What Will You Do with God’s Word?
January 11, 2015
In one of our early years of marriage, Raye Jeanne was trying to be creative with her cooking and trying to come up with some healthier options that tasted similar to some of our favorite meals. And so one night she put a casserole on the table and announced that it was lasagna — zucchini lasagna. Now I like lasagna and I like zucchini, but one should never try to mix the two together into one dish, cover it with fat-free cheese (another horrible invention) and attempt to call it “good.” Even Raye Jeanne admitted that it was pretty much a disaster.
So we nibbled at dinner, ate lots of salad or whatever else she had prepared with the pseudo-lasagna and then began to clean up the kitchen. The lasagna on our plates went into the trash and then I saw Raye Jeanne pull out the aluminum foil and start to cover the nearly full plate of our dinner mistake. “What are you doing?” I asked. “I’m covering the lasagna to put in the fridge for leftovers.” “We didn’t eat it tonight,” I observed (graciously, of course); “I’m sure not going to eat it tomorrow; do we have to keep it in the fridge until it grows green mold and then throw it out? Get rid of it now.”
That night we answered the ancient question, “What do you do with zucchini lasagna (with fat free cheese)?” You throw it out!
There are many questions like this, of course:
- What do you do with a degree in history? (or English, or Art…)
- What do you do with old license plates?
- What do you do with old tax files?
- What do you do with the “do not remove under penalty of law” tags on pillows and electrical cords?
- And every child’s favorite, what do you do when you are bored?
Now those aren’t really that complicated. But there is a common question many believers have, though they aren’t generally willing to voice it: we know we should read Scripture, but honestly, what are we supposed to do with what we read? Many times you can’t even remember what you’ve read when you finish, never mind come up with something to do with what you’ve read. So what do we do with God’s Word?
That’s a question that the psalmist answers for us in one of the stanzas of the longest chapter in the Bible — Psalm 119. In verses 41-48, he uses a series of “I will” statements to affirm his commitment to the Word of God, and with those affirmations reminds himself and us of Scripture’s value.
He is telling us what to do with God’s Word.
You may remember that this psalm is not only long, but is also unique in that it is an extended acrostic. So its 176 verses are divided into 22 8-verse sections — one section for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. And within each section, each line begins with that letter of the alphabet, as a means to help the hearers remember and memorize the psalm (that’s why many of your Bibles have words you may not know between each of these sections — those are the letters of the Hebrew alphabet).
Additionally, in this Psalm the writer uses eight primary words to refer to Scripture, and this is one of only four stanzas in which each those words appears — one per verse — in the eight verses (the others are 57-64, 73-80, and 81-88).
Again, the psalmist is declaring in this section the usefulness of the Word of God. And as we begin a new year, and perhaps you are attempting again a regular Bible reading plan (and maybe you have already gotten bogged down), these are words we need to hear.
What do you do with God’s Word?
Here are seven declarations from the psalmist to the Lord affirming his commitment to the Word:
- I Will Answer Accusations with the Word (vv. 41-42)
- I Will Obey God’s Commands Always (vv. 43-44)
- I Will Live in Freedom Through God’s Principles (v. 45)
- I Will Testify to God’s Authority (v. 46)
- I Will Delight in God’s Commands (v. 47)
- I Will Pray in Love for God’s Commands (v. 48a)
- I Will Meditate on God’s Inscriptions (v. 48b)
Download the rest of this sermon on Psalm 119:41-48.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.