God’s Multifaceted Word: reflecting on Psalm 119

In my own daily times of Scripture reading and prayer, I’ve been meditating on Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is the longest of the Psalms by far with 176 verses. This psalm is an extended reflection on the delight and power of God’s word, structured as an acrostic poem with one stanza for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

The psalm offers an expansive catalog of the diverse characteristics of God’s word that is impressive. When I read through Psalm 119, I feel like I am getting a multifaceted look at the word of God that is enlightening, stretching, and encouraging.

This past weekend at Eastbrook, I preached on Ephesians 6:10-24 in a message entitled “A Crash Course in Spiritual Conflict.” In this well-known passage, we encounter Paul delineating the armor of God. The only offensive piece of that armor comes last: “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17b). The Word of God is powerful and a vital piece of our armor in the spiritual conflict we face daily as God’s people. As the writer of Hebrews says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Here is a brief list of some of the facets of God’s word outlined within Psalm 119. I’d encourage you to read through the list and, when one statement jumps out at you, to open your Bible to Psalm 119, read that verse, and then meditate on those words for the day. There is so much here in each verse to grow and deepen us with God.

God’s word is:

  • to be fully obeyed (4)
  • righteous (7, 61, 106, 123, 137, 144, 164, 172)
  • a guide for purity of life (9)
  • a way to keep from sin (11)
  • from the Lord’s mouth (13, 88)
  • full of wonderful things (18)
  • a delight (24, 35, 70, 77, 143, 162, 174)
  • a counselor (24)
  • a revelation of God’s wonderful deeds (27)
  • a picture of the way of faithfulness (30)
  • good (39, 68)
  • a revelation of God’s salvation promises (41)
  • a bringer of freedom (45)
  • a promise to preserve our life (50)
  • ancient (52)
  • a comforter (52)
  • precious (72)
  • a pathway away from shame (80)
  • completely trustworthy (86, 138)
  • eternal (89, 152, 160)
  • firm in the heavens (89)
  • boundless in its perfection (90)
  • what makes us wiser than our enemies and our teachers (98, 99, 100)
  • sweet like honey (103)
  • a lamp and light for our path (105, 130)
  • the joy of our heart (111)
  • wonderful (129)
  • thoroughly tested (140)
  • true (142, 151, 160)
  • a bringer of peace (165)
  • sustenance (175)

St Augustine on the Word of God

Augustine of Hippo.jpgHere is St. Augustine, reflecting on the uniqueness of the Word made flesh in his book, Confessions VII.9:

So you made use of a man, one who was bloated with the most outrageous pride, to procure me some of the books of the Platonists, translated from the Greek into Latin. In them I read ­– not, of course, word for word, though the sense was the same and it was supported by all kinds of different arguments – that  at the beginning of time the Word already was; and God had the Word abiding with him, and the Word was God. He abode, at the beginning of time, with God. It was through him that all things came into being, and without him came nothing that has come to be. In him there was life, and that life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness, a darkness which was not able to mater it. I read too that the soul of man, although it bears witness of the light, is not the Light. But the Word, who is himself God, is the true Light, which enlightens every soul born into the world. He, through whom the world was made, was in the world, and the world treated him as a stranger. But I did not find it written in those books that he came to what was his own, and they who were his own gave him no welcome. But all those who did welcome him he empowered to become the children of God, all those who believe in his name.

In the same books I also read of the Word, God, that his birth came not from human stock, not from nature’s will or man’s, but from God. But I did not read in them that the Word was made flesh and came to dwell among us.

From Augustine, Confessions, trans. R. S. Pine-Coffin (New York: Penguin Books, 1961), 144-145.

Word of God [Name Above All Names]

NAAN-Series-GFX_App-Wide.pngIn continuing our series, “Name Above All Names,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, I looked at one of Jesus’ most unique titles in all of Scripture: Word of God. The word logos in Greek has deep roots in Hellenistic philosophical thought, but the majority of scholars agree that the most likely background here is in Jewish thought on God speaking, the Word of God coming to the prophets, and the personification of wisdom in such texts as Proverbs 8. Still, the idea of the word becoming flesh is entirely new and one of the most beautiful portions of Scripture in the entire New Testament.

You can view the message video and sermon outline below. You can follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.

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