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  • Chad Werkhoven

Psalm 119:1-8 - Seriousness of Purpose

God's Word must be much more than a hobby. Make it your business.

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Read Psalm 119:1-8

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 114

Q. But can those converted to God

obey these commandments perfectly?

A. No. In this life even the holiest

have only a small beginning

of this obedience.


with all seriousness of purpose,

they do begin to live

according to all, not only some,

of God’s commandments.



Psalm 119 is a celebration of God's Word, and this opening strophe expresses this multiple ways. All of the italicised words below are different ways of describing God's Word:

  • Blessed are those... who walk according to the law of the Lord (v1);

  • Blessed are those who keep his statutes (v2);

  • they do no wrong but follow his ways... precepts that are to be fully obeyed (v3-4);

  • Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees... when I consider all your commands (v5-6);

  • I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees (v7-8).

Even as massive as what Psalm 119 is, it boils down to a theme that remains consistent throughout the Psalms, which is best expressed in the second verse of the first Psalm:

Blessed is the man... whose delight is in the law of the Lord, who mediates on his law day and night.

Another way to translate that would be, Happy is the man who makes God's Word his primary occupation.

Dig Deeper

I really like the way the Catechism phrases this answer. The question is significant: as people who've been made perfect in Christ, are we now expected to obey the commandments perfectly?

Yesterday, Psalm 143 reminded us that nobody (besides Jesus) is able to live perfectly righteously, but today we read that our weakness and inability is not to be used as an excuse. "Nevertheless," the answer continues, "with all seriousness of purpose, Christians begin to live according to all, not only some, of God's commandments."

Are you pursuing righteousness with all seriousness of purpose? In other words, do you you "seek the Lord with all your heart (v2)" with the same intensity that you take to honing your athletic abilities, hunting skills, or growing your business? Most of us aren't, so it shouldn't be a surprise that most of us don't experience the blessedness (happiness) given to those who steadfastly obey God's decrees.

Learn to delight in God's Word the way the psalmists do. Make it your business, and see how God will reward you with blessedness in this life and the life to come.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who commands us to walk according to His law;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that your ways will be steadfast in obeying God's decrees;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - John 13


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