Day 3

Teach Me the Meaning of Your Statutes

from the Psalm 119 reading plan

Psalm 119:33-56, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, James 1:16-25

BY Jessica Lamb

One of my strongest memories from my sophomore year of high school is of a black, 5-inch thick three-ring binder I carried everywhere. I was part of the not-so-exclusive academic quiz bowl team at my school, and every few weeks, I would compete against other schools to see which team could “buzz in” first to earn points answering trivia questions. My binder was filled with the printed records of previous tournament questions and answers. Though questions were rarely repeated, I poured over that binder every opportunity I could find, hoping that my incessant studying might reveal recurring subject matter or a pattern in how questions are worded for tournaments to give me an edge over the competition. To this day, I’d still choose a trivia night at a local restaurant over almost any other activity.

I used to think taking this same approach to Scripture was proof that I loved God’s Word. Studying the Bible—its words, history, cultural contexts, and languages—has been life-giving to my faith in my undergraduate and postgraduate studies, as well as in my career. But I have to be reminded that life as a follower of Jesus is so much more than just memorizing facts about God or storing up interesting trivia about the Bible. Our reading and study of Scripture should shape us and reorient our hearts as it shows us who He is and who we are in Him.

I come back to the book of James over and over when I find my heart wanting to make a god of knowing about God, rather than truly knowing Him. The book is full of direct one-liners that cut right to the truth: truly delighting in God’s Word means living out what the Word teaches us. In the opening passage of his letter, James sums this up by telling believers that we must be “doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22).

Hearing without acting is more than useless—it’s self-deception, because as believers, we are new people born of the gospel (v.22,18). James writes that God has implanted His Word in us (v.21). We miss the point if we are not willing to let its truth take root, growing and bearing fruit in us as we are changed and made more like Christ.

Essentially, we are living out what the psalmist pleads with God to do: transform him so that he can keep God’s commands. By His Spirit and His Word, we’ve been made into new people. Unlike the person who looks in the mirror and responds, “I forget,” when asked what they look like (vv.23–24), we are called to remember who we are as we walk away from reading the Bible. If we go about our lives without acting on what it teaches, we live as fractured people, at odds with who we now are in Christ. Praise God, because He’s done the hardest work in giving us new hearts already!

Being in the Word of God every day equips us to live out the Word of God every day. It guards against forgetting what is true of our God and of ourselves. Let our prayer echo that of the psalmist as we come to the Bible each day: ”Teach me, LORD, the meaning of your statutes, and I will always keep them” (Psalm 119:33).

Post Comments (73)

73 thoughts on "Teach Me the Meaning of Your Statutes"

  1. Nicole Burgos says:

    Opening up scripture and sitting to truly be in his presence is a struggle but I am trying .

  2. Jill Rummer says:

    My family is going through some particularly hard times, feels like spiritual warfare . Over and over others have said lean in to God, read his word, recite his scripture and pray. Typically I pray until things seems to calm down, but what I long to do is pray and read scripture to be near to God and build a relationship with him. So, today I ask God to transform my heart , to build my relationship and to teach me the meaning of your statutes . Your way is better than my way.

  3. Emily Thomson says:

    Sometimes I struggle with forcing myself to open scripture as an act of obedience and wanting so badly for the words to come alive and reveal something to me. To make me feel that closeness to the Lord. Sometimes it feels like I’m going through the motions and I have to reread over and over to try and find meaning. My prayer today is that my heart would be opened, truly opened to what the Lord is trying to show me and I would feel a connection with it again.

    1. Chelsea V says:

      Emily, I struggle in the same way. Amen ❤️

    2. Emily Rouse says:

      Yes!!! Same here!

  4. Angela Nelson says:

    My biggest takeaway from today’s reading is that the Lord is reliable and trustworthy. We can rely on Him to always be who He says He is and who Scripture shows us He is. He is good..always. He is faithful..always. He is worthy..always. He is loving..always. He is here..always. I’m so thankful for these truths!

    1. Jen Brewer says:

      Amen! ❤️

  5. Amara Thein says:

    I so, so appreciate this community. I don’t post, but I want to become more comfortable doing so. But I want every Vince here to

  6. Victoria McAlman says:

    A verse that stood out in today’s reading was a beautiful reminder to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. This is essentially important with everything that we are enduring in the world and in personal lives. Thank you, God!

    1. Carol Burlew says:

      This is the same verse that spoke to me as well. ❤️

  7. Beth says:

    Statutes, law, testimonies, precepts, ways, commandments, judgments, word, are all synonyms for God’s Word in Psalm 119. Every verse (176 of them) uses one of these words speaking of God’s Word. David held God’s Word in very high esteem, that’s why he wrote this Psalm praising God’s Word.

  8. Sara Morman says:

    Praying for you ChappyBeach Girl & Pam C.

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