Have you ever been to a home where the Bible is an adornment amongst other old valued books in a bookshelf, but sadly is rarely, if ever, read? Or maybe you have visited a home where the opposite is true and the Bible takes central place and is read daily. When you read Psalm 19, it is not hard to guess what the situation was in the psalmist’s home.
But it was not the much-loved Word of God that was the object of the psalmist’s worship and deepest desire – it was the Author of the Word. See the words in bold below:
57 You are my portion, Lord;
I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
The Good News Translation translates verse 57(a) as follows:
You are all I want, O Lord.
In a hymn written in the 19th Century the author describes this same desire as she studies the Bible. She wrote:
Break Thou the Bread of Life,
Dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves
Beside the sea;
Beyond the sacred page
I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee,
O Living Word. [Lyrics: Mary Artemesia Lathbury (1841-1913) Music: William Fiske Sherwin (1826-1888)]
Knowing why He studies God word, i.e., to seek the One who speaks through it, the psalmist makes what could well be a new year’s resolution. He writes:
59 I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks
for your righteous laws.
With that plan in view, the world around him takes on a different perspective. Many people may wake up on New Year’s Day feeling the side-effects of a late night and other activities, and not feel particularly friendly towards their fellowman or even feel pessimistic about the future of the world they live in, but not the psalmist. He writes:
63 I am a friend to all who fear you,
to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
If you are not sure about New Year’s resolutions then just consider this Psalm. What about a new commitment to study God’s Word diligently with the aim of getting to know God better in order to love others more practically and to experience His great love in greater depth.
I pray for you at the end of one year and the beginning of another, in the words of Paul:
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17) Amen
Have a blessed 2023.