Psalm 119, over and over, deals not with the practical side of how to read the Bible, but instead deals with our desire to read the Bible. Because any sort of change that we desire in our lives begins not with the outward, but the inward. With our hearts, affections, and desires.
Psalm 119:16 says, I delight in your decrees. I will not neglect your word.
There are two opposing affections being referred to there. Delight and neglect. Two vastly different verbs. I can’t delight in something and neglect it at the same time. I can’t neglect something, and yet say that I am delighting in it and have that be true. So within us, there is this battle between delight and neglect, especially as it relates to our relationship with the Lord through His Word.
I think for some of us, we might say that we are neglecting our Bibles. And it isn’t for a lack of access to a good Bible, but the neglect begins in our hearts.
This word neglect comes from a Hebrew word which means “to lay aside.” It means to forget or to take for granted. So in a sense, the writer is saying, “I will delight in your decrees. I will not lay aside your word. I will not forget you word. I will not take for granted your word. I will not neglect your word.”
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit might move our hearts, including mine, to be growing in delight. That even if we are in our Bibles on a consistent basis, that we’d delight in its words, and not settle for simply seeing our time in reading our Bibles as one of obligation. And on the flip side, if we find ourselves in a pattern of neglect, or laying it aside, that we’d move closer to delight and enjoyment.
If neglect means to lay aside or set aside, then what are the things or habits that we need to lay aside so that we can delight in the Lord’s words? And they may not necessarily be bad things. They can be good things, but if we delight in those greater than delighting in His decrees, then it is idolatry, and we must continually turn from idols.
And this will be a battle won’t it? Tomorrow morning when you get up, you’ll want to lay aside the Word for something else. I’ve usually got a to-do list a mile long each morning, and sadly sometimes I delight in the to-do list more than the Lord’s written words. Maybe you can relate. We know it will be a battle because as Christ followers, we’re caught up in a spiritual battle.
Some say to form a new habit it takes 21 days, or 28 days, or 66 days. Here is what I know. To form a new habit of delight, rather than neglect. To literally reverse what we are delighting in and neglecting, it will take us doing it not just today, but tomorrow, and then the tomorrow after that and so on. We’d be wise to set a goal to simply delight in the Word tomorrow, and then take the next day after that.
And we can’t do this alone. We need others around us, and they need us. So in your household, in your community group, with a roommate, or a friend, or family member…encourage each other and spur one another on.
My prayer is that we’d confess where we have neglected, and we’d ask the Lord to grow in us a supernatural delight for His supernatural Word.
Psalm 119:103 says, How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I love honey. I enjoy a good peanut butter and honey sandwich. I enjoy a little toast with a lot of honey. And I could tell you about how sweet the honey is, and how good it tastes, but knowing that honey is sweet and actually tasting honey are not the same thing.
So let’s not just take the Psalmist words for it that the Word is sweet. Let’s see for ourselves. Let us taste and see that the Lord is good. And that His Word is sweet to the taste. That it is sweet to our lives. That its sweetness leads to our delight.