Everyone Loves a Treasure

Psalm 119:161-168

Many folks enjoy treasure-hunting, comes in lots of different forms. Browsing at Goodwill; metal detector at the beach; cruising yard sales and second-hand shops. Looking for something interesting or useful, never at full price, the more discounted the better. If you strongly suspect there’s a treasure in particular location, will spend more time and diligence rooting around for it. If effort has been rewarded, may return again and again to discover more treasure.

So long as not thinking / acting selfishly, especially if supply of treasure is abundant, strongly encourage friends to share in it. Might even ask for their help to uncover more of what’s hidden under the surface. Finding treasure brings excitement, pleasure, source of material for conversation with friends. “You should see what I found…”

Now, here’s a question: what do you do with that treasure once you’ve found it? Put it on display, behind glass, under lock and key; walk by and admire it, take it out and hold it once a month, then put it back? Probably not, if found it at Goodwill! But that’s often what folks do with treasure of God’s Word – admire from a distance, perhaps boast about possessing it, keep it on prominent display. Maybe flip through pages once in a while, don’t really have relationship with it or its author.

Psalmist brings out different aspects of treasure found in God’s word: he has experienced power of God’s word, has found pleasure in God’s word, hopes in the promise of God’s word.

A. power of God’s word v.161, 163

unlike “average” treasure, God’s word has power – think first of power to give life; yet, transforming power that raises sinner from spiritual dead continues active (161)

as Bible permeates mind, number of things happen – fog of sin clears away; faulty thought processes repaired; value system turned right-side up – all by power of God’s word applied by God’s Spirit

get reminded this time of year – graduation – power of peer pressure, incentive to conform to way of thinking and living contrary to Bible

something expressly forbidden: Rom. 12:2do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”

what is it that renews our mind: Holy Spirit and his power, but not alone – in concert with truth from Bible: read, heard, meditated on

antidote to pressure to conform (whether HS graduate or anyone) – large regular helpings of God’s word

what about pressure when it comes from “official” source – someone in legitimate position of authority (parent, boss), government entity

what psalmist has in view here is matter of principle, not preference; must be careful we don’t make difference of opinion into persecution issue

question should be: would doing what this person / entity expects require me to disobey God – do what he forbids, not do what he commands; if so, then what?

psalmist’s response: will endure being persecuted rather than disobey God – has greater fear/respect for God and his displeasure than for man threats

Psa. 118:6The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” — order there is crucial: before you go thru life fearlessly, must be certain God is on your side

not simply a “this is preferable to that”, flows out of love for God and his word and abhorrence of sin and sinning (163)

some things are mutually exclusive – light and darkness; truth and falsehood; practicing good and evil… simultaneously

the one who loves God, loves truth, loves the Bible… even when it’s painful; that love for God/truth/Bible translates into hatred of sin

closeness, an intimate relationship with God is reflected in individual values, desires, priorities – the one who loves God loves what God loves, despises what God despises

Rev. 22:15But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”

forbidden to enter God’s presence: the wicked and depraved, those involved in witchcraft, sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, liars – based on God’s attitude, we should think same way, not make them welcome

remember, talking about present lifestyle, not that for which forgiveness following repentance has been sought

positively, should love kinds of people and things God loves, surround ourselves with them, promote and encourage growth in godliness of people God loves (see Phil. 4:8)

B. pleasure in God’s word v.162, 164. 167

it’s a real treasure – finding it, experiencing it, profiting from it causes great joy, should be greater/deeper/longer-lasting than any other joy, one we are unwilling to sacrifice for anything (162)

word translated “treasure” – shâlâl – most frequently rendered as “spoils” or “plunder”, the spoils of war: that just amps up the rejoicing to new level

hang on for the logic: if there are spoils of war then battle was fought, victory won, the one gathering up the spoil was on winning side

the connection: Christ has fought and won great victory over sin and Satan; the spoils of that victory available to those who are his, us – they remind us of victory which we share with him, hope of future final victory… and we know that ‘cuz it’s in the Book

it’s worthy of praise – because of what it is (God’s Word) and what it tells us (God’s ways), so what’s right response: continual praise (164)

when indwelt and enlightened by Holy Spirit, is beauty in God’s Word that causes praise – kind of thing (like work of art), can’t describe but know it when you see it

recognize beauty and praiseworthiness of Bible because recognize Heavenly Father’s prints on, presence in it

with Spirit’s help, grasp the beauty and majesty and wonder of principles expressed – how right are God’s rules, how they all mesh together, move the one who follows them closer to God and farther from sin

excellence of God’s righteous rules confirmed by examples from history of God dealing with his people – see them in action

God doesn’t have to prove anything, includes the history to help us grasp and reassure us his ways are truly best

if we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17), makes perfect sense we should praise the same way, 7x, continual praise

it gets to the soul – earthly treasure appeals to everything but our soul, can never reach it; God’s treasure from his word can (167)

in fact, that’s the whole idea – bodies aren’t worthless, necessary evils; if they were, wouldn’t be resurrected, God would start over instead

but… soul is different matter and God has different plan for it – purposely intended his Word to change our souls to our very core

nothing external about this kind of embracing God’s word – starts in innermost part of us and spreads out to impact all of life

side note: we spend far too much time investing in all sorts of things, too little investing in our eternal souls – best treasure for them is the one you are holding in your hands

C. promise of God’s word v.165, 166, 168

2 Pet. 1:2-4Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

peace – great peace, abundant peace, complete security belongs to God’s people… their possession regardless of circumstances (165)

is peace of heart and mind that insulates from tumult of surroundings – Phil. 4:7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

that sort of peace far more important than peaceful circumstances; external peace no help if soul is not at rest

peace of heart and mind brings stability, focus, faithfulness to godly principles and living – can effectively resist pressure/temptation to stray from right path

deliverance – confidence, not wishful thinking, that God will deliver… on all his promises (166)

is right and proper to wait in confidence for God to act, especially for Lord Jesus to wrap up this age and bring in next

meanwhile, not just sitting around waiting; supposed to be busy, engaged in activities and responsibilities God has given

not just general deliverance we wait for, the specific deliverance promised by God – and where do we find promises? in his treasure, the Bible – promises of deliverance from enemies, sin, death

security – God’s omniscience, and… I have nothing to hide; “both total exposure and total commitment” Segal (168)

all our ways still in future fully known to God, included in his comprehensive plan; therefore, no cause for worry

may be surprises for us but not for God; nothing will catch him off guard, unprepared; means we are absolutely secure

does not mean no harm will come to us; does mean only what is ultimately for our good even though it involves physical harm – will not overcome us

all our ways open to God now – nothing hidden from him; if we can think of that with clear conscience, have nothing to fear

is evidence of devotion to God, commitment to faithfulness and obedience; his word assures of his secure keeping

Might think greatest treasure found in God’s word is gift of eternal life. Truly is great treasure. However, is even greater one – God. God’s gifts are great and wonderful, God is greater and… Bible is God’s revelation of himself. Greatest promise of all:

1 John 3:2Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

We will have body like his, character like his, joy and contentment like his. Will have better view of Jesus than disciples did for 40 days after his resurrection. They didn’t have perfect sight, we will when he returns and we have our new bodies. Jesus is express image of God, we will possess original undamaged image once again. In that day, will be fully and finally transformed into what God has had in mind for us all along, given hints of in his Word. Can you imagine what it would be like to try to exist without treasure of God’s Word? Perhaps you shouldn’t try. Instead, rejoice in the treasure for all it’s worth, anticipating day when you will see Savior face to face in all his glory.

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