Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
There are two things here: peace and a lack of stumbling. Both are considered desirable by just about everyone, but they share a common condition: loving God’s Word/law. When we rebel against what we know God has said, we certainly don’t have much peace and we’re very likely to stumble. People seek to gain peace in all sorts of ways, but true peace starts with a knowledge of who God is and a commitment to follow Him. Likewise, there are countless things in life to make us stumble, and the only sure guidebook we have through this minefield is God’s Word. It’s not at all that believers are perfect, but rather that by grace these things are available to them. This is also a real test of the practicality of our faith, because “loving God’s law” doesn’t mean putting the Bible in a place of honor on the coffee table, it means putting it to work in our lives. In every discussion of the Bible I keep coming back to James 1:22, because it is all too easy to deceive ourselves into thinking we love God’s Word when in reality we are ignoring it. We aren’t to honor the physical book without taking it into our hearts and minds to apply it in every area of our lives.
I’m reminded of something my seminary professor grandfather, W. O. Carver, often asked his students: “How big is your Bible?” They would generally insist that their Bible was the same size as his, if not larger, but then he would clarify: “No, I mean, how much of it is in your heart?” That, after all, is the Bible that counts. As came up a week ago, it’s when we store up God’s word in our hearts that it can protect us from sin, which could also be called stumbling. I have been familiar intellectually with the Bible most of my life, not only having read it through dozens of times but also being familiar with the various discussions of authorship, provenance, textual criticism and the like. However, it is only when I receive it into my heart as the Word of God that it provides all the benefits it claims for itself. Yes, fallible human beings were greatly involved in the process of getting the Bible to us as it is today, but they were guided, directed, and protected by omnipotent God, and that fact transcends all the human frailty in the process. I am not to worship the book, but the God who caused it to be written. At the same time, I am to receive and transmit it as His Word. If I will do that, it will not “return to Him void.” (Isaiah 55:11)
Father, thank You for the immense spiritual heritage You have provided for me. I certainly didn’t earn any of it, because I had no choice as to my ancestors. Help me indeed love You and Your Word, applying it fully in every situation, so that Your will may be done in and through me for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!