Psalm 119 if full of verses that show people delighting in God’s words. I remember reading this as a teenager and the idea seemed somewhat foreign to me. Somewhere in my thinking, I had come to the conclusion that we can be joyful because of God, but I was missing out on delighting in God and in His word. I believed that one day I would be with God, but until then I should just do what He says to do and meander through life. That kind of theology was setting me up for a dispassionate, distant relationship with God, His Word, and the church.
Now I am convinced that whatever god I thought I believed in then, it definitely wasn’t the God of the Bible. God not only initiates a relationship with us, He sustains that relationship for eternity. We are not disconnected from the God of our salvation on this earth, waiting for Heaven to “be with Him.” Instead, we are intimately and passionately in a relationship with Him now and forever.
Unfortunately, even if we know this truth, we do not always feel this truth. At times, we let our situation take control of our emotions and we feel as if God is distant. The psalms have taught me how to appropriately bring my emotion to God in a way that does not make me feel far from Him. The Psalms contain all types of emotion! There are psalms of lament (more than sixty!), psalms of thanksgiving, psalms of praise, psalms containing salvation-history, psalms of celebration and affirmation, psalms of wisdom, and of trust, and more. One thing I’ve learned from studying the Psalms is that God is not distant from our emotions. We should bring our emotions to God, not try to hide them from Him. Whatever song you are singing with your life, sing it to the Lord!
Praying through psalms as I read them helps me be honest with how I actually feel and helps me focus on how I want to feel. For example, if I am reading Psalm 119 and find again that delighting in God’s Word is foreign to me, I pray that God would give me that delight. It might go something like this:
Father, I see that your people here have such a passion for your word. May your name be set apart in me. Help me to delight in You in this way. Help me to know you, and as I know you help me to love you more deeply. Give me understanding as I read today, and let my love for you motivate me to action.
Meditating on the Scriptures will change every aspect of your life. Considering what God has to say in His word will help you love Him and make wise decisions, whether those decisions be in the face of temptation or in times of suffering.
I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. – Psalm 119:15-16