"It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes." —Psalm 119:71
Psalm 119 expresses the normal, though not typical, attitude of a Christian toward the word of God. This attitude is so zealous (Ps 119:139) that it takes 176 verses to extol every aspect of God's word. How does a Christian come to love God's word so deeply, according to the standard raised in Psalm 119?
Many Christians with this zealous devotion to the Scriptures did not start out this way. We can testify: "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I hold to Your promise" (Ps 119:67). God has brought us low to make us open to His word. Although we are "very much afflicted" (Ps 119:107), unjustly oppressed (Ps 119:78), and in "distress and anguish" (Ps 119:143), these sufferings pale in comparison to the delight we now take in God's word (Ps 119:35). In fact, despite our present sufferings, what really bothers us is that others disdain God's word. We lament: "My eyes shed streams of tears because Your law has not been kept" (Ps 119:136).
Psalm 119 was compiled at a time when the Scriptures did not include the New Testament and before several of the Old Testament books had been compiled. Even without knowing the joy and consolation that Jesus gives, would this half-Bible be enough to fill your heart with exuberant praises? Would God's word itself be your delight? If not, humble yourself before the Lord. God declares: "This is the one whom I approve: the lowly and afflicted man who trembles at My word" (Is 66:2). How much more should our hearts burn within us today as we read God's word in its full splendor! (Lk 24:32)
Prayer: Father, "in Your statutes I will delight; I will not forget Your words" (Ps 119:16).
Promise: "Your names are inscribed in heaven." —Lk 10:20
Praise: "How sweet to my palate are Your promises, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Ps 119:103)
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, April 2, 1996
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 3, 1996