August 30, 1992

Ps 97-104

2 Tim 3:16, 17

We are studying the 119th psalm in SS class. We are ready for this passage, but I wanted to share it with everyone. This message is simply because I love this passage and want to share my love for it with the people whom I love.

Vs. 97-104.

This is the thirteenth 8 verse section of the 119th Psalm. There are several titles for this section; my favorite is

The Source of Wisdom and Knowledge. We are shown beyond all doubt in this section that the law of God is the source of all wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

There are 2 passages of Scripture which I claim for my own. I base my salvation upon Philippians ch 3; I base my calling upon Ps. 119:97-104.

Philippians 3 describes perfectly what the Lord did when He saved me. Over a period of several days, the Spirit of God striped me of every hope, of every good work, of every speck of anything of myself; He broke me totally to where I was lost without Christ with no place to turn. By the Grace provided to me by the Spirit of God, I turned in total dependance upon the Lord Jesus Christ for my redemption. I cannot read that passage without a lump coming up in my throat.

Ph 3 tells us that salvation is totally and completely of the Lord. I was happy with where I was in my life and wanted nothing more. But He wanted me, and I could not run from Him.

The second passage is this one in Psalms.

I really don't know how to describe the importance and feeling (for lack of a better word) that I have toward this passage. It is one of the two holy places for me before God; it is a passage which I am almost afraid to teach from because I cannot not do it justice and express to you everything it means to me. As I read it, its meaning is so obvious that I am afraid I might slightly deviate from it.

Ps 119:97-104, tells me that whatever understanding or wisdom that I might have from His word is strictly of the Lord, just as much as is my salvation. I was happy working in the building trades. I was making excellent money and enjoying every minute of the work. I would show up early and work late whether I was paid for it or not. I enjoyed the work.

But the Lord gave to me something more enjoyable: His word. I enjoy studying and developing it more than I enjoy the trades in which I used to work. I also know that the love for and ability with the word of God is totally from the Lord. And it is something that is beyond description. The printing which He has allowed us to be involved in is an outgrowth of this love.

I never really studied the word of God up until about 16 or 17 years ago. Up until then, I only read it. The three years I was in MD, I read it through 10 or so times a year. Now the Spirit uses those many readings to bring things to my mind as I study.

My prayer is that I would be able to express even a small portion of this passage to you. It is so obvious to me that I don't know where to start, so we'll just go through it.

Before we go verse by verse through this passage, let me point something out: this man is wiser than his enemies, he has more understanding than all his teachers and he is smarter than the ones who have gone before him, but there is not an ounce of pride in him. He makes it clear that everything he has is a result of God working in him through the word of God. This section has godly humility throughout it; the man knows that everything he has is by the grace of God and through the word of God.

V. 97.

There are two points about this verse:

First, the man starts this division with an expression of his love for the law of God. He loves God's law more than he can express, so all he can say is O how I love thy law.

Second, because he loves the law of God, he meditates upon it day and night, Ps. 1. He doesn't necessarily memorize scripture, but he does putPh 4 into practice. As he thinks on these things (the law of God), it does several things for him.

V. 98.

I think this is the key verse of this section. Here is our source of wisdom and understanding. This verse contains the key word:

The first thing the law of God did for this man as he studied and meditated upon it, was make him wiser than all his enemies. The key wordis Thou.. he confesses right up front that it is the Lord that gives him his wisdom. His enemies never leave him, and I will have to say that as long as we are here on this earth, they will never leave us.

Another key point from this verse is the method which the Lord uses to make this man wise, Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies.. This is more than just studying the word of God, andthinking on these things.

Jn 7:17, Studying the word of God is the required first step. But we see from Jn 7:17, action must be added to study and meditation. As we act upon what we know to do from the word of God, God will give us more wisdom and knowledge.

When we put the commandments of God into action, we throw the enemies of God into utter confusion. They do not know how to respond to a person who is honest, or who works for godliness when all appears hopeless.

This person works for the Lord in society because he is doing the will of his Heavenly Father. When we consistently do what God has commanded in His word even though all others are doing wickedly, the enemy is baffled. When we refuse to lie, fraud and scheme through life, the enemy does not know what to do with us. When we are involved in social issues because the Lord has told us to be involved and not for the money, the enemy is thrown into confusion: what can he do against such action? The enemy is powerless against the one who is acting out of obedience to the commands of God. How can the enemy counter a genuine fear of God which causes action?

Let me hasten to add that the psalmist's enemies are for the Kingdom's sake. Many people have enemies and may even feel persecuted for the Lord's sake, but their enemies are for the sake of maybe patriotism, or money, or some other very fine causes. This man's enemies were for the Lord's sake. He has stood on the word of God, and the enemies of God hate him.

For they are always with me. As long as we are dedicated to following the word of God and placing the commandments of God into society, we will have many enemies. We can count on them always being right there waiting for the opportunity to devour us, but if we do the will of God their power over us is destroyed.

The power of the enemy is the fear of death, He 2:14-18. The power of the enemy is broken by faith and confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ: confidence that HIS divine providence is in total control and He leads those who are actively doing His will.

The commandments of God must be our constant companions because they are our shield against the constant enemy.

V. 99,

gives us the second thing that meditation upon the law of God does for this man: it gives him more understanding than all his teachers.

Man does not gain this kind of understanding upon salvation; this kind of understanding comes about as a result of long hours of study and meditation on the word of God, v. 97.

We live in a day of false teachers; they are found everywhere, and they are especially prevalent in the media and in Christian Colleges. Our teachers are not to always be trusted, but every teacher is to be held up to the testimonies of the word of God.

Paul complimented the men at Berea, Acts 17:11, These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Does the word of God testify that the instructions of our teachers are correct?

Acts 4:13, Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. These men were not ignorant as we think of ignorant; rather, they were not schooled in the law under the religious leaders of their day. Instead, they were schooled under the Word of God Himself.

The Word of God took unlearned men by the world's standard, and gave them knowledge beyond anything the world could counter. This has been the case throughout the history of the Church since Christ.

Let me say this about that: Christian Colleges may be fine, although I know of none today which will turn out Christians. They either turn out colones patterned after the professor or school, or unlawful people. A christian college will not give wisdom or understanding. I have heard from more than one person that all college did was to teach them how to study. That is not much to learn for the terrible expense involved.

Furthermore, I could not count the number of individuals who went to so called Christian Colleges and returned home with their faith completely destroyed. In fact, I know of NOT ONE person in the last 20 years who has gone to a Christian College and has escaped having their parent's teaching and their home church's teaching either undermined or totally destroyed.

(A son of a pastor who's staff I used to be on, went to a Christian College and seminary. He returned to the staff his home church not believing the Bible. A lady that I know still in the congregation told me this. This boy did not compare the instructions he received with the word of God.)

The psalmist here clearly tells us where his wisdom comes from, for thy testimonies are my meditation. This man knows where his wisdom came from and he is not at all ashamed to admit that what he has is not his: it camefrom the testimonies of the Lord.

for thy testimonies are my meditation: whatever love for and ability with the Word of God which the Lord has given to me would be useless without the long hard hours of study and meditation on His word.

Acts 6, we see that the deacons were appointed so that the pastors could peruse their study of the word of God. These pastors of the first church at Jerusalem had walked with Jesus, yet they had to devote the vast majority of their time to studying the OT Scriptures. Is it any wonder the church is so shallow today?

Every time I read this passage, I think about some of the instructors that I had in Bible College. They do not understand the issues of our day at all.

V. 100.

The third thing which meditation upon the law of God has done for him: He understands more than to the ones who have gone before him. Again, this is not a result of salvation, but it is a result meditating on the word of God, and of doing what he knows to do from the word of God, He 5:14, But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

I know many people who have extremely good knowledge about the word of God, but that is all they have: knowledge about. They will not do what they know to do; therefore, they remain immature children.

Let the followers of Socrates, Plato and of the great humanist philosophers of antiquity boast of their wisdom. Their wisdom cannot hold a candle to the wisdom which is available to every sinner in here today. We have the eternal wisdom of the ages right before us. If we will study it, memorize it, meditate upon it and put it into practice, the wise men of this world will be confounded, 1 Cor 1:25-31. (V. 31, the psalmist is clearly boasting in the Lord.)

What can compare to the Divine precepts? Whose word can compare to the Divine word of God? Who of the ancients can compare to the Ancient of days?

Let men study the writings of ancient philosophers; let us study the writings of the Ancient of Days. The enemy is before us armed with ancient philosophies; let us confront him with the precepts of the Lord God. The Lord our God is a man of war, and through His word, He will overthrow the strong men of our day. We must declare war upon men's philosophies of today.

The next verse shows us where this man's superior wisdom and understanding has brought him:

V. 101,

gives us a fourth thing that meditation and action on the law of God does for him: it separates him from evil and to hard work for the Kingdom's sake. A mark of the wisdom and understanding of God in a person is that they put evil far from them and work hard for the Kingdom's sake.

The knowledge and understanding which this man received from the word of God did not sit still: he put it to work. He is actively engaged in trying to implement the word of God into his society. You say, "Bro. Need, how do you know that?" Because he has enemies. I know many people who have great Bible knowledge, but it is never placed into action; therefore, they have no enemies for the King's sake. They may have enemies, but their enemies are not over the word of God.

Let me give 3 more points here:

1) it is impossible to serve two masters. Either we will walk in the evil way, or we will walk according to the word of God.

2) the word of God not only requires departure from evil, it also requires active service for the Kingdom.

3) this man walks pure before God for a purpose: that he might keep the word of God which he loves and meditates on.

V. 102,

A fifth thing that his meditation and action on the law of God does for him: it gives him consistency for the Lord. The Lord, through His law, through His commandments, through His testimonies and through His precepts, taught this man; look at the results of the Lord's teaching: consistent Holy living according to the judgments of God.

Three more points from this verse:

1) A person who has been taught by God will be holy according to the word of God, and that holiness will be a consistent lasting holiness.

2) the teaching of God is practical; A person with knowledge but no action was not taught by the Lord. In other words, if we have been taught by God, we will place His word into our everyday activity, 1 Cor 8:1-3, Now as touching things offered to idols, we know that we have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. but if any man love God, the same is known of him.

3) this man again tells the world where his knowledge to do the word of God has come from: for thou hast taught me. The thing which enables him to understand the word of God and walk in it is that the Lord taught him.

V. 103.

A sixth thing that meditation and action on the law of God does for him: it makes the word of God sweet to him.

He has found by practical experience that the Lord is good and His word is sweeter than description (how sweet..). I might add, godly wisdom and understanding will result in the word of the Lord being sweet to one's taste. The psalmist professes the sweetness of the word of God to his senses, and found it sweeter than honey unto my taste! I must admit that I would rather study than eat. My wife will attest to that.

V. 104.

A seventh thing that meditation and action on the law of God does for this man: actually there are two things here:

A) enables him to recognize every false way, and

B) causes him to hate every false way.

This verse sums up the preceding.

He is wiser than his enemies,

he has more understanding than his teachers

he understands more than the pagan philosophers...

he openly tells the world where he gained his understanding and takes no credit for himself; it was through study, meditation and applying the word of God.

He has learned the law from the Lord Himself. The taste of the law to him is sweeter than honey. Now he receives understanding of and hatred for every false way.

The sum of this passage for me is that I am where I am today because the Lord placed in my heart a love for His word. As I have studied it, the Lord has seen fit to reveal some things. The things are not some great truths, but just simple things which every one should be able to see.

The world will offer every means of increasing in wisdom and understanding. People, my daughter included, can go off to school and learn all the wisdom of the word, but it will not hold a candle to what the Lord can and will teach His faithful people through His word.

And those of us who have children coming up who might consider college, we had better consider long and hard. I guarantee that those schools will work to undermine what we have tried to teach our children in our homes and in our church. Over the past 20 years, I have not seen an exception.

Note the end result of Godly wisdom and understanding: he hates every false way. What a testimony for the child of God. It should be every one of our testimonies.