We have been studying the longest book of the Bible on Sunday evenings. It is the 119th Psalm. It is divided into twenty-two sections of eight verses each. Nearly every verse of this psalm makes reference to the Word of God.
Tonight we come to the fifth section. In this segment of the Psalm we have four pictures of a godly man. What makes a godly man? How do we identify a person who is godly? Let's look to this section of the Psalm and see what kind of person we would consider to be godly.
I. Sojourner (119:33-34)
A. Faithfully (119:33)
1. He sees God's Word as a path to be followed, a sure way through the wilderness.
a. It is not much use asking directions if we don't remember them when they are given or if we don't follow them when we get them.
b. Like most men. I hate stopping to ask directions when driving.
c. What usually happens is that after driving around in circles, I will finally give in.
d. Then when I get the directions, I have trouble remembering them, because I didn't take the time to write them down.
2. We need guidance.
3. We need to pay attention to the Lord's leading and follow it carefully.
4. Even though sometimes the Lord's leading seems contrary to what our own thoughts on the matter might be.
5. God does not promise us an easy path to Heaven, but He does promise us a safe one.
6. So the psalmist prays, "Teach me the way of Thy statutes."
a. Not just His statutes, but the way of His statutes.
b. He is determined to follow that way faithfully no matter how difficult the road.
c. He is a sojourner in a hostile world and needs God's leading home.
B. He also promises to follow God's directions fully (119:34)
1. Understanding is better than knowledge.
a. A man can fill his head full of knowledge and still have no real understanding of what he is doing.
b. Here is knowledge: "The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the two sides containing the right angle."
c. In high school geometry I had to get before the class and prove that.
d. But there are many carpenters who know that a 3/4/5/ triangle is a good way to make a square angle, but do not understand why.
e. In college I worked with a fellow student and we put in concrete driveways, patios, and sidewalks.
f. I learned that a yard of concrete will cover an area approximately 20' x 4' at 4" thick.
g. I was challenged on that one day, and had to sit down and prove that it was true.
h. I had the knowledge, but not the understanding.
2. We have knowledge of God available to us by reading the Bible.
3. But that does not mean we understand biblical principles.
4. However, meditation on God's Word will give us understanding.
a. Behind all God's commands are two goals God has in mind.
b. One has to do with our good-God never has anything else in mind for us than that.
c. The other is His glory, God always acts in ways that reflect His glory.
d. When we have understanding of God's Word, we will follow His direction faithfully and completely.
II. Soldier (119:35-36)
A. The Discipline Needed (119:35)
1. Imagine having to ask God to make us to do something we love doing.
2. We do not have to make a child eat ice cream! We might have to make him eat spinach or parsnips but we have trouble keeping them away from the cookie jar.
3. We might have to make them practice their piano lessons, but we won't have to force him to run and fetch our wallet when we get ready to give them their allowance.
4. So why must we be made to go in the path that we delight in?
a. We are not one person but two.
b. There is "the old man" and there is "the new man."
c. Note: Romans 7:22-23
d. The new man loves the path of God's commandments; the old man doesn't, so the fight is on.
e. As a result we tend to swing back or and forth like a pendulum.
5. The psalmist says, "Lord, I need a discipline. higher than anything I possess. I need You to make me to go in the path of Your commandments."
6. That is the mark of a true believer.
7. That is the difference between the prodigal's going-away petition and his coming-home petition: "Father, give me," and "Father, make me."
8. The psalmist wanted God to make him obedient.
B. The Desire Needed (119:36)
1. The psalmist has just told us that he delights in God's law.
2. But he needs that to be reinforced and strengthened. Incline means to establish a pattern; a predictable pattern; be programed; to be habitual. Covetousness means want without need; it is our natural inclination.
III. Servant (119:37-38)
A. A Discerning Servant (v37)
One law of spiritual victory we need to learn is to look the other way. A great deal of temptation comes to us through our eyes. Sinful things have great attraction for us. The song and advertising jingle, "Just one look…that's all it took". That is why the psalmist wanted his eyes to be controlled. 'Quicken thou me' He was asking God to make him alive to His way. He wanted inner strength to keep his eye on the Master.
B. A Devoted Servant (119:38)
This is a healthy master-servant relationship.
The servant must stand in awe of his master, must hold him in respect, must measure the distance between them. There are at least three ways we can read the Bible.
There are those who read it and forsake it…rebelling against God's Word. There are those who read it and forget it…they simply allow it to be crowded out of their lives. Then there are those who read it and fear it… It gets a hold on them. The psalmist takes his stand with those who fear God's Word, with those who have healthy respect for it.
IV. Saint (119:39-40)
A. God's Word Will Make Him Good (39)
The word reproach means "scorn" or "contempt." He wanted to be good; he wanted the goodness of the Word of God to become evident in his life. God never asks us to do anything wrong, anything bad, anything not good. God's commandments are good because He is good. His commandments are for our good, and further, they are designed to make us good.
B. God's Word will also make him godly (40)
The psalmist did not want merely to be good, he wanted to be like God Himself. He longed after God's precepts, longed to live the kind of life set forth in God's Word. We can only become godly, by living in obedience to His Word. When we live in His Word, we are living in His righteousness.
What are we to be if we are to be godly? We are to be like a: