The “Wonder” of God’s Word
Psalm 119:129-136 “PE”
129 Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.
131 I opened my mouth and panted, For I longed for Your commandments.
132 Look upon me and be merciful to me, As Your custom is toward those who love Your name.
133 Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.
134 Redeem me from the oppression of man, That I may keep Your precepts.
135 Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes.
136 Rivers of water run down from my eyes, Because men do not keep Your law.
Psalm 119:129-136 is the seventeenth stanza of this psalm, and every line or verse begins with the seventeenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet “PE”, in the Hebrew Bible. Years ago, as a young believer I wrote in the front cover of my Bible these words, “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book”. And I’ll never forget a preacher preaching a message entitled, “Getting Used to the Dark”. In the eight verses before us today we find that the psalmist is a great example of this truth.
This section begins with the wonder of God's Word and ends with the weeping of the writer because the arrogant disobey the Word. When we begin to see the beauty and wonder of the Scriptures, we also begin to understand the ugliness of sin and the cheapness of what the world has to offer. This section describes a "spiritual chain reaction" in the life of the psalmist, one that we can also experience in our lives if we ponder the wonder of God's Word.
In verse 129, we see how the wonder of God’s Word leads us to obedience. The psalmist stood in awe at the wonder of God's Word—its harmony, beauty, perfection, practicality, power, and revelations. The longer I read and study the Bible, the more wonderful it becomes, and a God who wrote a book that wonderful deserves my obedience. To obey the Word is to become part of that wonder, to experience power and spiritual transformation in our lives.
From verse 130, we observe that obedience leads to understanding. The light of the Word comes into our hearts and minds and brings spiritual insight and understanding (2 Cor. 4:1-6). The word "entrance" is also translated as "unfolding" in other translations; it means "disclosure" and "opening up" as in Luke 24:32 and 35. When Spirit-led teachers and preachers "open up" the Word, then the light of God's truth shines forth and brings about spiritual transformation (v. 135; 2 Cor. 3:18).
Verse 131 shows how understanding leads to deeper desire. As a suffocating person pants for air or a thirsty person for water, so the child of God pants for the Word of God, and nothing else will satisfy. Job said, "I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12). When we lose our desire for God's Word, then we are vulnerable to the substitutes the world has to offer (Isa. 55:1-2).
In verse 132, the psalmist deeper desire leads to a greater love for God. Just as children long to share the love of their parents, so the child of God experiences God's love through the Word (John 14:21-24). To love God's name is to love God, for His name reveals all that He is. Then in verses 133-134, we find God's love leads to guidance and freedom. We are free to do what we ought to do rather than what we want to do! Free from sin to serve the Lord and others.
Finally in verses 135-136, we experience freedom in Christ that brings us God's blessing. When God hides His face from His people, He is disciplining them (13:1; 80:3-7), but the shining of His face upon them is a sign of His blessing (4:6; 67:1; Num. 6:25). To seek His face is to seek His blessing (v. 58). As we walk with the Lord in freedom, we walk in the light and have nothing to hide. But enjoying His freedom and blessing does not eliminate the burden we carry because of the wickedness in the world (v. 136). A broken heart and a blessed heart can exist in the same person at the same time. Jeremiah wept over the sins of a nation about to be destroyed (Jer. 9:1, 18; 13:17; Lam. 1:16), and Jesus wept over Jerusalem because they had rejected Him (Luke 19:41-44). The apostle Paul wept over lost souls (Rom. 9:1-3) as well as over professed believers in the church who were living for the world and the flesh (Phil. 3:17-21).
If our enjoyment of God's Word and God's gracious blessings has truly reached our hearts, then we ought to have a burden for the lost and want to try to reach them for Christ.