Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing shall offend them. – Psalms 119:165
159 See how I love your commandments, LORD. Give back my life because of your unfailing love.
160 The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever.
161 Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles only at your word.
165 Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.
On December 07, 2010, Reuters reported that a privately owned copy of John James Audubon’s richly illustrated Birds of America sold for a record $11.5 million. It smashed all previous records for a printed book.
The book was bought by a London book dealer Michael Tollemache, a true bibliophile. He described the work after the sale as “priceless.”
The word bibliophilia connotes a love for books. It comes from the Greek terms phila – love, lover, and biblio – book. A bibliophile is someone who loves books. They are fascinated with them and the stories they tell.
Bibliophile an ideal term to describe someone in love with the Book of books, the Bible, the Word of God. David, king of Israel, was such a man, a true Bibliophile.
Psalms 119:47 How I delight in your commands! How I love them!
What biblical materials did David have available to contemplate, cherish, and hide in his heart?
David lived around 1000 BC, so what parts of the Bible were written then? His primary resource was the Torah, the Five Books of Moses. In addition, there was Joshua, Judges, and Job. David spent the majority of his time reading and meditating on the Torah, the Law of God, which contained commandments, statutes, and ordinances. Many people find much of the content of these books, particularly Leviticus and Numbers, somewhat tedious and seemingly irrelevant to everyday life. Yet David found them fascinating. For David, they were sweet, delightful, precious, and greatly desirable.
Ideally, when you fall in love with God, you also love His Word. Anyone can do it.
Psalms 19:10 They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
They brought David great delight and joy. The serious student of the Bible already knows this. When you get beneath the surface, the Father often discloses great treasures on notice to the casual reader. David was a unique individual with a special heart for the Father and His Word.
We live in the 21st century with access to a complete Bible. We discover the profound beauty, knowledge, and wisdom in the Gospel of John, the Psalms, and Proverbs. There are thought-provoking, extremely cerebral books such as Romans, Ephesians, and Hebrews. We also have challenging and almost titillating books regarding the end times, such as Daniel and Revelation.
We have so much more than David could ever imagine. Yet do we ravenously feast upon it never seeming to get enough?
Winston Churchill said regarding the Battle of Britain, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few. Sadly, with apologies to Churchill, we can paraphrase his thoughts, “Never have so many done so little, with so much.”
REFLECT & PRAY
Psalms 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Father may I fall deeply in love with Your Word. May I meditate upon it frequently and continuously.
Focusing on the Father and loving His Word has two delightful benefits: peace and stability.
Remarkable things happen when we worship the Father and partake in His Word. “Focusing on the Lord, asking for nothing, and totally lost in our praise of Him, has a way of making the problems look much smaller and the future much brighter. But praise also helps us to have poise in our Christian walk and not to stumble (Jude 24) or cause others to stumble (1 Corinthians 8:13; Romans 14:13). The singing saint is a stable saint, walking on a level path even when the enemy digs pits and sets up obstacles” (Wiersbe).
Psalms 119:165 Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.
The Hebrew word translated as peace is shalom. Shalom means far more than the absence of conflict. It has the idea of well-being, wholeness, health, completeness, prosperity, and having nothing essential lacking (UBS).
The Scriptures characterize life as a walk, a journey.
The Hebrew term translated as stumble or offend is mikshol. Mikshol conveys the image of a hindrance or obstacle (HAL). Consider an individual traversing a challenging path through rough terrain. When such an individual loves the Father’s Word, they are less likely to stumble or fall due to offenses. Although stumbling blocks exist, they do not get tripped up by them.
When we fall in love with the Word of God, we become less responsive to offenses, insults, and hardships that are inherent in our fallen world. We can confront the upheavals and challenges of life with calmness, tranquility, and steadfastness. This inner peace and stability are not derived from an absence of difficulties but from the ability to maintain composure during adversity. The children of the King are not exempt from grief or hardship, but they possess the freedom not to be ensnared by them.
In Psalm 23:4, the term traditionally translated as the shadow of death elsewhere simply means darkness. Here it has the sense of “the valley of deep darkness,” “the dark valley,” “the darkest of all valleys,” and “a valley dark as death.” It connotes a dangerous and foreboding place (UBS).
Psalms 23:4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
The rod and staff provide reassurance and protection from the perils of everyday life. “The rod (a cudgel worn at the belt) and staff (to walk with, and to round up the flock) were the shepherd’s weapon and implement: the former for defense (cf. 1 Samuel. 17:35), the latter for control – since discipline is security” (Kidner).
Previously, the Father was portrayed as a compassionate shepherd leading David (Psalm 23:2) and guiding him on his journey. However, now, the Father is described as walking beside David, acting as a companion, and providing not only guidance but also protection.
King David was a man after God’s own heart. He had fallen deeply in love with the Father and His word. He shows us how to face dark and foreboding circumstances confidently and fearlessly.
© Dr. H 2023
One thought on “Bibliophilia”
Ohhh….how this statement just strummmmed my heart strings!
“ When we fall in love with the Word of God, we become less responsive to offenses, insults, and hardships that are inherent in our fallen world. We can confront the upheavals and challenges of life with calmness, tranquility, and steadfastness. ”