Scripture does more than just teach; it changes us. Many times it does so by giving us information and insight we can get nowhere else.
Play or download this episode of the Take Note Podcast using the player, or read its transcript below.
Study Means Learning
- As God communicated with His people throughout time
- As He provided them with His written word
- That word has been a delight and a help and a lifeline for them
- We are privileged to have the Bible readily available in our language today
- Some in the world do not
- Many throughout history have not
- This is why the words we’ll read today from Psalm 119 are so enthusiastic
- Hearing directly from the God of the universe is a great joy!
- As you can imagine, it is also a great education
- That’s what we’ll be talking about a little today
- As our theme is “Study Means Learning”
- We know, from our discussions in previous programs, that scripture does more than just teach
- It changes us, as God intended, into the kind of people He intends
- Many times it does so by giving us information and insight we can get nowhere else
- Psalm 119 is a great text about the scriptures
- Let’s look into one portion of the Psalm for clarification on our theme…
97 MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
- For a person in the midst of trouble (in this case surrounded by enemies), the word of God is critical
- It offers wisdom beyond any the ungodly can find
- And while they may have power or might or numbers or experience
- We have the instruction of almighty God
- This is why the person in a scenario like this can declare with confidence “I love thy law!”
- It provides a platform, at least for survival, and often for victory
- That makes it worth meditating up all the day
- It is used for reflection by the reader
- It is an object of study
- During not just a portion of the day, but all day
- If enemies are ever-near
- The follower of God must be ever-ready
- Prepared in mind and heart to act in accordance with God’s will
- What else does this kind of reflection on the word provide?
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
- There are no teachers in the world that know more than God
- No teachers that can communicate with more effectiveness than God
- It’s not that teachers have nothing good to say
- Of course, if they point us to Him, they have a great deal of good to say
- But nothing beats going directly to the source
- The same is true of teachers from ages gone by
- People who are old or who have already died and left us their writings
- Any number of them may be helpful, but going directly to God and acting in obedience is best
- When verse 99 talks about “understanding” it is referring to insight and prudence
- This is what study can provide
- Verse 99 says “understand” – and that is a different word
- That means to have discernment, to be capable of distinguishing
- When we have insight and can discern, we are capable of living out Godliness
- But this only comes when we deeply consider, with careful attention
- And that results in other actions…
101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
- The Bible can keep us from doing things that are wrong
- That is when we know and internalize its truth
- When we understand some not-doing is pleasing to God
- And as this verse indicates, when we are circumspect and avoid the traps of Satan
- We have the opportunity to go on in obedience
- As we are not hindered or weighed down
- Scripture also has the ability to keep us on a right path
- Obedience can be habit-forming
- As God teaches through the Bible and the work of the Holy Spirit
- It can keep us on a straight path, a narrow path
- And that is the one that leads to life eternal
- This kind of learning and living is a delight…
103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
- The more we partake of God’s word the sweeter it is to us
- While falsehood becomes bitter to us
- There is no experience greater in the world than being enlightened by scripture
- That which is against scripture, which is against God, is to be hated
- There is no understanding in the false way – the unscriptural way
- But God’s precepts help us discern and distinguish
- All this learning and growing is accomplished in us for a reason…
105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.
- We are going to need a light in this world
- Things can get dark quickly
- Not even the path directly ahead of us can often be seen
- But God’s word can light that path
- It can show us where to safely and securely step
- So we do not get off-course or fall
- Why would we not then commit ourselves (without reservation) to obedience?
- A victorious life – a joyful life – demands righteousness
- To live successfully, we must live rightly