KEY TEXT Psalms 119:33-35, 40 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it... Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!
KEY THOT: The psalmist in a series of petitions asks the Lord to grant him insights into the Law: "teach me...give me understanding... lead me... incline my heart to your testimonies... turn my eyes from looking at worthless things... confirm your promise... turn away the reproach that I dread." And for every petition he gives his reason why: "I will keep it to the end... that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart... give me life in your ways... that you may be feared... for your rules are good... give me life." Insights from God's word can lead to wisdom and understanding, imparting God's life to us. As Jesus has said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (John 6:63). The more we have God's word in us, the more we have God's life in us. For God's word imparts life.
God's word (whether OT or NT) is not just food for thought, but food for life. Just as our body needs food to stay alive and to grow strong, so our spirit similarly needs God's word to stay alive and grow strong. Jesus, quoting from the OT scripture (Deuteronomy 8:3), affirms this important truth: "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'" (Matthew 4:4). And here Jesus is not referring to the NT (it hasn't been written then) but to the OT scripture.
So, the psalmist's prayer concludes twice that the reason why he wants the Lord to grant him insights into His word is so that it may "give me life" (v.37,40). Just as eating physical food daily is imperative for staying physically alive, so eating spiritual food (Scripture) daily is imperative for staying spiritually alive. If we stop eating God's word, we will become malnourished believers, spiritually weak and ineffective.
We may eventually die spiritually from spiritual malnourishment.
Abba-Father, may Your Holy Spirit open our hearts and minds to delight in Your word, so that we may feed on it and grow stronger every day. Amen.