Brad Libolt speaking on Psalm 119:92-94. In these 3 verses Brad talks about knowing God’s word, delighting in his word, and our identity that should be found in Christ. He focused on these three themes and reminded our youth that when our identity is in Christ, God’s word becomes more enjoyable and more memorable because it is about who we are.
92 “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”
We have talked about affliction before, and how God afflicts us to make us more like him. That affliction almost killed the psalmist. Now he is saying that the only way he didn’t die through that was because he delights in God’s word.
In other words, God’s word gives him joy. It’s not just the knowledge of God’s word that saved him, but the fact that he enjoyed God’s word. Have you ever read a book that you didn’t enjoy, but had to read for school or something? You would read through it without retaining anything, and you probably don’t remember much of it now. But, if you read a book that you really enjoy, and you want to read it, then you will remember much more about it. The same goes for the Bible.
We should enjoy reading it and it should bring us joy and delight. If you’re at a place where reading the bible doesn’t bring you joy, pray that God would change your attitude about it. Remember that the Bible isn’t just a book, it is God’s very words that he has given to us, and everything in it is beautiful and true and worthy of our delight.
When we delight in God’s word, we remember it more, it becomes more relevant to our life, and God can show us some cool things in it. The Bible should be the most enjoyable book you read, because it is about our savior Jesus Christ.
v. 93 “I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.”
It is only because the psalmist delights in God’s word that he will never forget it. God’s word has given him life, and it has given us life. The life provided to us in the gospel comes from God’s word so we shouldn’t forget what it says.
One way we can do this is by memorizing scripture. Memorizing can be difficult, but it is very beneficial. Jesus knew the Old Testament by heart. Obviously he was God and he was perfect, but that is still an example to follow. When he was tempted by Satan in the desert, the way he defended against temptation was by quoting scripture.
As Christians, the word of God should be not only on our bedside table, but in our heart. Think about a doctor who has to flip through a big book trying to find the answer whenever you ask him a question. I would feel much better if the doctor already knew the answer without having to flip through a book, because he should be knowledgeable in his field.
We are Christians, so every time we have a problem or someone comes to us with a problem, shouldn’t we be able to know what the Bible says about it without having to flip through the pages? Because a Christian is who we are, it’s what we do. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to your Bible in those situations, you absolutely should, but there might be times when you don’t have your Bible with you, and you need to call on memory. We should be prepared for those times.
v. 94 “I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts.”
We can all say this to God, “I am yours”. Our identity is a child of God, made in his image, loved and cherished by him. We belong to God, because he created us and called us out of sin.
But it is easy for us to want to belong to other people or things. We find our identity in other things or people, rather than finding our identity in Christ. When our identity is found in other things, we hope that those things will save us, when in reality only Christ can.
Middle school is an important time for you guys to decide what your identity is going to be. You have a lot of things seeking you to belong to them. When I was in middle school I decided my identity was going to be an athlete. I was going to play sports and be really good at them, because that would make me cool and popular and likable.
Everything we do flows from our identity, so I walked like an athlete, I talked like one, acted like one, and my friends were only athletes. This identity carried into high school and it became very damaging. I experienced a lot of hurt and broken relationships because I was finding my identity in something other than Christ.
So my challenge to you guys is to determine what your identity is in. Is it in Christ or in something or someone else? Do you walk, talk, and act like a Christ follower, or like someone or something else?
The other things we find our identity in cannot save us. But Christ can. He wants our lives, our hearts, and our identity. He knows he is our only hope of salvation, so we should let him take control of our lives. When our identity is in Christ, God’s word becomes more enjoyable and more memorable because it is about who we are at the deepest level.