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  • Chad Werkhoven

Psalm 119:153-160 - People of the Book

There are only two types of people. You can recognize them by how they relate to God's Word.

Read / Listen

Read Psalm 119:153-160

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 52

Q. How does Christ’s return

“to judge the living and the dead”

comfort you?

A. In all my distress and persecution

I turn my eyes to the heavens

and confidently await as judge the very One

who has already stood trial

in my place before God

and so has removed the whole curse from me.

All his enemies and mine

he will condemn to everlasting punishment:

but me and all his chosen ones

he will take along with him

into the joy and the glory of heaven.



Psalm 119 is of course the longest chapter in the Bible. It's an acrostic, and in the passage we're reading today each line begins with the Hebrew letter resh (ר). Even though the psalm has approx. 8 verses for each letter of the Hebrew Alefbet, each of the 22 passages has the same theme: extolling the Word of God. In total there are over 170 references to God's Word using all sorts of different words to describe it, such as "law," "precepts," "commands," "statutes," "testimonies," "ways," "word," and "decrees," among others.

In the passage we're looking at, the relationship between God's Word and salvation is made clear

  • v153: Deliverance comes to those who've not forgotten God's law.

  • v156: The Lord's compassion preserves life according to God's law.

Those who ignore God's Word will miss out on His salvation:

  • v155: Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees.

  • v158: The faithless do not obey your word.

Even though this psalm makes clear over and over the responsibility you have to stay close to the Bible to maintain your salvation, it still makes it clear that you're saved by God's sovereignty and not your efforts. Salvation is the result of God's promise (v154) and your preservation comes in accordance with God's love (v159).

Dig Deeper

We live in a culture that loves nuance and diversity. Binary designations such as black or white, right or wrong and even male or female are frowned upon and discarded. While there's certainly room for a variety of expressions and opinions in many contexts, Psalm 119 helps illustrate that when it comes to salvation, there are just two kinds of people:

  • God's enemies: the wicked who do not seek out God's Word. They will be condemned to everlasting punishment when Christ returns.

  • Those whom God has chosen for salvation. They will be taken along with Christ after He judges the living and the dead into the joy and glory of heaven. These people should be easy to spot in life, because they are people who love the Lord's precepts.

Which kind of person are you? Are you getting a full diet of God's Word each Lord's Day and throughout the week as well? Is your love for God's Word and your obedience to it evident to others?

The more you can answer those questions affirmatively, the more you will experience the only comfort in life and in death that we're studying this year.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father in heaven, who defends our cause and preserves our lives according to His promise;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that your love for God's Word will grow each day and that you will not forget His law.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Matthew 27


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