For me, Psalm 119 is one of the best Psalms on which to meditate. Each time I ponder what the Psalmist says in Psalm 119, I better appreciate just how important God’s Word is to me, and how important it ought to be to every believer. This morning I briefly share some of my thoughts on Psalm 119:98.
Verse 98 (ESV) reads:
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.
In the New Living Translation (NLT), Psalm 119:98 reads:
98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.
We see that the Psalmist has enemies. I suspect that it true for some reading this post.
As a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is highly likely that many people in America don’t like, probably even hate, you merely because you are a Christian who stands for what the Bible teaches on: (1) the sanctity of life in the womb (i.e., abortion is murder), (2) biblical morality and gender identity (i.e., the LGBTQ movement advocates a biblically immoral damning lifestyle), (3) the saving gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, and (4) the right to assembly to worship God.
This verse tells us that through Bible engagement, we can gain wisdom that makes us “wiser than my enemies.” Please note that while we gain knowledge through our study and Bible engagement, we gain wisdom through the Holy Spirit who is our ultimate Teacher. The way to begin Bible engagement is with prayer according to John 16:13–15 (ESV):
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Practically speaking, it is a beneficial thing to be wiser than those who are trying to do you harm in whatever form. One commentator writes:
A holy life is the highest wisdom and the surest defense. By uprightness we shall baffle fraud, by simple truth vanquish deep-laid scheming, and by open candor defeat slander.
The Psalmist wrote that God Word “it is ever with me” or “are my constant guide.” What he wrote echoes verse 97 in which he said that his meditation was on God’s Word all day long. The Psalmist was always studying and obeying the commandments in God’s Word. By his choice, God’s Word was the Psalmist’s constant companion.
If we keep the substance of the Bible ever near us through Bible engagement we shall become wise so that when our enemies come after us, we shall be prepared by having the Word of God at our finger tips.
A solder on the field of battle does not put his rifle in a case and lock it up. In Ephesians 6:17, Paul called God’s Word a sword that was necessary for battle. When the attack comes, we don’t want to have to dust off God’s Word, but instead we need to be able to handle God’s Word according to 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV):
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
We must never let God’s Word depart from our minds.
The questions that arise from verse 98 are:
· How close do you keep your spiritual weapons?
· When you come under spiritual attack, what do you go for first?
· Do you have to blow the dust off of your sword, i.e., the Bible, or is it ready to use and sharpened for battle?
Although the extent of a person’s Bible engagement (reading, studying, listening, mediating) may not be completely determinative of their spiritual condition; in my opinion, it is a strong indicator of salvation. If you are reading this post and your Bible engagement is very weak or essentially non-existent, possibly you ought to examine yourself consistent with what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV):
5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
Where you will spend eternity is too important of a decision to get wrong!!
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change. Today can be the day of your salvation. Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved and a more concise description at my (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ).
NOTICE OF PERMISSIONS
I am mindful of and respect the rights other authors and/or publishers possess in their works. I thus try my best to not violate any copyright rights other authors and/or publishers possess in their works. The below copyright permission statement is the result of my best efforts to understand that limited usage or “fair use” is available and/or to secure direct permission for specific works. The quotations from commentaries are considered to be “fair use.”
Scripture quotations marked “ESV” are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture marked “NASB95” are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.”
Scripture marked “NCV” is taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
The Scriptures marked “NET” are quoted are from the NET Bible® http://netbible.com copyright ©1996, 2019 used with permission from Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved”.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture marked “GW” is taken from the God’s Word Bible that is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations. Quotations are used by permission.