Seven Things the Psalms Teach Us About the Word of God

by Simon Turpin on September 19, 2016

The writers of the Psalms were people who loved the Word of God. In fact, there are several things we can learn from their view of Scripture. This is important given the downgrading of the Word of God in the church today.

1. We Should Meditate on God’s Word.

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1–2)

Many Christians today have been influenced by a pagan understanding in that they see the mind as something that needs to be emptied in order for the divine to invade it. However, the biblical understanding of knowing God is not that of emptying one’s mind but of filling it up by meditating upon God’s Word. God’s Word is something to delight in and meditate upon; as we do this, our lives will flourish (Psalm 1:3). As we meditate upon His Word, we should ask God to open our eyes so that we can behold the wondrous things therein (Psalm 119:18). It should be our daily practice to meditate upon God’s word (Psalm 119:97).

2. God’s Words Are Pure.

The words of the Lord are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times. (Psalm 12:6)

In contrast to the words of wicked sinful men (Psalm 12:3–4), the psalmist tells us that God’s words are pure. In fact, they are perfect, as they have been purified seven times. Because of their purity, God’s words should not be added to (Proverbs 30:5–6). Unlike many theologians today who say that God is not concerned with the details of the Bible, the Psalmist tells us that it is the entirety of God’s Word that is truth (Psalm 119:160).

3. God’s Word Is Powerful.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7)

While the heavens declare the glory of God and speak of His existence (Psalm 19:1; cf. Romans 1:20), it is the Word of God that converts the soul. The Word of God is powerful not only to convert but to convict, to conform, to console, to correct (2 Timothy 3:16; Titus 1:9). It is even more powerful than any other object we could hold in our hands (Hebrews 4:12). It is so powerful that it brings forth faith in the life of a sinner (Romans 10:17).

4. God’s Word Created the World.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. (Psalm 33:6)

The New Testament further attests to this fact that the world was made by “the word of God” who spoke through His Son to create the world (Hebrews 11:3). The author of Hebrews has in mind the divine command “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), interpreting it in the fashion of Psalm 33:6. The psalmist goes on to reveal how this took place: “For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:9). The New Testament again bears witness to this through the instantaneous miracles of Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew 8:5–13; Mark 10:52; Luke 18:42–43; John 2:1–11). So when Jesus, the Word, spoke the divine command “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), we have very good reasons to conclude that it did not take millions of years for light to come into existence.

5. We Need to Learn God’s Word.

Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11)

The biblical understanding of the heart refers to the center of our will and moral activities (Jeremiah 17:10). Yet many of us fall into sin because we follow the cultural definition of the heart (emotions) when it comes to decision-making. This is why we hear people say things like “just follow your heart” or “trust what you heart says.” However, the Bible tells us not to trust our hearts: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9).” The reasoning of our hearts depends on our moral condition (Matthew 12:33–34, 15:19). This is why the Bible tells us that we need a new heart, given to us by the Spirit of God, in order to love God (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10). It is only God who can purify our hearts if our consciences have been defiled (Psalm 51:10). Rather than dulling our minds with the thinking of the world, we need to educate our hearts by applying it to the knowledge in God’s Word (Proverbs 22:17). In this way we will be guarded from sinning against God. Because of the heart’s vital importance, we are told to

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23, ESV)

6. God’s Word Gives Light.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

Just as when God spoke the words “let there be light (Genesis 1:3) and lit up a dark world, so His Word provides light to walk without stumbling in this dark world. The psalmist goes on to say: “The entrance of Your words gives light” (Psalm 119:130). The more we “enter” or “open” up the word of God, the more light we will gain in comprehending its meaning. This is seen when Jesus opened the Scriptures to the two men on the road to Emmaus and their “hearts burned within them” (Luke 24:32).

7. God’s Word Never Changes.

Forever, O Lord,
Your word is settled in heaven. (Psalm 119:89)

The psalmist here tells us of the unchanging nature of God’s Word. Right will always be right and wrong will always be wrong because God’s revelation is unchanging. The reason we can trust God’s Word, unlike the opinions of men, is that His Word does not change from year to year. This is because God Himself does not change in His being (Psalm 102:25–27; cf. Hebrews 1:10–12; Malachi 3:6; James. 1:17).

The picture the writers of the Psalms present to us is a love for the pure and unchanging Word of God. This Word is powerful enough to create the world, convert souls, and guide our path. May it be our meditation both day and night.

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