TETH ~ Teach me Good Judgment, especially when times are hard!

65 You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, according to your word.

66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. 

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. 

68 You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. 

69 The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; 

70 their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law. 

71 it is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. 

72 The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. 

Psalm 119:65-72

In this passage, the Psalmist, David is recognizing what he has learned about God and from God from the afflictions he has been through. He starts out recognizing that God is good and he deals well with us. He deals well with us and He loves us because of who He is, not because of who we are. David knows that God has dealt well with him even when David did not do everything right. Aren’t we grateful that God deals well with us according to His word rather than dealing with us according to who we are? I know I am! As I have said before I recognize what a wretched woman I would be if not for the grace of God on my life! 

David also recognizes that what he has learned from his afflictions is what brought him back into fellowship with God. In verse 67 he states “before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.” God can and will many times use afflictions from the choices we have made to bring us back into fellowship with him. I know He has done that for me in the past. I have made choices that were not God honoring and were not the best choices I could have made. Along with those choices usually come consequences, but those consequences also usually are what prompts me to turn my heart back to the One who can help me get out of those consequences. I also know that the harder it is to get out of the consequences the deeper the lesson I receive. David recognizes here that he had gone astray, he was afflicted and now he was turning back to God. And I believe verse 68 is his cry to learn from God by hearing from here on. For me, I know that when I am going through a tough time and I am praying for deliverance from God, I also start praying for God to go ahead and teach me what it is he wants me to learn from whatever trial or hardship I am going through. That way, I will have learned the lesson and hopefully in the future, He can teach me from His word or help my mind to recount what I have learned in the past so that I won’t have to do a do-over of that particular hardship. 

The next lesson is a hard one to learn here too. David had encountered people who wanted him to fail. Regardless of what he may have learned and where his heart may be at the time of this writing, there were still people who were slandering and smearing his name (v. 69 & 70) Maybe the people who wanted to smear David, kept bringing up the past, maybe they were having a hard time accepting that David had asked for forgiveness from God and/or anyone else he needed to ask forgiveness from and they were just waiting for him to fall apart again. But David had made a decision that his whole heart was in with God. He was delighting in what he had learned and in what he was learning from the scriptures (law). David knew that he couldn’t do anything about what others were going to say about him, he just had to keep his focus on God. 

And because of the way God had brought him through, and because of the things he had learned David recognized that walking with God was far better than being wealthy. Walking with God is far better than any silver or gold or houses or cars or any of the wealth that the world has to offer. You can keep all the wealth of the world, just give me Jesus! 

HETH ~ The Earth is Filled with your love ~ My Heart Overflows! 

57 The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep your words. 

58 I entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. 

59 When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies; 

60 I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments. 

61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget your law. 

62 At midnight I rise to praise you, because of your righteous rules. 

63 I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts. 

64 The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes! 

Psalm 119:57-64

I think this passage shows the Psalmist, David in a good place with God. He says the LORD is my portion. That’s another way of saying God, you are all I need. David is recognizing that all the other accomplishments of his life, anything he would have acquired, the wars he won, the giants he fought, the accolades he received, all of that would mean nothing without God. And because of his gratefulness, he was making a promise to keep God’s words. He was begging favor from God, but he is sure to add that the favor and grace he requests is not because of anything he has done but according to God’s promise. Lord have mercy, we all need to realize deep down that all the good that happens to us in life, the love, grace and mercy we receive from the Lord, is not because of anything we have done or can do, but it is because of who God is. We couldn’t keep God’s words without His help anyway. But we also need to keep in mind that the good that we receive from God is because of who He is. 

I also note that while David is planning to keep God’s words, he also recognizes that he must keep turning back. David has big plans to walk with God. But he says “when I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies.” This is his way of recognizing that when he tries to go it alone, he needs to remember and turn back. I know for me this is true. If left on my own I know what a wretched woman I can be. This is why I study, this is why I get up and have a quiet time with the Lord. So that I can keep my feet walking in the right direction. Or as right a direction as is possible for me on any given day! I want to be like David and promise to keep all of God’s commandments. But it takes an intentional turning day in and day out. 

In verse 61 David is recognizing that there are people who are against him and that he must keep the law before him so as to handle those people rightly. And in verse 62 David is praising God for his rules. I think David is praising God for keeping his feet steady and helping him to walk. David is in a good place here. He recognizes God for who He is and he recognizing himself for who he is. He knows that without God he would be nowhere and his heart is overflowing with gratitude. 

I love the way that David wraps up this passage too. He takes note that having friends who are like minded, “those who keep your precepts” is important and then he recognizes that he sees God’s love everywhere. This may be my favorite passage in Psalm 119 so far. I love that God is there for us when things are bad. But I also truly love to recognize God is there for me when things are good too. I know that God is there for us in the hard times. I like to think it makes Him smile when we realize He is there for us in the good times too. 

Thank you LORD, for your grace, thank you for your mercy, thank you for your LOVE. The whole earth is full of your steadfast love!  Praise You Lord! 

ZAYIN ~ The Power of God’s Word to Comfort and Strengthen

49 Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. 

50 This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. 

51 The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law. 

52 When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O LORD. 

53 Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law. 

54 Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning. 

55 I remember your name in the night, O LORD, and keep your law. 

56 This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts. 

Psalm 119:49-56

The Psalmist, David is pointing out here that he is putting his hope in the Word of God. When he says “remember your word to your servant” it’s not that he thinks God will forget his words but that he is placing his faith in the word of God. He has found hope in the scriptures. He is in essence praying scripture back to God. This is his way of stating the promises that he has found in scripture back to God. He finds comfort in the promises of God that speak to what is going on in his life at the time. That is one reason that studying scripture is so important. I have prayed many things, and gotten a no from God, that did not line up with scripture. But the things that I pray that line up with scripture, with a promise from God, they always come to pass in time. I think David is able to make this request of God too, because he has a history with God already. He is comforted in his affliction because he has already seen God act in accordance with scripture and His promises. 

David also apparently wrote this at a time when he had people coming against him. I love studying the life of David because he had good times, and he had bad times. He had times when he was walking with God, hand in hand it seems and he had times where he walked away and wasn’t following God, and he sinned. But he always returned to God. When you study this man, David, the one who is called a man after God’s own heart, you realize how very “real” he was. He didn’t do everything right, in fact there was quite a lot that he got wrong yet he knew where to come home to. In this passage he points out that there are people who have come against him yet he knows where to place his hope and where to find his strength and confidence. He is placing his hope in the promises of God from scripture and I think, maybe from his own journey that he has walked with God and found Him faithful. The longer you walk with God your faith journey is written and your confidence and your faith is strengthened. 

These last 3 verses of this passage spoke volumes to me. I love verse 54. 

“Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.” 

Often times I have thought of sojourning as wandering maybe even aimlessly. But when I look up the word sojourn it simply means to stay as a temporary resident. Well, we are sojourning through this world aren’t we? We are temporary residents on planet earth. So our sojourning could simply mean our day to day. I loved this verse because of the many times I have used worship music to keep me grounded in life. In some really hard times and in some good times. Life is just plain hard sometime and I find that when it gets particularly hard for me, that if I turn on worship music in my background of my day that it gives me strength and confidence to make it through. It keeps my mind focused on God rather than on my struggles that are before me. 

I also love how David mentions he is remembering God’s name in the night. I think David was waking up in the middle of the night and praying over his struggles. I have certainly been there too. I have mentioned before I have dealt with a little anxiety over the last few years and it always seems to hit me hardest in the middle of the night and I have trouble sleeping. But I find that if I go to my Bible or if I listen to worship music then the anxiety seems to subside and I am able to go back to sleep. 

And then David recognizes that he has been blessed by keeping God’s precepts. I wonder if David is realizing the blessing that he has received from having a closer relationship with God because of the focus he has placed on God through his hard times. I know for me that is true. I have had a few tough years, and really I think we can all say that about the last two can’t we? But one thing I have come to realize is that even though I would not want to re-live some of the things that have happened the last few years, my relationship with my God is on a different plane than ever before. And because of that I am blessed. 

WAW ~ Your Word allows me to walk in freedom! 

(Today I am using the NIV instead of the ESV just because I like the language of it. The meaning is the same, it’s just a bit different wording.)

41 May your unfailing love come to me, LORD, your salvation, according to your promise; 

42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word. 

43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. 

44 I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. 

45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. 

46 I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, 

47 for I delight in your commands because I love them. 

48 I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees. 

Psalm 119:41-48

The world would have us to believe that being a Christian and following the Lord is no fun and that it is confining. I beg to differ. The things that the world entices as “fun” can be and are a trap for many people. The more you engage in the “fun” of the world the more you dive down a slippery slope that can lead to heartache, to despair and to hard times. Whereas when you walk in the freedom that God has for you, when you live in the unfailing love of the Lord, and you are assured of your salvation, you have no need for the slippery slope. You are walking with sure footing when you know His word to answer the arguments that may come against you. The Psalmist, David knew this. He was acknowledging that love and salvation came to him through God’s word. Some translations say mercies instead of love. Aren’t we all in need of the mercies of God? Knowing God’s Word is making it alive in your life. I can read all the self help books that you give me, I can even begin to put some of what I read into practice in my life, but there is nothing that comes to life in me like the Word of God. 

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

David is asking of the Lord to not take His Word from him. David knows that his hope rests in God’s Word and in the mercies, love and the salvation that he gets from knowing God’s word. This also gives David the confidence to make some “I will” statements. 

I will always obey your law. 

I will walk about in freedom. 

I will speak of your statutes, and not be ashamed.

David wanted to know God’s laws and asked God to keep it in him, so that he could always obey God’s laws. David knew that knowing God’s word would give him freedom to walk in and he also knew that being able to recite God’s word would give him the boldness he needed to not be ashamed of God’s word. I love that the next verse says “I delight in your commands because I love them.” 

David had studied enough and had let the work of God’s word work in him enough that he loved God’s word. He took delight in it. I want my love for God’s word to do it’s work in me. I want to be bold so as never to be ashamed of it. I want to walk in the freedom of knowing His word so well that I can feel Him walking with me in it. I want to know his unfailing love, mercies and salvation to the depths of my being so that I can obey His word. I don’t want the “freedom” the world gives. I want the freedom to walk about with Him. 

HE ~ Help me to follow you Lord! 

33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. 

34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. 

35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. 

36 Incline my heart to your testimonies and not to selfish gain! 

37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. 

38 Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared. 

39 Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good. 

40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life! 

Psalm 119:33-40

As I was studying this passage I kept being reminded of the verse in Mark. 

“Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’” Mark 9:24

I love that verse because of the reality of it. The father had brought his child to Jesus to be healed and Jesus had asked him do you believe and the father stated “I believe, help my unbelief.” How many times have I had to pray that same thing? How many times have you? 

Lord, I believe you are Lord over my finances and you will give me what I need, help my unbelief. 

Lord, I believe in your healing, help my unbelief.

Lord, I believe you will deliver my loved one from the grip of addiction, help my unbelief. 

Lord, I believe you will restore my family, help my unbelief. 

Lord, I believe in ______________ (fill in your blank), help my unbelief. 

This passage in Psalm 119 is a prayer, a crying out to God for David to understand and for help to follow, and it is a commitment to do so. I don’t think this is a prayer that David prayed once and put it away. (Of course, I have no way of knowing that.) But to me it reads as something that you might want to pray daily. The first four verses start with words that in a way give off an urgency to God. 

Teach me

Give me understanding 

Lead me 

Incline my heart 

David is asking God to show him the way that God wants him to live. He wants to know the Word so that he can know the way. And he doesn’t want to just read the Word and go about his life. He is asking the Lord for help in living it out. 

In verse 36 he starts with “incline my heart to your testimonies”, he not only is asking God to help him understand the Word, he is asking God to help him to fall in love with the Word. “And not to selfish gain!” He wants to have a pure motive in doing so. In verse 37 he asks God to help him to turn away from the things that don’t matter and to help him to desire the things that do matter. 

I wonder how many worthless things do I get caught up in? Oh way too many I am sure than I want to readily admit out loud. How often do I scroll things that don’t matter? How often do I get caught up in talk that doesn’t matter? What am I spending my energies on, that doesn’t matter? David is recognizing that there are things in his life that don’t matter but he is asking the Lord to help him to turn away from those things and to turn to His word. 

The last verse of this passage is a full circle plea from David for the Lord to give him revival. David is saying I love your word and it is my path to righteousness. He recognized that it is impossible to stay on the path without a love for God’s word, it was David’s path to righteousness and it is our path to righteousness as well. 

DALETH – Keep me from deceitful ways! 

25 My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! 

26 When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes! 

27 Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. 

28 My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! 

29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law! 

30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me. 

31 I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; let me not be put to shame! 

32 I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart! 

Psalm 119:25-32

This passage shows David in a low place. When he says “My soul clings to the dust” it’s his way of saying my soul feels dead. And with the language that follows it appears that he feels dead inside because of his own sin. But this passage also shows a repentant heart that is coming alive by clinging to God and His word. David pleads with God to “give him life according to His word.” 

In verse 26 David repents and he receives teaching from the scriptures. Some versions say “I have declared my ways and You answered me”. The Passion Translation says “I’ve poured out my life before you, and you’ve always been there for me.” The ways this passage is translated lead us to see that David held nothing back when it came to God. He truly had a repentant heart with God. He poured his heart out, he didn’t sugar coat it and come up with reasons and excuses for sins he had committed. He held nothing back. And why would he? Why do we sometimes hold back and still try to make excuses for things that we do that we know are sin? God already knows, so why not pour it out to him. If we truly want heart change that is the only way to it. To be honest with ourselves and honest with God and to pour it all out and then ask God to teach us, to make us understand. David is honest with his repentant heart to God. Whatever sin he was writing about, and David had many, he had come to God to pour it out, to admit that he felt dead inside and that it was of his own doing and that his heart was heavy because of it. He knew the only source for strength and to life was through God and that he would find God when he turned to God’s word! 

This passage also reminds me of a passage in Romans where Paul is saying I don’t do what I want to do and I do what I do not want to do. 

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”  Romans 7:15-17

The bottom line is the sinful nature is still within us all, and it will be with us until we go home to glory! Now I do believe that the older I get the things that surface in my sinful nature tend to have changed over time. There are things I struggled with in my younger years that I don’t feel the struggle as much now that I’m older and maybe a little wiser. But that does not mean the struggle is not there for something else that rears its ugly head in my nature. David recognized in this Psalm and I believe Paul was recognizing in his passage in Romans that those struggles are there but the way to overcome them is through studying scripture and staying in the Word. David asked God to “strengthen me according to your word!” To “graciously teach me your law.” 

David also recognized that turning away from sin and turning to God was a choice. In verses 30 – 32 David is showing that he was intentional about wanting to turn from his sin. He didn’t just come and lay it all down and then go back to the same old, same old. He poured it out, he asked God to teach him and then he made a choice that he wanted his ways to be different. David couldn’t conquer every sin within him in his human flesh any more than we can conquer every sin within our human flesh. But I believe because of the change of the tone of this passage as you read it, that he was conquering the one he was pouring out to the Lord. David made a choice. He chose the way of faithfulness, he chose to learn what was in the scriptures. He asked the Lord’s help “O Lord, let me not be put to shame” and he chose to run toward God because he knew that is what would revive his dead soul and “enlarge his heart”. 

“Men do not drop into the right way by chance; they must choose it, and continue to choose it, or they will soon wander from it.” Spurgeon

This is all men (and women) we don’t just fall into following God and doing what is right by chance. We must choose to follow Him and continue to choose Him every day, or we will soon wander away. I know that in my own life, when I am not in the word daily, or even when I am but I am reading and putting it aside without studying and trying to chew on it a little and letting it change me, that I will find those things in my ugly sinful nature rearing their head more and more and I find I do not do what I want and I do the very thing that I do not want. But today I’m going to choose to run in the way of His commandments. In His way so as to enlarge my heart! I pray you will too. 

GIMEL – Give me Insight, open my eyes to learn your Law. 

17 Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word. 

18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. 

19 I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me! 

20 My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times. 

21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments. 

22 Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies. 

23 Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes. 

24 Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. 

Psalm 119:17-24

Gimel is the third letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The word Gimel in Hebrew is derived from the word gemul, which in Hebrew can mean both reward and punishment. In this passage the Psalmist, for our argument’s sake, David is asking the Lord for spiritual blessings, for reward. The first line “deal bountifully with your servant” is David asking for God to bless Him but He is also recognizing “with your servant” that he comes humbly before God while asking. He comes boldly to God, yet recognizing his place. But his motive for asking is to “live and keep your word.” He asks in verse 18 for understanding of the scriptures. While yesterday we focused on memorizing and reading and hiding God’s word in our hearts. The focus of this passage is understanding so that we can walk in it. 

I love the next verse where David says “I am a sojourner on the earth.” Aren’t we all? When we become Christians and as we study God’s word it becomes more and more evident that this world is not our home. Do you ever feel out of place, maybe in your work place or in your school. For that matter, you can walk into Wal Mart these days and wonder do I even belong here? Or is that just me? I find that the older I get and/or the more I walk with Him, the more I feel less at home on earth. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean I am ready to check out today, I mean I want to watch my grandchildren grow up and I want to see my people living out their purpose on earth, all the while I want to live out mine. But I also know that if and when the Lord does decide to take me home I will be more at home there than I am here. David recognized this, that he felt a little out of place if you will, and he was asking God for more understanding of the scriptures so that he could feel the spiritual blessing of understanding. He wanted to understand so that he would know how God wanted him to live. As the next four verses will show, it appears that David was going through some trials. He wanted to LIVE his life, not just to survive but to THRIVE in his spiritual life even in the midst of what may have been going on when he penned this passage. 

These next four verses made me think of Job. David is apparently in a season of life where he feels that he has people plotting against him. I love studying the life of David because he went through many seasons in his life. He knew times when people revered him and times when people scorned him. He sinned and repented and he worshipped God in good times and in bad times. Our friend Job, was a pretty good guy who did nothing to deserve the hardships that were placed on him and then his friends sat around trying to get him to admit what he had done wrong and he honestly did not have anything to repent of that would have caused him to lose everything. He knew scorn and contempt. David is saying I know scorn and contempt, yet I want to keep my focus on God’s word. Have you ever been there? Where you feel like you may be being scorned, ridiculed if you will, because of your love for the scriptures? I think this is where understanding of the scriptures is most important. For one thing, when I feel scorned or ridiculed for my beliefs, if I am being honest when I think of what Jesus endured on the cross I feel pretty silly for even letting it bother me. I want to understand the scriptures more and more so that I can put things in perspective. I find that when I am staying in the Word like I should that I don’t let the things bother me that might have when I am not. It gives a perspective to every day life so that I can thrive in my everyday rather than to feel I am just surviving. I pray for spiritual understanding of what God is teaching us. I pray it for me and I pray it for you too. 

BETH – Become pure – Recount God’s Word with your Mouth. 

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. 

Psalm 119:9-16

I have to admit to you here that I am really not very good at memorizing scripture. I want to be, but even when I will decide I am going to memorize a verse or a passage of scripture, I fail at it miserably. I just have a hard time remembering the scripture in relation to its address if you will. I do know verses that I have studied in my heart enough for the Holy Spirit to bring them to my mind. But for the life of me, I rarely can call to mind immediately where it is in scripture. I am getting a little better in that I can narrow it down. But most of the time I still have to go to my search in my Bible app to find exactly where it is. That is, except for the verses I memorized in my younger years. Those, I can usually recite the verse and the reference. 

The Psalmist starts this passage out with a question. “How can a young man keep his way pure? It is not known for certain that David was the author of this Psalm, but many scholars believe he was. I read also, that this Psalm may not have been written in one sitting but may have been pieced together with several different writings. Let’s just say if it was David, his question most likely was about himself. He was asking “how can I keep myself pure?” And he answered himself too ~ “By guarding it according to your Word.” David knew the importance of knowing the scriptures. This is no different for us. The best way for anyone to know the path that God will have for us is to study the scriptures and yes, to memorize them. 

For years I loved reading devotionals and books about the Bible more than I loved reading the Bible. I hate to say that but it’s true. I had a hard time understanding the words I was reading. But the more I study scripture the more I fall in love with scripture. I came to realize over time the importance of reading scripture and praying for understanding. After all; 

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;” Psalm 19:7

This is also why I love to study with different translations that are simpler for my feeble brain to understand, like The Passion Translation, The Message and the New Living Translation. These translations are written in a simpler language for understanding. Now I always use an ESV, NIV or NKJV to go along side of it too, as I believe those translations to be more in line with the original Hebrew, (and there are many more, these are just my favorites). But I believe using those written in simpler languages are good tools to gain understanding of the passage. I also simply enjoy the poetic language that they come up with. 

David, (or the author of this Psalm) had come to an understanding that the way to seek God and to stay on track was to study scripture. People will often be surprised at me getting up as early as I do to study and to write. But the truth is I do it for my own self preservation. I have learned that I am a better person to deal with as the day goes on if I start my day with the Lord and study His word before other humans have to come into contact with me. I also find that when I stay in the word and as I study, more scripture will come to my mind as I encounter various things throughout my day. I may not be good at remembering the address of all my favorite passages but the more I study the more I can recount the words and that is what matters most. That’s the hiding it in my heart, and as I hide it in my heart, maybe I will handle the hard things of my day more in line with the way Jesus would have me to. 

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Knowing scripture is as relevant to us as it was to David all those thousand years ago. Just as this passage says it is living and active, it pierces my soul when I am wrong and helps me to discern my thoughts and intentions. And the more I study scripture the more I love scripture. I love how David points out that he delights in the testimonies and statutes of God’s word. If you, like me have a hard time understanding God’s word, pray for understanding. Pull other translations or a commentary to gain understanding. I promise you the more you study, the more you will delight and the more you delight in God’s word the more you will be guarding your heart according to His word. 

ALEPH – The blessedness of walking in God’s law and the desire to do so. 

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! 

Psalm 119: 1-8

At first glance this passage can seems somewhat legalistic in a way. But the more I study it, the more I see it as an observation and a prayer by the Psalmist. The Psalmist is stating that he has seen that those who walk in the ways of the Lord, who lead a blameless life are the happiest people. He is not coming at this from a legalistic standpoint as much as he is saying that seeking God is the only true way to happiness. The world would love for us to think otherwise wouldn’t it? Many people think that walking in the ways of God is a boring life and that there is no fun in it. But truly walking with God is really the only way to true joy. 

In the first verse the Psalmist mentions “the law of the Lord”. His reference here is to the scriptures. He is saying that when you know the scriptures and you keep the scriptures by seeking God with your whole heart is the way to walk in the way of the Lord. 

In verse 5, the Psalmist turns more from a declaration or observation of the blessedness of walking with the Lord to a prayer. “Oh that my ways …” He recognizes when he says this that it is not of his own doing that he will be able to walk in the ways of the Lord, but that it is the work that God is doing in his life. This is taking what he has learned in the scriptures from a head knowledge to a heart knowledge. You see we can know the scriptures, we could know all that there is to know about God’s word yet still we could be walking on our own and not letting it change us. 

It’s just like it says in the book of James ~ 

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

As we learn the scriptures are we letting what we learn change us? Or are we clinging to our old habits and die hard ways saying “this is the way God made me”? I love verse 7 and 8 and reading them in The Passion Translation put them more plainly for me. 

“I will give my thanks to you from a heart of love and truth. And every time I learn more of your righteous judgments, I will be faithful to all that your Word reveals – so don’t ever give upon me!” Psalm 119:7-8 (TPT)

This christian walk is not something we will ever fully arrive at. But what I think I hear the Psalmist saying is this, as we learn more of God’s word, as we study the scriptures with our heart being guided to love and truth that we will be more faithful to what we learn. I love the way TPT ends it with “so don’t ever give up on me!” Isn’t that the cry of all of our hearts? We would love to walk blameless with Him every day but that will not happen as long as we are walking in our human flesh. But we can walk toward that goal. We can learn the scriptures and walk in what we learned today. And we pray when we mess up, “don’t ever give up on me!” 

Psalm 119 – The Greatness and Glory of God’s Word

Today I wanted to give an overview of where we will be headed over the next few weeks. I have often wanted to study this Psalm so I think the time is now to do so. But today I wanted to give a little overview of it. This Psalm is the longest chapter in the Bible. It is arranged in an acrostic pattern. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet and this Psalm contains 22 sections of 8 verses each. Each of the sections is given a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and each line in that section begins with that letter. This Psalm is all about glorifying God and His word. Scripture is mentioned in at least 171 of the 176 verses. 

Several great scholars of the past have studied this Psalm and have written great works on it. I will not be able to study those great works in the essence of time, but I will read some commentary and will look at it in various translations. I have read through this Psalm many times, but usually in one sitting. I think that breaking it down will give us, or at least me a greater understanding of it. I figure if the great scholars of the past studied it, it is definitely worth my time to spend at least a little time on it, right? 

I love how this Psalm will point us to scripture, to God’s word over and over. I love God’s word and it is always my wish and my desire and my goal to understand it more and more. I pray that as I study this Psalm, that God will give me, will give us more love for his written word. After all, that is where we will always find Him. Oh I believe we can find Him in creation. I believe we can find Him at times in words spoken over us by pastors, teachers and sometimes friends. I believe we can find Him in the eyes of our loved ones. But I KNOW we can always find Him in the pages of scripture. After all ~ 

“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Today is an invitation to study along with me. I will be using different versions of the Bible, mainly the ESV, NIV, NKJV, TPT, MSG and NLT. I will be reading some commentary out of my Blue Letter Bible app and I am also using a YouVersion devotional to get understanding. If you choose to study along, I would be so honored. Today, I will sit and read Psalm 119 in its entirety and then over the next few weeks we will take 1 section at a time. I will study and I will share my thoughts and I would love for you to share your thoughts with me. Please remember, I am no scholar, I am not a theologian of any sort, I am just a simple minded woman who loves God, loves His word and Jesus is the absolute Love of my Life! He is my very best friend and I pray I spend the rest of my days learning more and more about Him. I pray my life points others to Jesus. But I also know, I am fallible and I mess up daily, but I beg His forgiveness and yours too and I pray that tomorrow I will do better. Until tomorrow ~