Believers Delight – in Scripture

Believers Delight – in Scripture

Believers Delight – in Scripture.

How fortunate, how happy, is the one who follows God’s ways; who delights in the teachings of the Lord and takes pleasure in His instruction. This blessed one has learned to murmur in pleasure, meditating on God’s Word day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)

Delighting in the Word. Pondering Scripture day and night. A believer’s joy. The Hebrew word for meditate is hagah, a body/mind experience. Isaiah used this same word hagah for the sounds of a lion over its prey (Is. 31:4) and the cooing of a dove (Is. 38:14). Meditating thus involves groaning with pleasure, murmuring in contentment and joy, thoughtfully mumbling over meaningful words. A meditator is engaged in the pleasant experience of focusing on something that is life-giving. So much of Scripture, if not all of it, reveals a kind of writing that invites, as Eugene Peterson said, “a special kind of reading, a dog-with-a-bone kind of reading.” Believers delight in the Bible, in God’s eternal Word, and they don’t mind chewing on the Word day and night. What could be more delightful than to digest truth, that which gives you life?

The traditional Jewish idea of Torah, God’s Word, the teaching of the Lord, is that His words are built into the very order and structure of creation. Largely based on Scriptures such as Ps. 119:152, “because You have fixed Your precepts forever,” rabbinic Judaism believes that God’s teaching pre-existed creation. Since God’s thoughts are eternal because He is eternal, “fixed,” they have existed and will continue to exist forever. The Torah was right there at the foundation of the world.

Psalm 119 is the longest psalm in the Psaltery, and the longest chapter in the Bible. Practically every verse commemorates God’s Word, is focused on the importance of Torah, and so Ps. 119 is known as a tribute to Scripture, a long testimonial to God’s Law. Since it is a poem, Ps. 119 could be called an Ode to the Word. What is often referred to as “Law” actually means teaching or instruction. The Hebrew word is Torah, and the author of Ps. 119 includes many synonyms for Torah… word, commands, precepts, decrees, utterances, statutes, law, testimonies, judgments, ordinances, promises. But it all comes back to one thing: the Word of God, what has become known as Holy Scripture, the very thoughts of God.

Psalm 119 can also be called the Psalm of Delight, because of the many references to a believer delighting in the Word. This psalm confirms that God-followers find Bible study to be a profound source of joy like no other. Highlights of delight in this psalm include:

:14 – “I delight in the way of Your precepts more than all kinds of wealth.”

:16 – “In Your statutes I delight, I shall not forget Your Word.”

:24 – “Your precepts are my delight, my constant counselors.”

:35 – “Guide me in the track of Your commands, for in it I delight.”

:47 – “Let me delight in Your commands that I have loved.”

:70 – “Their heart grows dull like fat. As for me, in Your teaching I delight.”

:77 – “May Your mercies befall me, that I may live, for Your teaching is my delight.”

:92 – “Had not Your teaching been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”

:117 – “Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are my heart’s delight.”

:140 – “Your promise has been tested through and through, and I your servant love it dearly.”

:143 – “Trouble and anguish have found me, yet your commands are my delight.”

:174 – “I desired your rescue and Your salvation, O Lord, and your teaching is my delight.”

As Scripture makes clear, followers of God are steadfastly loyal to Torah, to the Word of God, both Old and New Testaments. Believers are completely devoted to God’s teaching to light their way along life’s dark path;  to divine revelation for the enlightenment needed to be wise and virtuous. Lovers of Scripture enjoy a fountain of life-giving water for thirsty souls. And by reading His Word, we are inspired to love God with all our mind. By delighting in Scripture, we are allowed to part the curtain and, unbelievably, read God’s mind. What a joy! What a privilege! What a delight!

“The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true, each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.” (Psalm 19: 7-11, a psalm of David).