Mid School Week #3: Know and Rejoice

Brad Libolt’s teaching from Sunday morning middle school group. He spoke on Psalm 119:17-24. He focused on how when we meditate on God’s word we can better know his commands and rejoice in his love, ultimately knowing that we need God for everything.

Psalm 119:17-24

Today we are going to see that we need God for everything.

17 Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word.

  • The psalmist is asking God that he would deal favorably with him, so that he may live. The psalmist recognizes that it is only by God’s grace and will that he is even alive, so he calls out to God that he would continue to give him life. The next thing he asks God is that he would keep his word.

So for us, this means two things

  1. We need to recognize that it is God who gives us life, that we are only alive because he created us and is sustaining us right now. God has provided the breath in our lungs, so we must praise him for that.
  2. After life itself, the one thing we should want, is to keep God’s word. It has everything we need in our life. As much as we want to live, we should want to keep God’s word. But we need God’s help to do this.

18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

  • It is God himself who gives us the ability to keep God’s word. We need God to open our eyes, so we can see the wondrous things in God’s law. When the things we see are wondrous, it makes it so much easier to guard and protect them. We get to witness wondrous things here on this earth, but the things in God’s law, in God’s word, are more wondrous than anything else.
  • If we could see God’s word as wondrous, then we will want to keep it forever. We can begin to see God’s word as wondrous when we pray asking God to reveal it to us.

19 I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!

  • Again we see that we need God’s help. We need him to show us his commandments. Why? Because we are sojourners on the earth.
  • What is a sojourner? A sojourner is a foreigner, traveler, someone who doesn’t necessarily belong in a certain area. We are foreigners on this earth. This earth is not our home, we have a home in heaven. The world is a messed up place, full of sin and evil, and this is where we live.
  • Even though we are foreigners, we are still here. We need God to reveal his commandments to us so we know how to live in this foreign land. We are tempted and tested every single day by the sin around us, and we need to know how to get through this life honoring and glorifying God. We can only know that if he allows it, so we should pray to him, just like the psalmist is.

20 My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.

  • As humans we crave structure. It may not seem like it on the outside, but we need rules and regulations to tell us what to do and what not to do. We have rules all around us, from parents, teachers, and the government. All these rules are put in place for a reason, usually to protect the people that will be following the rules.
  • It’s sin that makes us want to rebel and not follow rules. God’s rules are just and good, and deep down in our souls we want to follow them. The rules made by people here on earth should point us to something greater, the rules and law of God. We should be consumed with longing for God’s rules.

21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments.

  • Up to this point God is doing things that seem good. He is giving us life, giving us the ability to keep his word, opening our eyes to see wondrous things about himself, and he’s helping us live in a place we don’t belong.
  • Now he is rebuking the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from his commandments. Insolent means presumptuous, arrogant, boasting. God is rebuking people who think they are too good for God’s commandments. This verse is saying they are accursed, and the psalmist is telling them to get away from him, because they don’t think they need God’s commandments so they wander from the laws and from God.

22 Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies.

  • Now the psalmist is asking God to take away scorn (shame, disgrace) and contempt (despise, laughter). He doesn’t want to be shameful and disgraced anymore, and he doesn’t want to despise and laugh at God’s word. He can’t get rid of these on his own, so he asks God to take them away. Sometimes this happens in our own life. We know what the Bible tells us to do, but we don’t want to so we despise God’s commandment.
  • Maybe we are in a group of friends and they are talking about inappropriate things that you know you shouldn’t talk about, so you feel left out and judged, and you feel ashamed and disgraced because of the commandments you are trying to obey. When we recognize these things in our life, like scorn and contempt, we should do what the Psalmist is doing and cry out to God for him to take them away from us.

23 Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes.

  • As Christians we are going to have enemies. Persecution is going to come. There will always be people who don’t like what we believe. Even though bad guys are plotting to destroy the psalmist, he is going to meditate on God’s statutes.
  • This should be our response to persecution and enemies as well. We should say, “I know you are against me and don’t like what I believe or what I have to say, but that is not going to stop me from believing in who God is and what he says.”
  • God’s statutes give us everything we need in life. Including peace in the midst of chaos, joy in times of sadness, faith when things seem impossible. If we can find these things in the Bible, then we should be searching for them in God’s word. By meditating on God’s word, we can store up joy, peace, and faith.

24 Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.

Read Romans 7:22-25

  • This is the struggle of being a Christian. Deep down, in our inner beings, in our soul we long for God’s law, we delight in who he is. Deep down God’s law gives us joy, because we know that it is good. Our minds know what is right, we know God is good and his law is good.
  • There is a war waging. The more we read and know God’s word the more we know what is right and wrong and the more we see how sinful we are; how separate we are from God. But, even though our minds know it, why does our flesh still sin? It seems like we are stuck, and Paul asks in verse 24, “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Saying I’m wretched! How can I stop this? How can I follow what my mind knows instead of what my body wants?
  • The answer is Jesus Christ our Lord. He has saved us from our body of death. He has saved us from our sin. Now that we are saved, we continue to serve the law of God in our mind and to the best of our ability, but when we still sin, we know that we are forgiven and seen as righteous in God’s eyes because of Jesus Christ. Let’s rejoice in the fact that we are sinners, that God still loves us, and we are secure in his kingdom.

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