Ladies and gentlemen, there is no chapter in the Bible that speaks of the Word of God more than does Psalm 119. This Psalm is the longest chapter in the Bible, a total of 176 verses divided into twenty-two equal sections. Each of the twenty-two sections begins with one of the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The first eight verses begin with "aleph", the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet; each of the second eight verses begin with the second Hebrew letter, "beth", and so forth. It has been said that the Hebrew children were taught their Hebrew "a, b, c's" – aleph, beth, gimel's – by learning to recite the 176 verses of this particular Psalm. If that is true, what a commentary this is on what and how our children are taught today.
This Psalm could be given the title of "The Law Of God" because it is so focused on setting forth the superiority of the law of God and the happy effects of obeying it. It repeatedly refers to the Law of God in a variety of ways. One of the following ten words can be found on several occasions throughout this Psalm: "commandments," "judgments," "law," "precepts," "righteousness," "statutes," "testimonies," "truth," "way," and "word." Each of these words describes some particular characteristic of the Word of God.
Not to be outdone, the New Testament also describes various characteristics of the Word of God. They could be categorized under seven different word the headings. These seven words are the various "Word Pictures Of The Word." The first of these "Word Pictures of the Word" is the word . . .
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.' But He answered and said, 'It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'" (1) Jesus did something that most of us cannot conceive of ever doing – fasting for "forty days and forty nights." Many of us have a hard time not putting something into our mouths every forty minutes. But this was not true in the case of Jesus.
Jesus delivered His great discourse on "bread" in John chapter 6. In that particular discourse, on four occasions He said that He is "the bread" – "the bread of life," "the living bread," the "bread which came down from heaven." Not only was He the "bread" but He was the "Word." John chapter 1 identifies Christ as "the Word." (2) Just as physical life cannot be sustained without physical food neither can spiritual life be sustained without spiritual food. Many make an attempt to do so, but they are walking, spiritual zombies. It is the spiritual "bread" found in the Word of God that gives and sustains spiritual life.
This must be why some former Christians and some congregations are dead. They never involve themselves in eating much from the Word of God. I don't know how long you can survive as a Christian without eating the "bread" of the Word of God but I know that it cannot be for long. It is a necessity to our spiritual life, so I encourage you to take the wrapper from off your Bible and eat a slice or two of the "bread" as soon as you can. Even the heel and the crust of this "bread" is better than any other thing that is available to us as far as making a person spiritually healthy and sound.
The second word picture of the Word is the word . . .
Although this actual word does not appear in the Word of God the idea is there. Jesus said in Matthew 7:24, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on the rock." Jesus said our lives are like a house that is being built. It matters little if you have a brick house, a stone house, a wooden house, or an out house! The important thing is what your house is built upon. I saw an out house one time that was suspended with ropes from the limb of a tree. It hung over a creek bed. It had no foundation at all. Evidently the ropes finally gave way because later it was seen floating down the creek.
What is the foundation of your house? Jesus said, if the foundation is His "sayings," the Word of God, it will not fall. The rains and the floods can come, and the winds can blow upon your house, but if it is built on the solid rock of God's Word it will not fall. It is in this sense that the Word of God is like a blueprint. It is a spiritual architectural drawing for your house – your life. Build your life on the Word of God and your life will not fall.
We do need to make this observation however. Some "spiritual" houses are built on a foundation that does not go down very deep into the ground. We see Christians all the time, everywhere, who are pretty shaky. They are "tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine." (3) Their spiritual houses lean one way and then another way. This is because they have not gone down deep into the Word of God to lay a solid foundation for their lives. If you are a Christian and you want to remain a Christian in these ungodly times, you need to go down deep into the Word of God. The deeper you go the more unlikely your house will stand.
And then there is a third word picture that pictures the Word of God. This is the word . . .
Again, this actual word isn't in the Word but the idea is also there. Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (4) The Word of God is like a road map. It won't lead you to Maine, Florida, California, or Virginia, but it will lead you to heavenly places including the "New Jerusalem," the Christian's final destination. It is the only road map that can get you there. Neither your GPS nor Siri can guide you to this place; only the road map of God's Word can do this.
Cartographers are those people who have drawn the maps that we use to get from one point to another - or, at least that is the way we used to do it. Those who do this kind of work have been down the roads and over the terrain so they know the way. The heavenly cartographer, even Jesus Himself, has drawn the map that leads us to the "New Jerusalem." Jesus Christ – and only Jesus Christ – has been down the road and over the rough terrain that leads us to His eternal presence and everlasting life. The Hebrew writer says that Christ entered "the Most Holy Place . . . into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us . . ." (5) He even now sits "at the right hand of the Majesty on high." (6) I've never been there. You've never been there. And those who say they have are not telling the truth. But Jesus has and is! If I am ever going to get to the "New Jerusalem" and be with God I must follow the directions of the road map drawn by our heavenly cartographer.
And here is as good a place as any to remind you of the directions, ladies and gentlemen. In Mark 16:16 Jesus said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved." The Apostle Peter, God's spokesman, said in Acts 2:38, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Again, it was Jesus Who said in John 8:24, " . . . if you do not believe that I am He [the Son of God], you will die in your sins." If you want to get from here to there you are going to have to believe that Jesus is the Christ, repent of your sins, and be immersed into Christ for salvation. If you are trying to get to the "New Jerusalem" any other way you have been sold a bad road map.
And then the fourth word that is a word picture of the Word of God is the word . . .
The number of times that the Word of God compares itself to light are too numerous to mention. But we refer you to one such reference early in the ministry of Jesus. "And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 'The land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light; and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.'" The "Light" that "dawned" (7) at that time and in that place was none other than Christ and His Word.
The world is full of Zebulun's and Naphtali's. The whole world lies in darkness. It stumbles around in spiritual darkness. The unsaved world has absolutely no idea what the purpose of man is and for the most part doesn't care. The world is grasping and groping to find something that will give meaning and purpose to life. But she hasn't found it yet. And she never will find it in the places she is seeking. It isn't in materialism; it isn't in wealth; it isn't in sex; it isn't in power or fame; it isn't in education. Real meaning and purpose of life are found in Jesus Christ and His Word and only in Jesus Christ and His Word. The Word of God is like light. It reveals both danger and safety.
One time I was visiting a family who had no inside plumbing. Although it was late at night I couldn't hold out any longer. I had to go to the outhouse. I had never done this in my life. I had never wanted to do this in my life! But necessity called. Before I embarked to that dreadful place in the pitch black of night I was told that I better take a flashlight because sometimes a snake would be on the path that I had to follow to that horrible place. The light would show me the way to get there safely. Although I didn't think about it at the time, I have since. The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Ladies and gentlemen, there are a lot of snakes in this world but the worst one of all is the "old serpent," the devil, and unless you are led in your life's pathway by the light of God's Word that "old serpent" will sink his fangs into your feet and will lead you to a place far worse than an out house; he will lead you to a place of outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
There is a fifth word that pictures the Word of God. It is the word . . .
II Corinthians 3:18 and James 1:23 describe the word of God as a "glass" or mirror. We all know what a mirror is. Many of us stand in front of one trying to make the image that is reflected back to us look better than what is possible to do. The more concerned we are about the way we look, the more often we look into one. And how foolish it is to see our blemishes and do nothing about them.
So it is with the Word of God. When we look into the Word of God it is as if we are looking into a mirror. Paul says that "…we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord . . . " When we look into the mirror of God's Word we see the glory or the character of Christ. And as Paul says, we "are . . . transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." Ladies and gentlemen, the more often we look into the Word of God the more we are to look like Christ. Maybe this explains why some brethren among us look so little like Him. You can't expect to look much like Him when you seldom look into the mirror of God's Word.
The sixth word that pictures the Word of God is the word . . .
Jesus said in Luke 8:11, "The seed is the word of God." Of course, this is in the context of the parable of the sower and the four different soils. The four soils picture the four different kinds of hearts into which the "seed" of God, His Word can be deposited. The same "seed" is sown in all four hearts but only one of the four is receptive and produces any fruit.
Christians are sowers of the "seed" and we never know into what kind of heart we are sowing God's "seed." And because we don't, we need to sow as much "seed" as we possibly can. If only one out of four hearts is a "good heart" – good in the sense that it willingly receives the "seed" – most of the "seed" that we sow will not return anything of worth. But we don't know which are the good hearts and which are the bad hearts so we must sow, sow, sow. Some good hearts will return thirty-fold, some sixty-fold, and some hundred-fold. (8) You never know, ladies and gentlemen, when you will hit the jackpot and sow "seed" into a hundred-fold heart. We must remind ourselves constantly that there can be no harvest of souls if there is no planting of God's "seed." The power to produce a Christian is not in our preaching or in our singing or in our youth ministry. The power is in the "seed" of God. So when we preach we need to preach the "seed" of God. When we sing we need to sing the "seed" of God. When we youth minister we need to minister the "seed" of God to the youth. Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it - "the gospel of Christ" - is the power of God unto salvation." (9)
And now we come to the seventh word picture of the Word of God. This seventh word is the word . . .
Perhaps of the seven words that picture the Word of God this one is the most frequently used by preachers in their gospel messages. Among the various articles of gospel "armor" to be worn, the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:17 that Christians are to put on "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." He wrote to the Hebrew Christians that " . . . the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (10)
The Word of God, like a sword, is both a defensive and an offensive weapon. We use it defensively to fight off the attacks of the unspiritual world that would lead us to hell. We use it offensively to attack the false doctrines of denominationalism that would do the same. It is "two-edged." It cuts going in and it cuts coming out. If you are stuck with it, it can make a person better or it can make a person worse. It can cut out sin and lead to eternal life but it also can kill. It all depends on what you do with it. It hurts more when you fight against it. Preachers use it all the time – some skillfully and some not so skillfully.
Here, let me operate on you right now with this spiritual "sword." I will make an incision into your heart and plant the "seed" of II Peter 3:9. "God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." I will make another incision into your heart and plant the "seed" of John 14:15. "If you love Me, keep My commandments." While I have your heart open let me plant the seed of I Peter 3:21. "Baptism does also now save us." What I'd really like to do is to put all of the "seed" of God into your heart but this is enough for now. If you have a "good and honest heart" this operation with the "sword" will lead you to become a Christian. If you are already a Christian but have fallen away, this operation with the "sword" will lead you to repent and rededicate your life to the Lordship of Christ. And if you are a Christian who has not fallen away this operation with the "sword" will lead you to be even more committed to living the Christian life.
Ladies and gentlemen, what will you do with the Word of God? If you are hungry you will eat it like bread. If you are concerned about the way you are building your life you will use it as your blueprint. If you are lost you will take advantage of it as a map. If you are in darkness you will open it and let its light shine. If you are concerned about your appearance before God you will look into it as a mirror. If you are producing nothing of significance or importance in this life you will let it come into your heart like seed. And if you are fighting a losing battle in life you will strap it on as a sword that assures you of victory.
What are you doing with or to the Word of God? Psalm 119 is written to help all the people of God of all ages by providing guidance, strength, and comfort by considering the influence and the value of the law of God in several respects. It is the rule of life. It sanctifies the souls of men. It is a support during life's trials. And, it gives happiness and contentment and joy to the mind. This is only possible when the Law of God is obeyed. What will you do with it? What will you do with these "Word Pictures Of The Word"?
(1) Matthew 4:1 - 4
(2) verses 1 and 14
(3) Ephesians 4:14
(4) Matthew 7:13-14
(5) Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:24
(6) Hebrews 1:3
(7) Matthew 4:13 - 16
(8) Matthew 13:8
(9) Romans 1:16
(10) Hebrews 4:12
Acts 2:36 "Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, Whom you crucified both Lord and Christ."
Acts 2:37 "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?'"
Acts 2:38 "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"