Is True

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:137–144 (ESV)

137 Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules. 138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. 139 My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. 140 Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. 141 I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts. 142 Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. 143 Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. 144 Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The psalmist declares, “Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules…Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true…Your testimonies are righteous forever.”

We live in a world that believes truth is relative. What is true for you may not be true for me. Truth depends on our backgrounds and circumstances. Truth depends on our feelings and beliefs. This is the claim of the world, but it stands in conflict with the word of God.

God’s word tells us that there is absolute, universal truth. There are truths that are not dependent on our backgrounds, circumstances, feelings, or personal beliefs. They are true for all people in all times. They are true because the righteous Creator and Lord of all has told us they are true. We do not get to decide what is true, but we can choose to submit to or rebel against God and his word. May we delight in the truth and live according to the what God has written in his word.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Make Your Face Shine upon Me

Psalm 119135 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 119:129–136 (ESV)

129 Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. 130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. 131 I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. 132 Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. 133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. 134 Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts. 135 Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. 136 My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Why do we keep God’s word? According to Psalm 119, God’s “testimonies are wonderful.” It is in our best interest to live according to the teachings of Scripture. Through it, we are made wise and we show our love for the Lord.

When we understand who God is, we love him. When we know of his goodness and his grace and his unfailing love for us, we grow in our desire to show our love for him. We do this by living for him. We read and study the word of God so that we can grow in knowledge of who God is, what he has done, and what he desires of us. Let us seek to show our love for him through the keeping of his word. And let us call on him to continue to teach us through his word.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Longing for Your Salvation

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:121–128 (ESV)

121 I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors. 122 Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me. 123 My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise. 124 Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes. 125 I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies! 126 It is time for the Lord to act, for your law has been broken. 127 Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold. 128 Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The psalmist declares that his “eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.” He desires that God will come and judge the world with righteousness and justice. The psalmist is facing oppression from those who do not know the Lord or follow the Lord’s word. So, it is time for God to act and save his people.

In every age, the people of God have faced rejection and persecution on some level. Some face mocking and loss of family and friend relationships. Others may face public shaming or ostracism from the community. And some face harsh consequences including imprisonment or death. It is not easy to live out the word of God in our lives. For some, it is extremely difficult.

However, for the believer, we place our hope in the salvation that God has promised to those who trust in him. The Bible tells us that if we trust in the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ for our sins against God we will be saved. Through Christ, our sins are paid for. And for those who trust in the Lord, we receive the promise of an eternity with God in a new heaven and new earth where sin has received its final judgment and is no more. So, we too long for the salvation that God has promised and wait for him to act.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

My Hiding Place

Reading the Word

Psalm 119:113–120 (ESV) 113 I hate the double-minded, but I love your law. 114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. 115 Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God. 116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope! 117 Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually! 118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain. 119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies. 120 My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The double-minded, evildoers, and wicked disregard the commands of God. However, those who fear God and his judgments seek to live according to God’s word. In so doing, they find hope and a place of refuge.There are ultimately two ways to live our lives. We can live according to the way we decide or we can live according to what God has said in his word. These options are the same as they have been since the garden of Eden in Genesis 3. There, the first man and woman decided to live their own way and disobey God. Mankind has been in rebellion against God ever since.The world will tell you that it is best and most fulfilling to follow your own path. God’s word tells us that this way is actually the path to destruction, not fulfillment. It is only through God’s word, his instruction to us, that we find hope. It is those who trust in God’s salvation through Jesus Christ that look forward to eternal life. What are you looking for to fulfill you? Turn to God’s word. It is the only place you will find what you seek.**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

A Lamp to My Feet

Psalm 119105 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 119:105–112 (ESV)

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules. 107 I am severely afflicted; give me life, O Lord, according to your word! 108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord, and teach me your rules. 109 I hold my life in my hand continually, but I do not forget your law. 110 The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts. 111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. 112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end.

Understanding and Applying the Word

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” These are the opening words of today’s reading. By these words, the psalmist tells us that it is God’s word that guides him safely in life. Without the light of God’s word, we are left to wander in darkness and drift away from the path.

As we live in this world, we are presented with a variety of ways to live. Just go to any bookstore and look at the self-help books, psychology books, and counseling publications. There are many who claim to have the secret to living a full and happy life. But it is God who tells us what is truly fulfilling. It is God, the Creator, who tells us the true way to live. And God does does this through his word. When we live in obedience to God, we find that God’s word is not a burden, but brings joy to our hearts (v. 111).

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

How Sweet Are Your Words

Psalm 119103 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 119:97–104 (ESV)

97 Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. 98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. 101 I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. 102 I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. 103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.

Understanding and Applying the Word

What should be our attitude towards the word of God? Is it something we need to concern ourselves with simply because we need to know what God wants from us? Is it something that we devote time to out of requirement alone? This was not the psalmist’s mindset!

The psalmist writes that he loves God’s law and he meditates on it all the time! God’s word brings wisdom, understanding, and directs our steps. Rather than being an obligation, God’s word is sweeter than honey. It is wonderful!

As you pick up your Bible each day to read, remind yourself that you are reading the words that the God of all things, who created you and loves you so much that he sent his Son into the world for you, wrote down for you to know him and love him. Let us treasure his word through love, not obligation, because his word is sweet and wonderful.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Your Word Is Firmly Fixed

Psalms

Thanks for reading Shaped by the Word. This is a daily Bible-reading devotional. While I do not publish devotional material on Sundays, I do include a suggested Scripture reading.  Be sure to subscribe to this page or follow this page on Facebook so you can read along each day. We are reading through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 119:89–96 (ESV)

89 Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. 90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. 91 By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants. 92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. 93 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. 94 I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts. 95 The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies. 96 I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad.