The author of Psalm 119 warms my heart. His prayer is a breath of fresh air in this postmodern society. I hear all-too-often the spoken motto of postmodernity, “well whatever is right for him or her is ok” and “truth is subjective and we can believe what we want.” I hear these statements and cringe knowing wholly that Scripture speaks of objective truth winding throughout all of Scripture. The wish-washy theology that postmodern churches adapt to is death for the truths which God has put forth throughout all of history faithfully and repetitively in Scripture for our good. It is no wonder that pastors who preach a postmodern message rarely are seen expositing scripture, rarely are seen with their bible in hand and rarely step on any toes. It is these pastors that teach their congregation that the bible is an auxiliary tool and you can be a Christian without it and therefore they inevitably don’t read it. They are described as preaching their own message, the “pastor-show,” and almost always include a large portion of topical soft general theology based on a long overdrawn story in the pastors life that connects so loosely to God that we wonder if he even knows God personally. Pastors who preach devoid of Scripture will lead their congregations to a life devoid of Scripture and truth; they will preach a false gospel. This is a travesty and needs to be addressed in our postmodern culture.
Reading through Psalm 119 one cannot but see the all encompassing themes of God’s holy word emphasized throughout. The author loves the word of God and devotes himself to extolling the importance of it for all of life. If there is a Psalm that echoes 2nd Timothy 4:1-8 and extolls the Old Testament view of Scripture, this is it. The author first of all speaks of God’s objective truth and instruction for man using a few different words:
Your Word (vs. 9, 16, 17, 28, 42, etc…)
His Testimonies ( 2, 14, 22, 24, 27, 31, 36, etc…)
Precepts (4, 15, 27, 40, etc…)
Statutes (5, 8, 12, 16, 23, 26, 33, 48, etc…)
Commandments (6, 10, 19, 21, 32, 35, 47, 48, etc…)
Rules (7, 13, 20, 30, 39, etc…)
The Law (1, 18, 29, 34, etc…)
O’ how many words the author uses in emphasis of this instruction that the Lord gives us to meditate upon, to follow and to hold as the straightedge by which we are called to live for our own good and God’s grad glory. These words, from a New Testament perspective, can be lumped together and boiled down to one word: Scripture. All of these words the author uses are descriptive of the means by which God reveals his written and spoken word in our lives, his self-revelation if you will. God’s commandments for his chosen nation Israel were spoken and written. Think of all of the Laws that God spoke to Moses to relay to his people as well as the commandments which God etched on the stone tablets for the people. These words, commandments, rules, precepts, statutes can be synonymous to us for the teachings of the Lord that have been recorded in God’s holy Word, Scripture. Listen to the author’s emphasis in this section:
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Psalm 119:9-16
I don’t see how preachers, pastors and leaders can glance over the importance of Scripture. This is but one awe-striking portion of Scripture that calls us passionately and authoritatively to pursue the word of God as an anchor to our relationship with Him. The author speaks in ways which few of us ever do. He delights in God’s statutes. When was the last time I delighted in the statutes and rules of God? He fears to wander from God’s commandments. When have I been fearfully disciplined in keeping to the commands of the Lord? This author is truly one who knows that God’s word is for our good. He knows that through it we come to know God deeply and are instructed in the ways of the Lord. How can our preachers lean on their stories and anectdotes to a comfortable life over the truth that is found in Scripture? These are the pastors that often say, “ya scripture is important…but I feel my congregation wouldn’t be here on Sunday if I taught the Bible and didn’t provide stories as the medium for God’s message.” I am tired of pastors who preach like this. I am tired of leaders who teach while their bible is never opened. God’s word is saving truth and the anchor and foundation for all of our hope in Christ. How good is the word of the Lord in our lives and how often we ought to read it as Christians.
The innerrant and infallible word of God is a rock that is unshaken by the fall of man. May we adhere to it as the fountain of joy, truth and life that it brings extolling the message of Christ as our Lord and Savior. May the churches and leaders around the world who hold Scripture as the authoritative word of God, wield it agains the wishy-washy theology of postmodernity. May we remember there is objective truth. God is the objective truth by which everything is and will be corrected. It is no coincidence that the longest chapter in the Bible holds Scripture as important as it does.