Christianity is about faith in God’s Word. The bible is the greatest gift that God has given us. It is through the bible, the Word of God that we can come to know God and have a relationship with Him. John 5:39 states that the entire bible is about Jesus, so it is only through the Word that we can come to know Jesus. And John 17:3 says that knowing Jesus and the One who sent Him is eternal life.
We may believe in a god without the bible, but that god would be a compilation of culture, history, people and even our own thoughts. In the incident of the golden calf in Exodus 32, the Israelites made an idol and called it “Elohim” – which is God in Hebrew. This Elohim was to lead them back to Egypt. They did this because they did not know the Word, they did not know who God is and how to worship Him.
The Word of God has the amazing power to bridge this physical world to the heavenly spiritually world, the kingdom of heaven. The bible may be read & understood with our intellect, but no matter how smart we are or how many degrees we have, without the Holy Spirit, we can never truly understand God’s Word and His will. Through the Holy Spirit, God speaks to us through His Word, to guide, teach and help us walk with Him in faith. Then when we pray & speak to God, the conversation will come alive.
Remember how mankind fell? Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden rejected the Word of God. Instead, they were deceived by the words of Satan. Even today, this battle between the Word of God & the words of Satan continues for us, God’s people.
God led the Israelites into the wilderness to give them the Word (Exodus 3:15). At Mount Horeb which is Mount Sinai, God taught them how to live, by following and obeying His Word. Those who listened to this Word lived. Those who did not, perished in the wilderness. The wilderness represents our entire life of faith in the church, and the main thing we are learning in church is to receive the Word and practice living a life of faith.
The bible tells us there will come a time of famine of the Word when we cannot hear or read the Word of God (Amos 8:11). Therefore, we need to take this opportunity to store up the Word. It is more than knowledge or verse memorization. It is also more than listening to bible studies for many years or having the ability to teach. It is the practice of HEARING, LIVING & OBEYING the Word of God. It is attaining the spiritual ability to choose the Word of God over the word of the serpent. To do that, the Word needs to be in us & part of us.
There are 2 kinds of Christians:
• Those who are filled with the Word in them; they are equipped and will not shake and are only concerned with how to live by the Word daily.
• Those who are not filled with the Word even though they have been Christians for a long time. They may pastors, elders, eldresses, deacons, etc.
Titles do not mean a person is filled with the Word. Without support from the Word, they need to depend on other means to stand as Christians, such as their own will power, determination, emotions, pride, zeal, etc. These will cause their faith to collapse suddenly one day. Instead, let us be those who have our faith grounded upon the Word, and be like the house founded on solid rock and have no fear of winds and storms.
What does the Word contain? The bible tells us that Jesus is God’s mystery (John 5:39, Colossians 2:2). But we cannot understand this unless our spiritual eyes are open. Just like Jesus’ 2 disciples heading down to Emmaus. Jesus appeared to them and walked with them, but they could not recognize Him until their spiritual eyes were opened when Jesus taught them the Old Testament scriptures about Himself (Luke 24). Likewise, we need to pray that God will open up our spiritual eyes to understand the mystery in Jesus Christ.
Today’s passage from Psalm 119 has several special characteristics:
• It is a poem, a song.
• It is the longest chapter in the bible, located almost in the middle of the bible.
• In all of its 176 verses, the word “God” is not even mentioned once. Instead, the most frequently used word is “Word”.
• It is well structured into 22 stanzas (paragraphs) in a beautiful acrostic format.
• Each stanza has 8 lines (8 x 22 stanzas = 176 lines/verses)
• Each stanza uses 1 alphabet in the Hebrew language of 22 alphabets, hence 22 stanzas. Each line in the first stanza always starts with the first alphabet of Hebrew “aleph”, and every line in the second stanza starts with the second alphabet of Hebrew “bet”, and so on. (Please refer to the Psalm 119 sample attached below.)
• It is a psalm full of praise of God’s Word, of how the love, power & authority of the Word rule over our lives, giving hope, strength and life. What a blessing it will be if these words can flow out of our lips!
• Psalm 119 uses 10 Hebrew words to describe the Word of God:
(i) Torah = law, teaching, appears 25 times (Matthew 5:17; Romans 8:2; Galatians 2:16)
(ii) Edut (edah) = testimony of the Lord, appears 23 times (John 3:11,32-34; 5:31-36; 8:13-17)
(iii) Misphat = judgment, ordinance, appears 23 times (John 5:27-30; 8:16; 16:8)
(iv) Hoq = statute, appears 21 times
(v) Dabar = word, appears 23 times (John 1:1,14)
(vi) Piqqud = precepts, appears 21 times (Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:29-30; Matthew 19:16-30
(vii) Mitzvah = commandment, appears 22 times (John 13:34; 14:15,21,31; 15:10-12)
(viii) Derek = way, appears 13 times (John 14:6)
(ix) Imrah = word, promise, appears 19 times (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Act 13:33)
(x) Emet = truth, appears 5 times (John 1:14,17; 14:6)
– All 176 verses use at least one of the above 10 words which refer to God Himself (John 1:1), except 1 verse, verse 122. Instead, “surety” is used. It means surety, pledge, or guarantee. A similar expression is used in Hebrews 7:22 referring to Jesus as our surety.
Verse 122 is like a key secret verse. Hidden within the verse is Jesus Christ, who is the Word. The entire chapter which speaks about the Word is referring to Jesus who guarantees us blessings in the kingdom of heaven. How amazing is that!
We need to eat the Word in order to live. In the bible, eating begins in the Garden of Eden, between eating from the Tree of Life vs the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. In the wilderness, it was eating manna vs the Egyptian food. Jesus Himself says I am the Bread, the Wine, and am the heavenly Manna that came down. In Revelation, Apostle John is told to eat the little book.
In 1 John 1:1, those who have only heard the Word, cannot compare with those who have seen. But it is best if you were able to touch the Word with your hands. When apostle John ate the little book, it was sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the stomach. When God says to eat the Word, He wants us to taste it, swallow it, and digest it. It needs to become part of every blood vessel, muscle, every tissue of our bodies, our lives. Just having a lot of knowledge is not digesting it.
May our hearts leap and be so excited about the Word of God because the spiritual world is open to us. And may the Word keep our faith in the days of greater tribulations to come. And as we strive each day to eat & digest the Word, may we will receive blessings to live by it.