Scott McVey, associate pastor
Northside Baptist Church, Brunswick
Suppose you needed a brick wall in your yard. After receiving several pricey quotes, you decided to lay the brick wall yourself. Once you finished your wall, you step back to examine your work.
Pleased with your first brick laying job, you solicit the opinion of your neighbor, who is a brick mason. He looks at your wall and says, “Not bad for your first attempt at brick laying.”
Well, you are a little incensed at his less than stellar answer and reply, “What do you mean ’not bad?’”
Your neighbor replies, “Your wall is out two inches at the top.” An argument ensues over how plumb your wall is until the neighbor pulls out a plumb bob. A plumb bob is a tool that consists of a small, heavy object attached to a string or rope used to determine if a wall is perfectly vertical. Holding the string at the top of the wall, the plumb bob reveals that your wall is not plumb, but out about two inches at the top. The plumb bob ends the argument.
In order to make sure a wall is straight or true, you need to compare it with something that you know is true. You need a plumb bob.
Plumb bobs are always true. Walls are not. A plumb bob does not change a wall. It does reveal whether or not a wall is true.
The Bible is like a plumb bob. As we examine our lives against God’s word, it reveals whether or not our lives are true. Psalm 119 confirms the veracity of God’s Word. It points to our salvation. It points to His love. We can be sure it is true.
God’s word points to our salvation – Psalm 119: 153-155
Because God’s word points to salvation, there are three things we must do. We must, as verse 153 implies, study the scriptures. We study His Word to receive His instruction, especially as it pertains to salvation.
The gospel is presented in one way or another in virtually every book of the Bible. To receive God’s Word, a person must be teachable. Are you teachable? Are you quick to hear and slow to speak (James 1:10), or do you talk more than you listen?
Additionally, as we study Scripture, we must retain His instruction. We retain His Word by reading, studying, memorizing, meditating on, talking about, and displaying it. One other thing will help us remember His word. Just as it is true for a student in school, one way to ensure retention of things learned is by testing. God tests us to see if we are remembering and retaining what we have learned.
Not only are we to study Scripture, we are to seek the Savior that He might do four things for us. We need the Savior to rescue us from sin and hell. The Lord rescues us because He delights in us (2 Samuel 22:20). We need Him to represent us before the Father as our Advocate (1 John 2:1). We also need to be redeemed from our sin. Because we are dead in trespasses and sin, we need to be revived according to God’s Word.
Because God’s Word points to salvation, we are to speak to sinners. The Psalmist reminds us that salvation is far from sinners. Sinners aren’t seeking God’s Word. Therefore, we must take the gospel to them in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world (Acts 1:8). We are to share the gospel with them as we go (Matthew 28:19, 20). What motivates us to do this? We do it because God’s Word points to His love (2 Corinthians 5:14).
God’s word points to His love – Psalm 119:156-159
The Bible is, in one sense, a letter from God to us. As important as the content of the letter, it is, at the very least, equally important who wrote the letter. The Psalmist delighted in God and His word for two important reasons. God is loving. Where would we be if God did not love us? Also, His judgments are life-giving. Jesus came to give us life (John 10:10b). God’s word is alive and gives us life (Hebrews 4:12).
Notice in these verses the Psalmist’s dilemma. His persecutors and foes were many. In spite of this, he was determined because of the love of God for him, not to turn from obeying God’s Word. As a loyal follower of God, he felt disgust for those who are disloyal and disobedient.
The writer also expresses his desires in these verses. He desires God’s Word, God’s life, and His faithful love. Ultimately, all of these facts are superfluous unless God’s Word is true.
We can be sure God’s word is true – Psalm 119:160
Before a witness can testify in court about what he heard, saw, or knows, he must first take an oath promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Otherwise, the testimony is unreliable because it is possible to tell a lie by using a partial truth.
The same is true of the Word of God. To tell someone about the love of God and the good news of salvation is only beneficial if the Bible is true.
The concluding verse of this passage reveals two essential characteristics of God’s Word. First, God’s Word is true; His word is entirely true (2 Corinthians 3:16, 17). The Scriptures are reliable and they are righteous. Not only is God’s Word true, His Word is also enduringly true. It will never need an upgrade. It is plumb good.