Scott McVey, associate pastor
Northside Baptist Church, Brunswick
We live in an “upgrade culture.” We must have the latest and greatest. The problem is you can’t get out the door of the store before a newer and better version has come out. According to Webster, to upgrade means “to raise to a higher grade or standard; to replace with one that provides better performance; to exchange a possession for one of greater value or quality, to trade up.”
Apparently, this mindset carries over from technical things to religious things. Last year, former megachurch pastor of Mars Hill Church Rob Bell and his wife Kristen appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” program and said the Bible was irrelevant to today’s culture.
Is he right? As our culture changes, does the relevance of God’s word diminish? Does the Bible need an upgrade?
Even though culture seems to change, human nature doesn’t. The human condition doesn’t change and God doesn’t change. This passage in Psalm 119 affirms that even though culture seems to change, God’s word is always relevant because it is timeless, life-giving, and perfect. It doesn’t need an upgrade.
God’s word is timeless – Psalm 119:89-91
It is no coincidence that the first word in verse 89 is “forever.” God’s word is eternal. It is forever settled. This truth is verified in many other scriptures.
In Psalms 119:152, the Psalmist testifies, “Long ago I learned from Your decrees that You have established them forever.” Later in the same chapter he states, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and all Your righteous judgments endure forever” (Psalm 119:160). The Apostle Peter wrote, “the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:25a). The logical conclusion is that God’s Word is timeless.
Not only is God’s Word forever, it is fixed in Heaven and on earth. God won’t change it. You can’t change it. Isaiah writes, “The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever” (Isaiah 40:8). This same word “fixed” in verse 89 is used in Psalms 78:13.
Describing God’s miracle of dividing the Red Sea so Israel could pass through, the Psalmist recorded, “He split the sea and brought them across; the water stood firm like a wall.” God’s Word is just as fixed as the waters were when God divided the Red Sea. Everything God fixes in Heaven is fixed on earth.
Another attribute that assures the timelessness of Scripture is it is faithful through all generations. The word “faithful” speaks of moral fidelity. God’s Word is dependable. You can turn to any line on any page knowing it is true and unchangeable.
Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Finally, God’s Word is timeless because it is firm. The Psalmist remind us that God established the earth with His words and it stands fast (See also Hebrews 11: 3). All of God’s words are firm and stand fast.
God’s word is life-giving – Psalm 119:92-93
A personal testimony is powerful when it is related to others. In these verses, the psalmist gives his short and powerful testimony about the life-giving power of the word. He apparently was in a precarious situation and would have died were it not for God’s Word.
God can use events in your life to help others in their afflictions. This is only true to the degree that you relate your testimony to them concerning God’s Word and His work in your life.
God’s Word is also to be relished. Do you delight in His Word? Job said, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily food” (Job 23:12). If you had to choose between spending time in His word or eating breakfast, which would you choose? The nourishment of your soul is more important than the nourishment of your body.
God’s Word is to be relished because it imparts life. God’s Word brought life to Ezekiel’s dry bones and is able to bring life to our body and soul. His word brought forth Lazarus out of the grave. One day He will speak and we will be raised also. Even now, His word is able to bring abundant life to us.
The Word of God is to be remembered. When you want to remember something, what do you do? Do you put a note on your bathroom mirror? Do you tie a string around your finger, or set your alarm? The best way to remember God’s Word is to memorize it and meditate on it. As we do so, God’s Word transforms us by the renewing of our mind.
God’s word is perfect – Psalm 119:94-96
The Psalmist realized the perfection of God’s Word was immeasurable and incomparable. He relates four things about Scripture that indicate its perfection. The Word of God leads us to a point of surrender where we too say “I am Yours.” The Word of God saves by producing faith (Romans 10:17). God’s Word is to be sought.
We are to be like the noble-minded Bereans who “welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). The Word of God brings serenity. While the Psalmist contemplated on the truth of God’s Word, instead of his trouble from his enemies, he had peace.
When you take into account these characteristics of God’s Word, the logical and spiritual conclusion is that God’s Word is always relevant. As we pattern our lives after His word, our lives, too, will become relevant.