Word and Life

Psalm 119:17-24

[17] Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word. [18] Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. [19] I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me! [20] My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times. [21] You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments. [22] Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies. [23] Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes. [24] Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.


Why study God’s Word? Because it gives life! It preserves life and it protects life.



A) Life

verse 17 – Why ask for more life? Why live? What’s the whole point of living in the first place? It’s to fear God and keep his commandments. Paul wanted to be with Christ but to remain alive was more profitable so that he could continue serving Christ and his people, preaching and teaching his Word to them and serving as a model of what it means to be a person who loves Christ and keeps his Word (Ecc 12:13-14; Phil 1:21-24).

B) Enlightenment

verse 18 – The Word is precious. In it we find wisdom for life and a lot of benefits (Pr. 3:13-18), but we need enlightenment to appropriate this wisdom (1 Cor. 2:12). That’s why we have to pray for enlightenment so that we could understand and benefit from God’s Word

2. PRAYER FOR PROTECTION (verses 19-24)

A) Temptation

verse 19 – This world isn’t our home; we’re just passing through it (1 Peter 2:12). And as we pass through it we need God’s Word to protect us from this world’s temptations. This world is full of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. We need God’s Word to illumine the path we’re treading and we need to hide it in our hearts to keep ourselves from sinning (1 Jn 2:15-16; Ps 119:9, 11).

verse 20 – “Longing”. David was consumed with longing for God’s rules, his laws, his Word. What about us? What’s your passion, your obsession, in life? In David’s case, God’s Word was his delight and obsession, and he meditated on it day and night (Ps 1:2).

verse 21 – Disobedience brings divine chastisement (Gal. 6:7); that’s why we always need to be reminded of what God’s Word says about the many issues in life so that we can do what’s right in God’s eyes. Scripture is profitable for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

B) Persecution

verse 22 – David prays that reproach and contempt be removed from him because he keeps God’s testimonies (a synonym for God’s Word). You want a good reputation, respect? then keep God’s Word! (Pr 4:8) Others will respect you for being a godly person. But the reverse is also true: If we don’t live up to our profession as Christians, then being mocked and scorned by the people who are watching our lives is sure to follow.

verse 23 – But even then some people – sometimes powerful people – will still hate us, no matter what. But it doesn’t matter. We have God’s Word to strengthen, comfort, and guide us


Does your happiness depend on people or on God’s Word? Where do you find your delight? Above all, Do you know that God’s Word makes us wise for salvation (2 Ti 3:15)? Have you heeded what God’s Word says about having eternal life (John 3:16)? Have you put your faith in the Word of life – Jesus Christ – and received salvation from him?

Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash


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