I have always been an avid reader, from the time I first learnt to make sense of the lines and squiggles that communicate language. As a kid I would read up to three novels a day, travelling to faraway lands and meeting people from centuries past.
The tone and genre of the books I read has shifted dramatically over the years except for one book that has endured; the collection of God’s message to humanity known as the Bible.
The Apostle Paul describes the Word of God as ‘living and active.’ In different days, through different circumstances, different words take front and centre, jumping to life and delivering a timely message to my searching heart.
A chapter of love
The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119, and I find it fitting that it can be summed up quite simply as a poem written to express the author’s love for God’s Word.
Psalm 119:103 (NIV) – How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through 176 verses this concept is repeated and illuminated, with stanzas describing the blessings of following God’s Word, verses asking for wisdom in understanding the words, and multiple prayers asking for help in following the teaching.
Eyes wide open
There is also a recurring motif of meditating on God’s word. The author says His soul is consumed by longing for God’s Word. He craves it, meditating on it all throughout the day and into the night as well!
Psalm 119:148 (NIV) – My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.
I love my sleep, but sometimes I’ve binge-watched episodes into the wee hours of the morning or worked through till the light of dawn. But this guy stays up through the night not because he is captivated by flashing colours and fast-paced storylines. God’s Word is his passion.
An enduring treasure
And for good reason. Life is a vast sea of errant waves, and navigating its waters without the guiding stars of wisdom is a fool’s errand. The Psalmist has found within the pages of this book the source of all wisdom – no wonder he delights in it!
It is a treasure that he declares more precious than pure gold, than thousands of pieces of gold and silver.
And it is a treasure that endures to this day, a veritable fountain that grows fuller and deeper the more you draw from it.
The Words of God are true and eternal, and I live in an age blessed to have them readily accessible in countless versions and formats, from pocket-sized books to voluminous tomes or just a click away on my device.
But ready access can breed familiarity, and with that can come a whole swarm of wrong thinking about the preciousness and value of God’s Word. Sometimes I can’t see the wood for the trees.
I have heard it said that when a man preaches, he needs to be ten times more passionate about the subject than what he can expect to rub off on his audience. The ratio is arbitrary, but the principle remains – enthusiasm is contagious.
Psalm 119 is to me a healthy dose of perspective realignment, and I find the author’s love and zeal for the Word both tangible and inviting.
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania with his wife and two daughters. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from chasing tennis balls to curling up with a good book on a rainy day. Thomas Devenish’s previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/thomas-devenish.html