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Psalm 119

June 5, 2009

Psalm 119 has 22 sections all of which tell of the importance of God’s Word in our lives. If I would have been on the committee canonizing scripture I would have proposed pulling this Psalm out of the Book of Psalms and placing it before Genesis as a stand alone prologue to all of Scripture. Because of its’ length it doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

I have decided to comment on each section of this Psalm by highlighting the main thoughts of the writer as he was being inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Aleph:

Verses 1-4 proclaim God’s blessing on those who obey His Word. These blessings are documented in Leviticus 26. The psalmist acknowledges the importance of obeying God’s Word. He desires to be more faithful [vs. 5] and commits to being more faithful in obeying God [vs. 8]. He, like all of us, is inconsistent when it comes to obeying God. His disobedience has resulted in shame and he asks God to be patient with him as he learns more of God’s Will.

The more one learns about God, the more one praises God, and the more one obeys God. We must understand the big picture in order to comprehend how great and how righteous God is. The Word of God gives us such a picture. Read it, know it, and receive God’s blessing.

Beth:

The Word of God must become the most important thing in our lives if we are to become pure and not sin against God. We must read it, let the Holy Spirit teach us, and memorize it. It must become part of our being. The Word then becomes a possession of great wealth. We are not to ignore it but meditate upon it. It becomes our source of joy. Then obedience to God becomes natural. Life is delightful because we are living in the Light which dwells in us.

Gimel:

The psalmist loves God’s Word and uses it to guide his life. He expresses the desire to learn more. He asks for God’s goodness as he studies and obeys. He desires God’s blessing in place of God’s discipline. We all do. But the psalmist recognizes God’s blessing comes from studying, obeying, and meditating upon God’s Word. His direction will come from God, not man. Theses are wise words and worthy of application in our own lives.

Daleth:

The psalmist has been humbled by the study of God’s Word. He has confessed his ways and God has answered him granting him life. Therefore, he desires to learn even more of God’s decrees/precepts so he can meditate upon them. The psalmist is tired and sorrowful because of his sin involving deceit. He asks God for strength to resist and God’s forgiveness. The psalmist seeks truth from God’s law. God’s Word has set him free. He has been redeemed and seeks to obey God.

God’s Word humbles us too. It shows us the way of redemption by His grace. Therefore, we are free to obey Him and to meditate on His Word. The ways of the Lord are revealed to us though His Word.

He:

This section is in the form of a prayer. Actually much of Psalm 119 is or could be a prayer. The psalmist asks the Lord to teach him, to give him understanding, to direct him, and to turn his heart toward God’s Word and his eyes away from worthless things [that is to turn his heart toward heaven and his eyes away from worldly influence]. He asks God to fulfill His promise, to bless him for obeying and to take away his disgrace as a result of his disobedience. The psalmist expresses his love and longing for God’s Word and looks forward to eternal life as a result of God’s righteousness imputed to him. The psalmists love and longing for God’s Word will enable him to be obedient, to live with joy, and to be assured of his salvation.

God’s Word convicts us of our sin but it also promises us forgiveness and salvation through God’s grace and righteousness to all who believe and place their faith in Him. Therefore, let us rejoice and praise His Name.

Waw:

The psalmist continues his prayer asking to be assured of God’s love and salvation. He trusts God’s Word, his hope is in God’s Word, and he commits to obeying God’s Word. God’s Word is his guide in life. The assurance he receives through it of God’s love and salvation enables him to answer his enemy [Satan and/or arrogant and wicked men]. God’s Word frees him, giving him boldness to speak about God and God’s law before kings [those in power]. The psalmist loves God’s Word, is delighted with God’s Law, and meditates on them. The psalmist’s actions and purpose in life are founded on God’s Word.

We are to make God’s Word the foundation of our life and we too will be free to obey His Law and boldly proclaim the wisdom of God to our enemies and to those who rule over us. We too will be assured of God’s love and salvation. Joy will flood our lives.

Zayin:

This section continues on with the same theme as the previous section. The psalmist has hope and comfort because of God’s promises in His Word. The psalmist is steadfast and faithful to God’s Law even though he is mocked by those who are arrogant [see verse 42]. He is indignant because people are forsaking God’s Law. The psalmist has difficulty accepting, comprehending, or understanding this because God’s Law has become his personal song of the heart. He remembers the Name of God at night and remains committed to keeping and obeying God’s Law.

Heth:

Once again the psalmist continues on with the theme of obeying God’s Word. God is the most important person in his life. He has promised to obey God’s Word. He continues to seek God, being faithful to Him. He follows God with his heart and mind. He follows God with his strength [vs. 61]. He thanks God for His Word and enjoys the fellowship of other believers. He sees God’s love poured out on the earth through His grace and mercy. He desires to learn more about God. Thus, the psalmist proclaims to love the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. He is committed to obey God’s Word. It is his purpose and priority. The psalmist is concentrating on the basics. We would be wise to follow his example.

Teth:

According to God’s Word, God honors those who honor Him [I Sam. 2:30]. The psalmist is aware of this promise. The psalmist also implies that “doing good” involves knowledge and good judgment which is wisdom. So the psalmist is asking God for wisdom as did King Solomon. And God is more than happy and willing to give wisdom to those who ask Him. Evidently the psalmist was not wise in the past and disobeyed God’s Law but God turned him toward Himself and His Law. Now the psalmist obeys God’s Law. Either God afflicted/disciplined the psalmist or his affliction is because he turned to God and is being afflicted by arrogant men. All are possibilities when considering verses 67, 69, and 71. The psalmist is definitely afflicted now by the arrogant but he obeys God and does not waver. He now delights in God’s Law and considers himself blessed to have been afflicted because it turned him toward God and His decrees. He not only honors God but honors God’s Word. He is pursuing God’s wisdom.

When afflicted, turn to God and ask for wisdom. When given wisdom, God’s Word, obey it and do not waver. Humble your self before God and ignore the arrogant who think their wisdom is better than God’s Wisdom.

Yodh:

In many ways the psalmist is saying or repeating the same thing he prayed in Zayin and Heth but from a slightly different perspective. He begins by acknowledging God as Creator. God not only created the psalmist in the body but God formed his mind. So the psalmist asks God for understanding so that he has the ability to understand God and to know His will. Because his hope is found in God’s Word, he is willing to share it with others who seek God and thus, bring joy to their hearts. He understands and grasps God’s sovereignty over him and realizes God is behind his affliction because God loves him. He has confidence that God will comfort him in his affliction and be compassionate toward him because he reveres God’s Word. Again he asks God to intervene and put the arrogant and proud [those who refuse to humble themselves before God] to shame. He trusts God will give him an opportunity to instruct and encourage those who truly seek God. His desire and purpose is to obey God’s Word, to fear Him, and to worship Him so as to be counted worthy on the Day of the Lord’s Judgment.

It’s check-up time. What’s our desire, our purpose, our delight? It’s time we comprehend God’s sovereignty and purpose for our lives, that we seek to know Him and His Word, that we begin to understand and obey His Word, that we willingly share our knowledge of God with those who seek Him, and to express our confidence, faith, and hope in God’s grace. That is JOY.

Kaph:

The psalmist is exhausted and weak because of heavy persecution from the constant attacks of those who are arrogant. He looks forward to the day when it will end. He is anxious for God to exercise His sovereignty in righteous judgment of the arrogant. The psalmist looks forward to the Lord’s promised rest and peace for those who place their hope in God’s Word, who follow it’s decrees, who have not forsaken it’s precepts, and who obey it’s statutes. The psalmist is anxiously awaiting the Lord’s intervention. In the meantime the psalmist commits to God that he will remain faithful to His Word. He has been faithful and he will continue to be faithful. His faith and hope are in God and His Word. He lives assured of God’s love and salvation.

Life is never easy for we who choose to follow God’s Word. In general, the world we live in rejects the wisdom of God and prefers the wisdom of man. But peace and rest come from God and not from man. Be faithful. Trust in the Lord. Live assured of God’s love and salvation.

Lamedh:

The psalmist states some very important facts. Simply stated they are:

  1. God’s Word is eternal. [vs. 89]
  2. God is faithful always. [vs. 90]
  3. God’s Laws never change. [vs. 91]
  4. God’s Word reveals the source of our salvation. [vs. 93]
  5. God’s commandments are applicable to all situations in life. [vs. 96]

The psalmist continues to thank God and praise Him for His Word. God’s Word prevented him from perishing by showing him the way of salvation. God’s Word enables him to withstand his affliction by his enemies, those who are arrogant and believe their wisdom is greater that that of God’s Word. The psalmist owes his life to the truth recorded in God’s Word.

Therefore, we are to revere, cling to, and obey God’s Word. It has the power to save us from our sin and to empower us in times of persecution. We can count on God’s Word to show us truth. God’s Word never changes.

Mem:

The psalmist proclaims his love for God’s Word. It has become a constant and consistent part of his daily life. He realizes he has greater wisdom, insight, and understanding than his enemies, teachers, and elders. Such is possible only because he meditates upon and obeys God’s Word. The psalmist has learned how to avoid temptation and evil. His ways conform to God’s ways. God’s Word has and is having a positive impact on his life.

God’s Word will have a similar impact on our lives too. If we seek God, meditate upon His Word, and apply His precepts to our lives we too can avoid evil and temptation. We too can conform to God’s will. God’s Word speaks to us and teaches us His wisdom, gives us His insight, and blesses us with His understanding. Revere God’s Word; study it, memorize it, and never ever forsake it. Consider it to be God’s training manual for living and possessing the abundant life.

Nun:

The Psalmist continues with the theme acknowledging God’s word as his guide in life. He is committed to following and obeying God’s word. He has faith that God will honor his commitment and grant him eternal life. His desire is to praise the Lord. He recognizes that sometimes he takes control of his life but he never forgets God’s Word. It is his heritage now and brings joy to his heart. He will not waver, deviate, or stray from God’s Word. It is the foundation upon which he lives. The psalmist has learned to depend on God’s Word and uses it to guide his life.

Let us make the same commitment as the psalmist. God will be faithful to guide us and to keep us from stumbling. We can live assured of walking in God’s will giving thanksgiving and praise to God.

Samekh:

In this portion of Psalm 119 the psalmist restates his love for God and His Word. God is his refuge and shield. His hope is in God’s Word. His desire is to obey God, to be sustained by God, and to be upheld by God. His trust and hope is in God and the promises God has made in His Word. At the same time the psalmist has a healthy fear of God. God is omnipotent and omniscient, all-powerful and all-knowing. God is truth. He contrasts his attitude toward God with those who are double-minded, who are hypocrites, who say one thing and do anther. They say they love God’s Law but they do not keep God’s Law. They practice deceit and will be discarded by God. God’s Laws are to be obeyed.

God’s Word is truth. Love it and obey it. Let your life reflect it so that others might see its’ truth. God’s Word gives hope for the future, hope that a relationship with God on earth transfers to a continued relationship for all eternity. God protects us and sustains us on earth so that we can be delivered into His presence in heaven. God’s Laws are binding yet He is a God of love, mercy, forgiveness, grace, and hope. God is great. God is awesome. Come before Him and worship Him with fear and trembling.

Ayin:

In this section the psalmist asks to be lifted up and to be recognized because he loves God and His Word. He is doing what is righteous and just and therefore asks God to protect him form his oppressors and the proud. He continues to search God’s Word for information concerning the promised Messiah. He asks for understanding, knowledge, and discernment. He sees the people ignoring God and is anxious for God to take action, to intervene and thus prevent others from taking the wrong path.

Never stop searching God’s Word for His truth and never stop doing what is right according to His Word. God will protect you. He will give you knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and discernment. He will keep you from evil. Trust Him. Obey Him. Serve Him.

Pe:

The psalmist returns to the theme of God’s Word being his guide [see Nun]. He also introduces Mercy as one of God’s characteristics. God’s Word is a joy and a delight to the psalmist, a theme he has embraced throughout Psalm 119. Therefore, obedience comes naturally and understanding is easy. His focus is on knowing more about God. He asks God for mercy and direction while expressing his love for God. He desires to be redeemed from the power of sin and the oppression of sinners. He wants to be free to learn more about God and His precepts. And he grieves for those who refuse to appreciate the wisdom of God’s Word and disobey it. He recognizes he has been blessed and would like others to share in God’s blessing by reading and obeying God’s Word.

As I write this I can personally attest to the fact that God blesses those who seek Him and who seek to learn His precepts as recorded in the Word of God, the Bible. I am a witness to the fact that God is merciful. I am unworthy but in His mercy and grace He has seen fit to bless me and accept me as His child. I thank God for His plan of salvation. I trust you know Him personally too and can confirm that my witness and experience is true.

Tsadhe:

Here the psalmist introduces another of God’s characteristics, His Righteousness. God is righteous and His Word is righteous. We need not question for God’s Word is Truth. The life experience of the psalmist is proof to him that God is faithful to His Word. God’s Word is righteous and it is everlasting. It does not need changing or fine tuning as time passes as do man’s laws. It is perfect as it stands. One can trust God’s Word in times of distress and trouble regardless of your social standing.

Trust God’s Word to encourage you, provide hope, and give you joy. Trust God’s Word to instruct you in righteousness and give you understanding. Trust God for all your needs. Trust God with all your heart for He is righteous. Such is the testimony of the psalmist in this section.

Qoph:

The psalmist now focuses on calling the Lord. He does so in earnest with all his heart and energy. He calls the Lord day and night for He is near. The psalmist desires communication and fellowship with God. It is the same as if we are calling a friend and waiting to hear back. The psalmist repeats his prior commitments to the Lord to obey God’s decrees, to keep His statues, and to meditate on God’s promises. His hope is in God’s Word. God has promised to preserve those who truly follow Him. The wicked are just as near as God but they don’t have the friendship with God that the psalmist has. The wicked pass away but God, His promises and His statutes last forever.

We are to make fellowship with God our purpose and priority if we want to live life free of anxiety and without a feeling of helplessness. God is near. He wants to love us, to encourage us, to care for us, to protect us, to guide us, and to assure us. He is faithful and will keep His promises. So call on the Lord night and day. As we wait on the Lord we will see Him working in our lives. Let us trust God in all things and for all things.

Resh:

Now that the psalmist has called on the Lord and knows He is near [previous section], he begins with his requests. He asks to be delivered from suffering, defended for his godly lifestyle, and to be shielded from persecution. He asks that his life be preserved, that he be delivered and redeemed. He trusts God for his salvation. This portion of Psalm 119 deals with his life on earth and the life to come for those who believe; those who honor God’s Word. The psalmist thanks the Lord for His compassion. He loves God’s Word and is faithful in following it. He is disappointed with those who ignore God and His Word. The psalmist closes once again acknowledging the eternal and everlasting Word of God.

Devotion, faithfulness, steadfastness, and commitment are important attributes for the believer. God is faithful and we are to be like Him. God’s promises never change. Therefore, we are assured of being delivered, being redeemed, and receiving salvation when we earnestly seek God and obey His Word. Love God and He promises to preserve our lives. Obey God and He promises to bless us, to deliver us from those who would do us harm. God’s Word is true. God’s ways are righteous. God is loving and compassionate. God is love.

Sin and Shin:

Men in power persecute the psalmist. They practice falsehood. But the psalmist remains faithful. His life is founded on God’s Word. He respects it, honors it, reveres it, and trembles because it is Truth. He loves it because it is Righteous. It gives him peace. He has chosen to place his trust in God for his salvation. He has committed to be faithful and obedient to God. God knows him, knows all his ways, and knows his heart.

This psalm is coming to a close and the psalmist is emphasizing his trust in the Lord and His Word. God’s Word is his source of peace and confidence. Follow the psalmist’s example and we too will live in peace assured of God’s care and protection, assured of our salvation, and assured that God is righteous and holy.

Taw:

These last four sections seem to go together and for sure are closely related. Of course the whole psalm is about the importance of God’s Word in the life of a believer but these four seem to complete the psalmist’s final thoughts. He has come before the Lord to ask for understanding [wisdom and knowledge] concerning the supplications he has presented in Resh and is presenting now in Taw. Not only does he seek deliverance from his enemies and sin but he desires to be filled with praise to God, to have greater knowledge about God, and to tell others about God. He needs God’s help to do this. He needs more days on earth to fulfill this. He has not lived a sinless or perfect life but his desire is to finish life well, pleasing God and obeying God’s commandments prior to the finishing of his salvation.

The psalmist completes this psalm restating his desire to obey God and His Word. He wants to finish life known as a faithful follower and servant of God. This is not always easy to do but it is right. Ask God for help and never forget what He says. Call upon Him and praise His Holy Name. God loves us and will sustain us as He has promised. We will live assured and in fellowship with God when we follow this psalmist’s example and his devotion to God. Doing so will enable us to live with freedom and liberty, to live assured and with confidence, and to live in faith and hope knowing God loves and has redeemed us to live in His presence forever.

Amen!

In conclusion, it has been said that it is of great benefit to one’s faith if we just simply read one psalm a day and meditate on it. That is true. But let me offer another application. This Psalm 119 has 22 parts. Each month has 20-22 work days [Mon.-Fri.]. I suggest you have a Bible at your work station and that you read one of these sections before you start each work day. On the last day alternate between sections 20, 21, and 22. I guarantee you will be blessed. No, God guarantees He will bless you.

Read God’s Word.

Listen to God’s Word.

Meditate on God’s Word.

Accept God’s Word.

Love God’s Word.

Obey God’s Word.

Enjoy God’s Word.

Live God’s Word.

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