Read chapter in full: www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Psalms+119
Reading Psalm 119
- This is the longest psalm in the Bible. It contains a series of eight-line meditations based on each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The psalm celebrates a revelation which brings delight, because each fresh word from God reveals not just information but its author.
- Here are some characteristics of this psalm:
- Psalm 119 is written in the form of an acrostic poem. An acrostic is a series of lines or verses, which begin with or contain particular letters that, when taken in order, spell out a word or phrase. For example, GRACE – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense – is an example of acrostic. Acrostics are often used as tools to help with memorization.
- It is divided into 22 stanzas of 8 verses each.
- It uses 8 different words for God’s law. The psalm uses the full meaning of these 8 words to elaborate on The Word of God.
- Beginning with verse 17, it is written in the form of a prayer.
- The eight different Hebrew synonyms used throughout this psalm in referring to Scripture are:
- Law, a teaching, indicating a single command, the Books of Moses, or all of Scripture.
- Testimonies, vivid and unmistakable witnesses to man of God’s will.
- Way, the pattern of life required by God’s law.
- Precepts, detailed instructions given by God as guardian of his people.
- Statutes, binding laws engraved on a permanent record.
- Commandments, orders or decrees given by competent authority.
- Promise, a term often translated “word”, suggesting the trustworthiness of divine truth in any form.
- Rules (Ordinances/Judgment), judgments made by God, containing God’s judgments concerning man’s rights and duties.
- Together these words form a clear picture of the Scriptures. They are God’s authoritative word, in which we can have complete confidence, and through which we learn to trust God and to live a life characterized by godliness.
- These can be taken as twenty-two brief meditations, each launched with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and easy for memorization. They speak of the love revealed in words which unveil the author-God and serve as light to guide God’s children all his/her life.
- The psalmist who wrote this longest psalm sought refuge from his persecutors and found strength by meditating on the Word of God. This psalm is largely a collection or anthology of prayers and thoughts about God’s Word. C. S. Lewis compared it to a piece of embroidery, done stitch by stitch in the quiet hours for the love of the subject and for the delight in leisurely, disciplined craftsmanship.
Psalm 119-1 (vv1-16)
English Standard Version (ESV)
Aleph – The Blessing of Obeying God’s Word
1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
4 You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
8 I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!
Beth – The Cleansing Power of God’s Word
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
- In the first paragraph, the psalmist rejoiced in the fact that people who obey God’s word wholeheartedly enjoy God’s blessing. The word “blessed” also translates as “happy”. Re-read verses 1-2 again substituting ‘happy’ in place of ‘blessed’. Based on these verses, how can we pursue happiness?
- God’s word is not a set of rules and regulations to keep us pure and moral. It is God’s total wisdom for creation, protection and redemption. Our only proper response is to wholeheartedly obey and follow.
- To store up God’s word in our heart (v11) is not limited to the memorization of individual verses or even whole passages. It extends to a holistic living in a person’s devotion to the Lord.
- Memorize v11 and ask the Holy Spirit to help you live the verse out in your daily life. You may memorize it by learning this children song by Steve Green. www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOoeQoRHZVs
Prayer & Journaling:
Stay with God for a little longer. Continue to converse with God and listen to what he wants to tell me. Then write down any thought and/or prayer in the “Spiritual Journal” book.
Subtitle of each paragraph is from www.soniclight.com/constable/notes/htm/OT/Psalms/Psalms.htm