God's Word Can Make You Satisfied

Steve Viars February 10, 2007 Psalms 119:47-48

 

- often at this time of year, people like you and me think about losing a few holiday pounds...

- even our State’s governor encouraged our residents to lose 10 in ten...[or something like that...one pound a week for ten weeks]...

- and many of us would say that that is an area in which we really have to work...

-  now, for some people though, this issue takes on an entirely different perspective because they would tell you that they never feel full...regardless of how much they eat...they are never satisfied...

- there’s actually a name for that...Prader–Willi syndrome...and some doctors believe that there is an actual problem with the hypothalamus that controls the feeling of fullness or hunger...

- now who knows whether that is accurate or not, but what we do know is this...there is a segment of our population that would report that regardless of how much they eat, they never feel satisfied...

 

- now, please translate that over to a person’s spiritual life...

- from cover to cover in the Bible, God offers a relationship with Him that can be richly satisfying...that can be wonderfully delightful...

- but what do we find human beings continually doing?...committing the spiritual equivalent of Prader-Willi syndrome...refusing to be satisfied in Him...

 

- that is why Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 2:13 - For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

- can you imagine that?...failing to be satisfied by God and His Word?

- If that condition existed, I wonder what that would look like in a person’s life?...

- I wonder what that would look like in their friendships?...

- I wonder what that would look like in their family?...

- I wonder what that would look like in their ministry?...

- I wonder what that would look like in the mirror?...

 

- with that in mind, would you open your Bible this morning to Psalm 119?...[page 445 of the Bible under the chair in front of you...]

 

- our church’s theme this year is ReachingNew Heights...

 - we think that is especially appropriate this year because Lord willing, 3 new ministry endeavors will be coming on line in the next several months...

- the first is our church’s community center which is being built to seek to be a blessing to our friends and neighbors based on the input they gave us about the needs they observed in our community...

- the second is our church based seminary where we are attempting to train people to be pastors, and missionaries, and educators in a 3 year program which includes a paid internship along with housing and classes that are free...

- then there’s VOH, our faith based residential program for girls age 14-28 struggling with unplanned pregnancies, drug/alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and self-harm...

- that program will be housed in a beautiful new home we hope to break ground on in a few months just next to the community center and our goal is to provide a 6-9 month residential program for free for up to 24 young ladies at a time...

- so we understand that if we really believe the Lord wants us to accomplish that for Him this year...then we all have to reach new heights...in our personal growth and maturity...and then in our ministry effectiveness...

- and part of the excitement is...our church family is comprised of people all over the spiritual maturity scale...and we’re not troubled by that at all...in fact we’re glad for it...

- but we strongly believe that regardless of where people enter the equation, it is essential that ever person attending our church be serious about the issue of reaching new heights...

 

- in the month of January, we began the year by studying the Lord’s prayer and thinking about Reaching New Heights in Our Faithfulness to Pray...because we understand that none of this is going to go anywhere unless we bathe it in individual and corporate prayer...

- now, in February we have turned our attention to Psalm 119, thinking about ReachingNew Heightsin Our Commitment to Scripture.

- last week we looked at the first 16 verses and saw thatGod’s Word Can Make You Pure.

- this morning we want to study verses 33-48 and see howGod’s Word Can Make You Satisfied...

- it really is something in which you can delight.

- read Psalm 119:33-48

 

- now, would you agree with me that the author of this Psalm is not suffering from the spiritual equivalent of Prader-Willi syndrome?...

- here’s my question for you today?...Q - Would your daily life, and your daily ministry indicate that God’s Word is your delight?

 

- from these verses, I believe we can find 3 principles to help you find your satisfaction in God’s sufficient Word.

- the first is this...understand that...

I. Delighting in God’s Word is a Choice that You Make.

- in other words, you have to decide what delights you...where you believe you can and will find satisfaction...

- now, maybe we need to back up and ask this...

A. What does “delight” mean?

- what is the writer of this Psalm talking about?...

- last week I mentioned that Dr. George Zemek has written an entire book on this one Psalm...The Word of God in the Child of God...

- in speaking about the word delight, he said – “...[this] is not a pietistic facade; this man of God has really discovered the way to genuine contentment.”

- he went on to describe this delight as a “continuous commitment to find ultimate satisfaction in God’s statutes.”

- that’s why the standard lexicons define this word as “heightened joy, cause to exult”...

- and this even goes along with our definitions in English – “to be highly pleased, to rejoice.”

- it’s the feeling of being full and satisfied...believing that God’s Word truly is all that you need...

- now, we need to factor this in...

B. Everybody has to decide what delights them.

- this Psalm is a testimony of the conclusions that this man has drawn about the Word of God...

- and by the way, who is the author, humanly speaking, of Psalm 119?...

- do you know that we don’t know that?...this is one of the 34 Psalms that has no superscription, or notes about who the author may have been...

- so of course there is all sorts of speculation...

- do you know who George Zemek believes wrote this Psalm, by the way?...

- Daniel...and there are some interesting reasons to draw that particular conclusion...

- but here’s the point---this man, whoever he was, came to a conclusion about the Word of God...

- v. 35 – I delight in it...

- v. 47 – I shall delight in [it]...

- that’s where I believe “genuine contentment” comes...

- that’s where I have a “continuous commitment to find ultimate satisfaction...”

- that’s what gives me “heightened joy and cause to exult”....

 

- and of course ultimately, we’re talking about epistemology...your source of truth...your source of direction...

- and not everybody would agree with this man...but the question is...do you?... Would your daily life, and your daily ministry indicate that God’s Word is your delight?

 

C. This man went so far as to say that he loved it.

- that was the explanation he gave for all of this...

- it’s not...well, my parents are forcing me to believe all of this...

- or my spouse has “gotten religion” so I have to go along...

- or, I’ve grudgingly concluded that there is a God so I guess I have to allow Him to rope me in with His restrictions...

- no, what does he say?...

- Psalm 119:47 - for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.

- and he went on to say in the next verse...

- Psalm 119:48 - I will lift up my hands toward your commandments...

- and the idea there is that he would stretch as far as he could to learn more of the Word of God, and as far as he could to follow the Word of God...I will stretch out my hands to get it...why?...

- he says it again, doesn’t he...Psalm 119:48 - I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.

 

D. How much?

- there’s another use of this word “delight” earlier in the Psalm...

- Psalm 119:14-16 - In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

- see, how much did he delight in the Word of God?...as much as in all riches...

- I think it is good for us humanly speaking to remember the price that was paid to bring our church to the place where we would value the Word of God in counseling and all of ministry...

- there were four people who were especially used of the Lord to found and develop our biblical counseling ministry here, and our church family will be eternally grateful to the Lord for blessing us with their ministries...

- one was our former pastor Bill Goode...who was pastoring in Gary when he and a group of men traveled to Chicago once a week to receive their first training in biblical counseling...

- part of the agreement was that they would begin a counseling ministry in a local church to apply what they were learning so they did that...

- not long after that the Lord called Pastor Goode to this church so the biblical counseling center was moved to Baptist Children’s Home in Valparaiso...so every Monday Pastor Goode would drive there to continue learning and developing his ability to help people...

- then he had the courage and conviction to lead the church family here to allow the counseling center to become part of this church’s outreach to the community...and while it seems natural now, it certainly wasn’t then...

- after the church made that decision, what that meant was that every Monday—what is typically a pastor’s day off--- was devoted to counseling people from the community and training pastors and missionaries and key lay leaders from other churches...

- and that meant Mrs. Goode sacrificed right along with him...

­ - why?...because they delighted in the Word...and valued it above great riches...

- Pastor Good asked Dr. Bob Smith, a medical doctor in Lowell, to come to Lafayette and help establish the ministry...

- so that meant that he and Mrs. Smith and their family would have to leave his medical practice...and relocate to a new community...and Doc started working as an emergency room physician...

- but they were willing to do whatever it took...why?...because they delighted in the Word...

- for years Doc Smith would work a 24 shift at the hospital...starting at 8 am on Saturday morning and ending at 8 am on Sunday morning --- do you know where he would be at 9:30?...at churchy, because he said---I need the Word...I delight in the Word...

- incidentally...a number of years after that Grace Community Church and Master’s College asked Doc and Leona to come to CA for 2 years and help them establish a counseling program at the church and Master’s College...

- at that time, Doc wasn’t fully vested in their retirement program here...but he took a voluntary leave of absence even thought there was no guarantee of employment when they returned...

- Randy Patten was pastoring in Ft. Wayne, and he made that drive for years to be part of the establishment of the ministry here...and he and his wife Cindy and their 2 children paid that price...even after he moved to Indy and was serving as the state rep of our fellowship of churches...every Monday he was here...because of a delight for the Word...

- Amy Baker...who was Amy Knicely back then, lived and worked in Valparaiso...but would come here every week to serve in the church and counseling ministry...and God used her to be a very important part of the team...

- the point is --- the writer of this Psalm made a decision about how much he was going to value the Word in His life and his ministry --- my question is, how about you?

 

- now, let’s take it a step further...the word delight comes up in a number of places in this Psalm...and when you put all of that together, you can conclude...

II. Delighting in God’s Word Produces Marvelous Results.

- for example...

A. Clear answers and direction.

- Psalm 119:24 - Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.

- this man saw the Bible, not as some ancient book of useless ideas, but as a relevant guide for daily living...he delighted in Scripture because of the daily counsel he received...

- now, that provides a good opportunity to flesh out this question I’ve already posed to you several times...Would your daily life, and your daily ministry indicate that God’s Word is your delight?

- you might say...well, what would that look like?...

- for example, this past week...as you were communicating with the people around you...did you do your very best to let’s God’s Word be the grid through which you chose the content of your speech, and the timing of your speech, and the tone of your voice...because you delight in the Word and you want it to be your counselor?

- as you thought about your role in the home---were you viewing yourself through the lens of Scripture...and how God’s Word says you’re to function because you delight in the Word...

- when you faced a temptation...when you chose your priorities and activities...was there evidence that you delight in the Word?...

‑ I hope that every person from our church family is faithfully reading God’s Word, and studying God’s Word, and memorizing God’s Word, and meditating on God’s Word, and applying God’s Word...

- and if you would say---all of this is new to me---great, we’re not talking about perfection...but we’re talking about all of us reaching new heights in our commitment to Scripture...

- we can’t overemphasize the importance of that if we’re serious about doing community based outreach ministry...

- I am convinced that many people in our community would have no idea that the Bible has so much relevant direction for daily living...

- that is why I am really fired up about our Community Continuing Education program that will start up on Wednesday nights next month...over 30 different classes that you and people from our community can take to grow in your understanding of what God’s Word says about the practical issues of everyday life...

- and Arvid Olson has done a great job of putting together a ministry magazine that communicates what we are trying to do in our community better than ever before...

- and these will be available to our church family starting next week...

- and I hope 2 things will happen...

- I hope many people from our church will participate in one of the classes...

- and I hope you’ll be putting one of these in the hand of a friend, co-worker...

- and yes, this will be inserted in our local newspaper twice in the next couple of weeks...so they will be invited to take a class on what the Bible says about parenting...or about finances, or about depression, or trials...

- and essentially what we are saying to our community is that we have the Word of God to be a great delight to us...in part because of all of the powerful and life changing answers it contains...and we hope that our friends and neighbors and community members will come to be delighted in God’s Word as well...[encourage folks to be praying...]

- another result of delighting in God’s Word is...

B. A deepening relationship with God personally.

- here’s another place the word delight is used in this Psalm...

- Psalm 119:35 – Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.

- on numerous occasions in this passage, the emphasis is not on what the Psalmist says he is going to do, but in his request that God will help Him do what he should do...

- see, we don’t believe it bibliolatry...we don’t worship the Bible...

- we want to know the Word of God so that we can know the God of the Word...

- [as time allows, develop what this looks like with reference to the illustrations earlier]

 

C. A heart that is soft and penetrable.

- Psalm 119:70 – Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law.

- being in the Scripture is one of the best ways to avoid the sin of pride...why?...because we are constantly seeing ways we need to get better...

- that is why, as we invite people from our community to these classes, we are certainly not doing it from the perspective of...we know it all and we want to share all of our great wisdom...

- no, its we’re learning from God’s Word, too...and we’d love to have you join us...

- it’s a worn out saying, but its true---this book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book...

 

D. A conduit of God’s mercy.

- Psalm 119:77 - Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight.

- I would encourage you to consider reading through Psalm 119 in its entirety...

- and as we said before, we don’t know for sure who wrote it...but whoever he was, it is apparent that he was facing a lot of adversity...he was being beat up on by the world in a lot of different ways...

- but he always knew that he come to Scripture and find a fresh helping of the soothing mercy of God...

- and some of you might be in difficult job situations...and what is getting you through right now is your delight in the Word...

- or you are struggling through a challenging relationship...and some things are being said that aren’t very kind...or accusations being made that simply aren’t true...

- thank God for His mercies that are new every morning...great is His faithfulness...and you are reminded of those mercies afresh as you delight in His Word...

- now, what about the second half of that question we’ve been posing?...Would your daily life, and your daily ministry indicate that God’s Word is your delight?

- the sad truth is, when it comes to ministry to others, some followers of Christ are delighting in a source of truth other than the Word of God...it’s the ever changing opinions of man...

- and even though those secular systems often based on a completely different set of presuppositions about the nature of man, and the goal of life, and the method of change...

- for too many of God’s people who are called to help others in need, their epistemological delight is in the wrong place...[and they are directing hurting people to somewhere other than God and His mercy]

- [show pic of Tony Cron]...

- I was really glad to see this picture in the paper the other day...

- this is of a couple of men who have just graduated from the program at Trinity Mission...

- one of the graduates attends our church and we are so happy that he does...

- and the man right in the center, Tony Cron, has been serving as a mentor for the guys at Trinity...

- and if you know Tony---you know he’s a pretty big guy---but he’s about as merciful as they come...

- and it’s great to see people in our church family, who delight in the Word of God, and who then lead others to Scripture as conduits of mercy...

 

- [show 6 pics from Tuesday’s story – Jailhouse Minister]

- [We had another great example of this in our paper this week...develop...]

 

- now, here’s one of the greatest reasons to delight in Scripture...

E. Preparation for trials.

- Psalm 119:92 - If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

- Psalm 119:143 - Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight.

 

- You never know when you’ll be called upon to face a significant difficulty...

- will you be prepared because of the way you’ve consistently delighted in the Word?...

- cf. John Reiser – worked in the same office with his 75 year old father, always hugged and kissed his kids because he never knew when the last time might be, John took his dad home because he appeared to be coming down with a cold, they embraced as always, his father passed away that night...

 

- cf. Sara Rumpke – mom diagnosed with a brain tumor...

 

- the question is – has the way you have been delighting in the Word prepared for you for whatever trial might be coming your way?...

 

- [if time, could develop the issue of how we can change the object of our desire, because we are made in the image of God, the response to the article in the paper, make decisions by feelings, kids are ready for sex at age 13—unreasonable to expect abstinence, C.S. Lewis – The Abolition of Man]

 

III. Delighting in God’s Word Leads to Effective Ministry.

- we also find the Psalmist looking for opportunities to minister these truths to others...

- Psalm 119:13 - With my lips I have told of All the ordinances of Your mouth.

- Psalm 119:46 - I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings and shall not be ashamed.

 

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video