Summary: Scripture is 1) Permanent (Psalm 119:89-91), 2) Precious (Psalm 119:92-93), 3) Preserving (Psalm 119:94-95) and 4) Perfect (Psalm 119:96)
As far back as the late medieval period, men such as John Wycliffe and John Hus called people to return to Scripture. When challenged by hostile church officials, Hus repeatedly answered his opponents, “Show me from Scripture and I will repent and recant!” Hus’s devotion to Scripture alone cost him his life, for this principle compelled him to attack both curialism (the principle on which papal authority stands) and conciliarism (the principle on which supreme authority rests in church tradition and in gatherings of prelates) (Beeke, J. R. (2008). Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism (pp. 132–133). Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing.).
Psalm 119 praises God for his Word, the Bible, because God has given us the Bible and it is only through the Bible that we can come to know who God is and how to praise him (Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 107–150: An Expositional Commentary (p. 970). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.). “Here we have set forth in inexhaustible fullness what the word of God is to (us) and how (we are) to behave in relation to it.” (Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Psalms, 243.)
Today no evangelical rejects the authority of Scripture. But all too often we place our experience alongside Scripture or use experience to interpret Scripture—rather than the other way round. If we truly believe that Scripture is the divine breath of God, then it must thoroughly critique us. It must shape every through, word, or deed. If anyone, including our own perceptions, come into conflict with what is in the Word, then we must adapt our understanding, words and actions to it.
Showing how the Word of God is complete for all our thoughts, words and deeds, Psalm 119 shows how Scripture is 1) Permanent (Psalm 119:89-91), 2) Precious (Psalm 119:92-93), 3) Preserving (Psalm 119:94-95) and 4) Perfect (Psalm 119:96)
1) Permanent (Psalm 119:89-91)
Psalm 119:89-91 89 Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. 90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. 91 By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants. (ESV)
This stanza concentrates on the enduring nature of God’s word. The Psalmist praises God for the permanence of His word in the opening statement that: “Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.
Please turn to 1 Peter 1 (p.1014)
Regardless of what else may change in all the universe, God’s Word remains firm (1 Pe 1:25). Like the heavens, it continually attests God’s unfailing power and unchanging care (Ps 89:2) (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 383). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.).
This is a fact that brings us to faith in Him and establishes our relationship to each other:
1 Peter 1:22–25 22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. (ESV)
• The living and abiding word of God, refers to the whole of written Scripture (cf. v. 25) but especially the saving message of the gospel (Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (pp. 2406–2407). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.)
• As Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matt. 24:35). When we are engaged with God’s Word, we are engaged with that which lasts forever (Williams, D., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1989). Psalms 73–150 (Vol. 14, p. 365). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.).
Just as God is eternal, so is his revelation and as verse 90 mentions, is his faithfulness (see Ps. 89:1–2, and cf. Jesus’ words in Mark 13:31). There is constancy and order in all of creation, reflecting the “faithfulness” (ʾemûnāh) of the Lord (v. 90; cf. vv. 75, 86; 89:2; 104; 147:7–9). The order in creation reveals the love, care, and fidelity of the Lord. It was by God’s word that the heavens were established/created (Ps. 33:9), and it stands fast/remains as a testimony to that fact, as well as to his faithfulness in sustaining them. Creation is a witness to the power of God’s word, and generation after generation have a testimony, for nature confirms God’s steadfastness. The regularity of day and night witnesses to the constancy of the Lord. (VanGemeren, W. A. (1991). Psalms. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Vol. 5, p. 752). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.).