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Purpose: To persuade people to read through the Bible annually

The Third 8 Reasons for Reading the Bible 

Psalm 119.17–24

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 1, In the year of our Lord, 2017

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Kevin Michael – “Give Me the Bible” (154), “How Precious Is the Book” (249), “How Shall the Young Secure Their Hearts” (253), “Thy Word” (895)

Prelude

  1. Psalm 119 is a prayer, 
    1. making it the longest prayer in the Bible, and
    2. it is a long prayer about the Bible.
      1. Have you prayed to God about the Bible?
      2. What would you say to Him about His word?
  2. If you do not know what to say to God about His word,
    1. let me lead you now in a prayer
    2. that is just 1/22 the length of the prayer that is Psalm 119,

      Dear Heavenly Father,

      Deal bountifully with Your servants,
      That we may live and keep Your word.

      Open our eyes, that we may see
      Wondrous things from Your law.

      We are strangers in the earth;
      Do not hide Your commandments from us.

      Our souls break with longing
      For Your judgments at all times.

      You rebuke the proud—the cursed,
      Who stray from Your commandments.

      Remove from us reproach and contempt,
      For we have kept Your testimonies.

      Princes also sit and speak against us,
      But Your servants meditate on Your statutes.

      Your testimonies also are our delight
      And our counselors.

      Through Jesus we pray. Amen!

  3. For those who may not have been here the past two years, 
    1. I determined that for a new year,
      1. starting in 2014,
      2. I would do a sermon on reading the Bible annually.
    2. For my text, I would use Psalm 119.
      1. Psalm 119 has 176 verses.
      2. Divide that by 22 and you get 8.
        1. Why divide it by 22?
        2. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
          1. Each of the first 8 verses begins with the first letter.
          2. Each of the second 8 verses begins with the second letter, etc.
    3. Since I started in 2014,
      1. that means I will complete this project in the year 2035,
      2. when I am 78 years old.
        1. Of course that depends upon
          1. you and I tolerating one another for that long, and
          2. me living that long, and
        2. most of all, the Lord’s will.
  4. Keep in mind that the psalmist 
    1. had in his mind,
    2. his relationship
      1. to the Lord and
      2. to His word.
        1. He asked the Lord to help him accomplish the things of verses 17–24.
        2. Pray to the Lord that you also might remain loyal to His word,
          1. reading and meditating upon it daily through the year,
          2. making you familiar with it so that you might know what to do.

Persuasion

  1. Psalm 119.17 | Keep the Word

    17 Deal bountifully with Your servant,
    That I may live and keep Your word.

    1. Lord, we want to live that we might keep your word.
    2. Your word occupies the place of priority and prominence in our lives.
      1. Yet, threats against our health and other dangers
      2. confront us daily.
        1. Please keep us here as long as you desire, for
        2. in so doing that will give us more opportunities to keep your word.
  2. Psalm 119.18 | See Wondrous Things in the Law

    18 Open my eyes, that I may see
    Wondrous things from Your law.

    1. Lord, every time we open your word,
      1. we discover new things.
      2. Please keep our eyes open and
        1. open them wider
        2. that we may see even more wonderful things.
    2. We know, Lord,
      1. that we still have to read it, and
      2. that we still have to search in it, and
      3. that we still have to think on what we have read.
        1. We just need your help along the way.
        2. Doing as you teach and command us means more to us than anything.
  3. Psalm 119.19 | See the Commandments

    19 I am a stranger in the earth;
    Do not hide Your commandments from me.

    1. Lord,
      1. the more we live here and
      2. the more we live in your word,
        1. the more we realize
        2. that we are fish out of water here.
    2. Therefore, we want to see your commandments, because
      1. they guide us in this foreign land.
      2. You created the world.
      3. You created the people.
        1. You know where the people of the world have gone wrong.
        2. You know how to navigate us through this world.
    3. We believe your commandments
      1. tell us how to attain spiritual success in this world.
      2. Therefore, please do not hide them from us.
  4. Psalm 119.20 | Long for the Judgments

    20 My soul breaks with longing
    For Your judgments at all times.

    1. O God in heaven,
      1. our souls break with longing
      2. to know and to see your judgments.
    2. We know that your judgments
      1. rebuke the wicked, but
      2. give life to those who long for you and your righteousness.
        1. Our souls long to see your will fulfilled on the Earth as it is in Heaven.
        2. We know that we must fulfill it in our lives
          1. before we can expect to see it fulfilled on the Earth.
          2. Therefore, help us to see and to live your judgments.
  5. Psalm 119.21 | Do Not Stray from the Commandments

    21 You rebuke the proud—the cursed,
    Who stray from Your commandments.

    1. Heavenly Father, the proud do not live by your commandments.
      1. They think they have something better.
      2. They do not listen to anyone, especially you.
    2. However, we know that you rebuke the proud.
      1. Therefore, we do not want the problem of arrogance ourselves.
      2. We want to be humble that we might remain with your commandments.
    3. Please rebuke the proud
      1. that they might see their error, and
      2. that having seen their error they may repent.
  6. Psalm 119.22 | Keep the Testimonies

    22 Remove from me reproach and contempt,
    For I have kept Your testimonies.

    1. Lord of Heaven and Earth, we give our all to keep your testimonies, but
    2. men reproach us and hold us in contempt for doing so.
      1. We know that sometimes we fail to believe as you have testified, but
      2. we ask you to forgive us.
        1. Then may evil men see that they have borne false witness against us.
        2. May they see what you have testified and believe it.
          1. We know that keeping your testimonies gives life.
          2. We want that for ourselves and for our enemies.
            1. Therefore, show them the folly of their reproach and contempt.
            2. Show them the wisdom of what you have testified.
  7. Psalm 119.23 | Meditate on the Statutes

    23 Princes also sit and speak against me,
    But Your servant meditates on Your statutes.

    1. Lord of Heaven and Earth, even the highest among men,
    2. speak against us, ridiculing us for our adherence to your word.
      1. We know that you shall deal with them in your righteous judgment, but
      2. see also that we meditate on your statutes.
        1. Please help us to continue to meditate in your word
        2. as unbelievers mock us and laugh at us.
          1. May we not give in to temptation and
          2. abandon your statutes, but
            1. help us to increase our resolve
            2. to meditate on everything that proceeds out of your mouth.
  8. Psalm 119.24 | Delight in the Testimonies

    24 Your testimonies also are my delight
    And my counselors.

    1. O Lord, we love to hear your testimonies, for
      1. we know that you have witnessed everything
      2. from the creation of the world to its upcoming end.
        1. Men seek to revise history, such as
        2. saying we came from lower life forms, and
        3. denying the biblical foundations of the beginning of America.
          1. However, you know the truth about those things.
          2. We love to read what you have revealed in the Scriptures.
    2. Naturally then, Lord, your testimonies serve as our counselors.
      1. They advise us on the way to live.
      2. They warn us of danger.
        1. We have tested these things, and
        2. every time your testimonies have proven true as our counselors.

Exhortation

  1. Therefore, I urge everyone here: 
    1. Read the whole Bible annually, or
    2. read it by whatever plan you desire,
      1. just make sure that you read and meditate upon the entire Scripture.
      2. I will hand out after worship services the schedule that I use.
  2. Steve Lloyd asked me three questions about reading the Bible annually. 
    1. “How long have you been systematically reading through the Bible?”
      1. Shortly after we got out of preaching school. May be before, but truly I cannot remember.
      2. That led to writing email devotionals in 1996, but only occasionally.
        1. As I continued my daily-annual-read-through-the-whole-Bible routine,
          1. I kept getting more and more of the biblical story into my mind.
          2. I had to have an outlet.
            1. By 2004, I was writing twice-daily devotionals.
            2. If anyone reads the Bible regularly they will need an outlet,

              34b …out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt 12.34).
        2. This helps to answer the next question, but
          1. I discovered that out of the abundance of my heart,
          2. I had to speak, even as Jesus said would happen.
    2. “What impact has reading the whole Bible every year?”
      1. I have become familiar with the whole Bible.
      2. You can mention any story and I know about it.
      3. It has given me a balanced view of everything.
      4. The Bible, or the Holy Spirit, has become my instructor rather than commentaries, although they offer insight.
      5. The teachings and stories of the Bible come into my mind at the appropriate times in life.
    3. “Do you have any advice for those beginning such a project of reading the Bible in one year?”
      1. Do not give up.
      2. Find a time when you will not fall asleep.
      3. Be relentless about doing it daily.
      4. Be sure to read everything from Genesis 1.1 to Revelation 22.21.
      5. Keep in mind that this is not a short term project.
        1. Therefore, do not expect immediate results.
        2. I always remember what brother Bob Irby, one of my preaching school instructors said,
          1. A woman approached an older preacher, and
          2. she was so fascinated by his biblical knowledge,
            1. that she said to him,
            2. “I would give half my life to know the Bible like you.”
            3. To which he responded, “That is what I gave.”
  3. Finally, Jesus spoke these sobering words,

    47 “And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12.47–48).

    1. Someday we shall
      1. all meet the words of Scripture
      2. at the same time that we all meet the Lord.
    2. How can you prepare for that day,
      1. unless you find out for yourself
      2. what His word says?