I am currently slowly reading through the Psalms. Today as I read from Psalm 119, I realized that I don’t know what the word “testimonies” meant as used in the Old Testiment. How does one “keep His testimonies” (vs 2)? How do I “delight in the way of Your testimonies” (vs 14)? How do I “incline my heart to your testimonies” (vs 36)? I realized that after 50 years of reading the Psalms, I never dug into that word.
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology says this:
“The biblical concept of testimony or witness is closely allied with the conventional Old Testament legal sense of testimony given in a court of law.
“[the validity of a testimony] consists in certifiable, objective facts. In both Testaments, it appears as the primary standard for establishing and testing truth claims.”
So His testimonies are not just the things God has said and done, they are those things that God has said and done that are verifiable and objective. Think of God’s testimonies as those things He has said under oath.
If I think of His testimonies as certifiable, objective revelations and messages from God, it causes me to read these phrases in the Psalm’s differently.
Keeping His testimonies means to hold those certifiable truths as plumb lines for my life.
Delighting in His testimonies means to delight in those certifiable revelations from God.
Inclining my heart to His testimonies means to lean into these objective revelations from God.
I look forward to continue reading the Psalms with this new definition in mind.