I’ve been sauntering through Psalm 119. It’s a lengthy chapter in this Old Testament book, 176 verses to be exact, rich with the benefits of reading and obeying God’s word.
The Psalmist so delights in God’s commands, he pulls out his quill and ink and words unravel like a ball of yarn.
As I tread through this chapter, my hiking boots stopped in their tracks at verse 54:
Your statutes are the theme of my song during my earthly life. (HCSB)
Country music titles flooded my thoughts unabated. When one lives in Nashville for any length of time it’s bound to happen. In honor of CMA Fest this week, I’m going for it. Forgive me all you non-country music fans, but if you hang on until the end I promise there will be value!
Happy People (Little Big Town | Writers: Mckenna and Clark)
Happy people don’t cheat; Happy people don’t lie
They don’t judge, or hold a grudge, don’t criticize
The psalmist says:
How happy are those whose way is blameless who live according to the LORD’s instruction. (Psalm 119:1)
The songwriters could have taken their lyrics right out of the Bible. “If you want to know a secret” to being happy, then follow God’s word!
Our neighbor’s dogs used to roam our backyard. They would frequently escape the electrical fence. Four of their dogs either died or ran away because they did not want to stay within the protected area.
God provided us a protected area within his word. When you obey His commands, there is an underlying happiness that invades you. Joy and peace move in even though His commands may appear restricting. The opposite of what I always thought.
Traveler (Chris Stapleton)
Cause I’m a traveler, oh, I’m a traveler; I couldn’t tell you honey, I don’t know; Where I’m going but I’ve got to go.
The psalmist says:
Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)
It’s nerve-racking to not know where one is going, yet sometimes we need to move forward. As Jesus followers, we don’t wander aimlessly, though. God gives us the light we need to take that next step of faith.
Our traveling guide is His word. Our traveling companion is Jesus. When we follow Him, we stay on the right path, “sure as my heart’s behind the pocket of my shirt.”
Gold all over the Ground (Brad Paisley | based on a Johnny Cash poem).
I’d give you rows of roses; And gold all over the ground.
The Psalmist says:
Instruction from Your lips is better for me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. (Psalm 119:72)
If you don’t have a husband who can pen a poem like Cash or a man to sing to you like Paisley, then know that God has written you a love letter, and it’s like “gold all over the ground.”
My grandparents bought our family a Bible once, and we oohed profusely over it. We placed it on the coffee table so others could see it. After a while, it was shelved in the bookcase. Soon it blended in with all the other books. I never saw anyone in my family read it. I did not know back then there was “gold all over” that Book.
Better Man (Little Big Town | Writer: Swift)
And I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man
The Psalmist begs God,
Teach me good judgment and discernment. (Psalm 119:66)
If we want to become better, better at our finances, better in our marriages, better in relationships, God’s word has practical application.
Early in my marriage I bought the book, The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. Since I didn’t know how to pray back then I prayed her written words over my husband.
The first chapter of this book is “His Wife.” I skipped that chapter because I thought Drew needed improving not me. But God convicted me to go back and read it. I discovered I had my own blind spots. Don’t assume it’s always the other person who needs to get better. Just sayin’.
Meaning Again (Paisley | Writers: Paisley, Miller, Lovelace)
I’ve learned in this life; It’s that breathing don’t make you alive. You need a reason; Some grander scheme why you’re here.
The Psalmist says:
I will never forget your precepts for you have given me life through them. (Psalm 119:93)
In God’s Word is eternal life and abundant life for today. The Bible tells us who we are, whose we are, and why we are here. We were created for purpose, God-purpose. He’s given us His word to guide us into that purposeful life.
While the lyrics refer to a spouse, don’t get me wrong I am grateful every time my husband walks through the door after a trip. My marriage with Drew has given my life meaning beyond myself. But it’s in the relationship with Jesus (the Word made flesh) where my life has eternal meaning and purpose here on earth.
The Fighter (Urban/Underwood | Writers: Urban, Busbee, James)
When they’re tryna get to you baby I’ll be the fighter
The Psalmist says,
“All your commands are pure; people persecute me with lies—help me!” (Psalm 119:86)
In Ephesians 6, God says to put on the armor of God. One of the pieces of armor is the sword of the Spirit or the word of God, the only offensive weapon. Use it.
I’ve recently wrestled through a loooong season of anxiety. (See last week’s post.) I am on the other side of it and can tell you this weapon worked (although I would not have minded Urban coming by to check in).
Know and believe there are life-giving benefits, eternal and present, for those who read and obey the Bible.
Dust off that old Bible or get yourself a new one!
Don’t leave God’s love letter to you shelved away.
Can you think of another country song that sings the benefits of God’s word? Leave a comment below.