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"The Longing of Our Delight"
Psalm 119:174

Wednesday AM Bible Study
February 19, 2003 - 10AM

Psalm 119:174

"I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight" (NKJV).

"I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight" (KJV).

"I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight" (NIV).

"O LORD, I have longed for your salvation, and your law is my delight" (NLT).

"I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight" (NASB).

What do you long for in a time of trial? What, in a time of trial, do you take delight in? In this verse, we see that those two things - longing and delight - are related. When God's word is our delight, our hearts are inspired with a sense of longing for His salvation; and when we are longing for God's deliverance, His word becomes even more delightful to us.

I. THE PSALMIST'S LONGING: "I long for Your salvation, O LORD ..."

A. Note, first, the specific object of the psalmist's longing - salvation. This, of course, can be taken in two ways. It can, first of all, be taken as a temporal salvation as if from a time of trial. If that's the case, the psalmist would be saying, "I hope for and earnestly expect You to deliver me from this trial, O Lord." Or second, it can be taken as as spiritual and eternal salvation. And if that's the case, the psalmist would be saying, "I place all my hopes in your grace, and confidently expect that I will be forever in Your love and care in heaven - and, in fact, long for that." Either is possible; and perhaps both are intended, because the God who saves us unto the eternal realm is the same God who has pledged to unfailingly protect us and care for us in the temporal realm.

B. Next, look at the manner in which the psalmist looks to this object - that is, with longing. To long for salvation in this way would imply:

1. That it isn't in our own capability to bring it about ourselves or realize it in our own power. If we could save ourselves, then there would be no need to "long" for it.

2. That it is of great value to us. We don't "long" for something we don't have unless it is something that we would earnestly want.

3. That it's something worth asking for. These words are the words of a prayer in which the psalmist expresses his dependency upon God for the thing for which he longs.

4. That he is waiting upon God for that thing for which he longs. To "long" for it means that he does not yet possess it in its fullness.

C. Finally, look at the source to which the psalmist looks for the satisfaction of this longing - that is, to the LORD (i.e., YHWY; the covenant-keeping God of Israel). He does not say, "I long for salvation, and so I will now get up and make it happen." Nor does he look to some other source than the true one. Salvation is of the LORD (Jonah 2:9); as the source of salvation, it is His alone to give (Psalm 3:8), and He alone will receive the thanks for it (Rev. 7:10).

II. THE PSALMIST'S DELIGHT: "... And Your law is my delight."

A. Notice object of his delight - that is, God's law. "Law", in this case, is a figure of speech for the whole of God's revealed word. This whole psalm is really encompassed in this one verse; because it is one great expression of the delightfulness and benefits of God's word.

B. Notice the manner of his appreciation for the law - "my delight". To delight in the word of God suggests such things as taking comfort in it, drawing pleasure from it, finding fulfillment and satisfaction through it. It suggests that it is not only a delight in and of itself, but also that it is that by which other delights are obtained.

C. And notice again the source of the object of his delight - this same covenant-keeping God of Israel. The God from whom he hopes to receive the salvation for which he longs is also the God from whom he receives the word in which he delights. An expression here of longing is joined together with an expression of delight in an inseparable way. We cannot have the longing for salvation satisfied unless the word is our delight; and we cannot delight in the word of God without having salvation increasingly become our heart's longing.

It may seem like an odd thing to do; but perhaps a lesson from this is that, in a time of trial - when our longings are most intense - it would be good for us to stop and examine what it is in which we delight. If God's word is our delight, then we will long for the things in those trials He is most ready to give; and we will be most inclined to look to the source of salvation that we might receive it from Him in His time.

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