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The Delight of Psalm 119 | Let Us Pray

“The Psalmist is so enraptured with the word of God that he regards it as his highest ideal of blessedness to be conformed to it.” - Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 119 (1)

As I’ve read and prayed Psalm 119 during the 2023 Lenten season, I’ve been captivated once again by the overarching theme of the psalmist: expression of delight in God’s Word. And as a “bookend” of sorts to our Let Us Pray reading plan, it’s here I want to dwell: the thread of love for The Word of God woven so expertly throughout Psalm 119. The Psalmist uses several other synonyms of “word” in the Psalm Law, Judgements, Testimonies, Commandments, Statutes, Precepts (2) but no matter what word is used, love for God’s Word is on full display.

According to Derek Kidner, “This untiring emphasis has led some to accuse the psalmist of worshipping the Word rather than the Lord; but it has been well remarked that every reference here to Scripture, without exception, relates it explicitly to its Author; indeed, every verse from 4 to the end is a prayer for affirmation addressed to Him. This is true piety: a love of God not desiccated by study but refreshed, informed and nourished by it.” (3)

A love of God is not dried out by study — a love of God does not lack vitality or interest

by study — but instead is “refreshed, informed and nourished by it.” I believe that. I’ve experienced that. And I think it’s amazing that the words of scripture don’t separate from God, but rather are fully connected…in fact, the words in the Bible are breathed out by God: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And this God-breathed scripture that we’re also told is “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12) uses The Word of God in two ways: The Word as Flesh and The Word as Speech.(4)

The Word as Flesh

The Gospel of John opens this way: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Echoes of Genesis reverberate in this text, and then, as the passage flows one verse to the next, we arrive at verse 14 where John lays out this key truth: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” 

Jesus — the Word — became flesh and lived among His creation. It’s Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection we’ve just remembered specifically this past Holy Week. And this name of Jesus is again repeated in Revelation 19:13: “The name by which he is called is The Word of God.” Intriguing. 

The Word as Speech

Another way the Bible uses the phrase “The Word of God” is in reference to speech by God. This is what we’ve seen in Psalm 119. Over and over the psalmist repeats a form of “I delight in your Word.” Each time I read through the psalm, this particular theme throughout the text captivates my attention from beginning to end. With each declaration, I find myself both agreeing and also asking God to strengthen my resolve to obey His testimonies, to cling to His word (both to Jesus and His speech), to walk in His law and to see the Word as treasure. 

A few examples from Psalm 119 are:

“Oh that my ways be steadfast in keeping your statutes!” (v.5)

“In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.” (v. 14)

“My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.” (v. 20)

“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” (v. 25)

“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.” (v. 30)

“The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” (v. 72)

“Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word.” (v. 74)

There’s just no getting around it. God’s word as written in scripture is precious to the psalmist, and as a Christian, precious to me.  

Each time I read and pray through Psalm 119, I come away excited to spend more time reading and studying scripture, not less. The love the psalmist has for God’s Word is astounding. It’s encouraging. It’s beautiful.

As Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Whatever the transgressors may say, God is true, and his word is true. The ungodly are false, but God’s word is true. They charge us with being false, but our solace is that God’s true word will clear us. God’s word has been true from the first moment in which it was spoken, true throughout the whole of history, true to us from the instant in which we believed it, ay, true to us before we were true to it.” (5)

Whether we believe it or not, God’s Word is true. It’s solid. It’s forever. Psalm 119:160 says it this way: “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” In its sum — in its entirety — God’s word is infallible and authoritative. We aren’t to tamper with Scripture, neither to subtract from it or to add to it, for in the Bible, God defines who He is and what His purposes are. We don't change these things. I don't want to.

The longer I’m a Christian, the more joy I find in studying and obeying scripture. Sometimes it's hard to do, sometimes it's hard to understand, but for the rest of my life, I want to see The Word as a treasure like the writer of Psalm 119. In the early part of my life, I lived as though The Word wasn't my delight — I didn’t know it well enough to love it, after all. But now? Now I’m fully convinced being attached to The Word of God is the best place to be.  

The Word of God for the people of God.

Thanks be to God.


(1) Spurgeon, Charles. The Treasury of David: Classic Reflections on the Wisdom of the Psalms, Part 1 of Vol. 3, page 139.

(2) In his study guide on Psalm 119, David Guzik breaks down the count of each specific term used in Psalm 119. You can find this list here: https://www.blueletterbible.org/comm/guzik_david/study-guide/psalm/psalm-119.cfm?a=597160

(3) Kidner, Derek. Online PDF of Kidner Classic Commentaries: Psalms 73-150,  (Page 455). Accessed 4.6.2023: https://content.wtsbooks.com/shopify/pdf_links/9780830829385.pdf

(4) Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. (Chapter 2)

Spurgeon, Charles. Treasury of David: Classic Reflections on the Wisdom of the Psalms, Part 1 of Vol. 3, page 416.


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