Psalm 119:162

Psalm 119: An Exposition
Charles Bridges

"I rejoice at your word as one who finds great treasure."

The awe in which we hold God's word is the most suitable preparation for its most happy enjoyment. In receiving every word of it as the condescending message from him, before whom angels veil their faces, we shall rejoice at it as one who finds great treasure. David had often found great treasure in his many wars, but never had his greatest victories brought him such rich spoil as he had now discovered in the word of God. David's joy in this treasure evidently implied no ordinary delight, but was akin to that joy of the church at the advent of Christ: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light . . . They rejoice before you . . . as men rejoice when they divide the spoil" (Isa. 9:2,3). If, then, the saints of old could enrich their souls so mightily from their scanty portion of the word, must not we, who are favored with the entire revelation of God, acknowledge that "The lines have fallen to us in pleasant places; yes, we have a good inheritance?"

This expressive image of war and spoil should remind us that the treasures of God's precious word are not to be gained without due battle. Here "the kingdom of heaven suffers violence." Our natural taste and disposition is to revolt from God's word. Indolence indisposes us for the necessary habitual effort of prayer, self-denial, and faith. But still "the violent do take the kingdom by force" (Matt. 11:12). No pains are lost, no struggle is ineffectual. And what great spoil is divided as the fruit of the conflict! What abundant recompense is in reserve for the good soldier of Jesus Christ who is determined, by Divine strength, to endure hardship until he overcomes the reluctance of his heart for the spiritual duty? It is not a sudden flash or impression upon the imagination. It is the conqueror's joy in spoiling the field of conflict--solid and enriching. Sometimes we find the spoil unexpectedly, as the lepers did in the Syrian camp. At other times we see the treasure long before we can make it our own. Then it is that we must gird ourselves for battle. Paralyzed as we are by the weakness of our spiritual perceptions and the power of unbelief, we must send up many a prayer and many a sigh for Divine aid before we are crowned with victory and can joyfully appropriate the word to our present distress as the fruit of conquest.

But no such fruit can be anticipated from a cursory, superficial reading of the word of God. When, therefore, the flesh or the world has deadened our delight and taken from us this great treasure, should we not arm ourselves for repossession of it? Should we be unaffected by our loss? Oh, then, since there are such treasures to be found and enjoyed in this field of battle, let us not lose our interest in them by the indulgence of presumption, heartlessness, or despondency. Before we attempt to read, let us cry to the Lord for his powerful help and Almighty teaching, being aware of our utter helplessness to perform one spiritual act on our own. Then shall we persevere with unconquerable and unwearied vigor and not fail to share in the blessed spoil of victory--views of a Savior's dying love, an interest in the precious blessings of the cross. These indeed are great treasures, unsearchable riches.

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