Psalms has been described by some as God speaking to his people and the people speaking to God. Psalms are one of the most read books of the Bible. They are quoted often in the New Testament writings and are a prominent part of church liturgy often quoted in many prayers and doctrinal statements. There are 150 psalms and they are divided into five books. We are going to go to Book 5 which includes Psalms 107 through 150. As the title above indicates we are going right to the center of the Bible. It has been said that Psalm 119 is at the very center of the Bible. There are those who dispute this, believing Psalm 118 to be that point. There is one fact about Psalm 119 that is undeniable, it is the longest psalm, 176 verses, nearly double the length of the longest psalm in the whole book and also we have to mention its curious composition. I wanted to be sure I got this right so here is an excerpt from John Gill’s commentary.
“It consists of twenty two parts, according to the number of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet; the names of which letters stand between each part; and every part consists of eight verses, all of which begin with the same letter: thus, for instance, the first eight verses begin with the letter א, “aleph”, and the second eight verses begin with the letter ב, “beth”, and so on throughout; hence the *Masorah calls this psalm the Great Alphabet. (*the collection of information and comment on the text of the traditional Hebrew Bible by the Masoretes. • the Masoretic text of the Bible.) There are many reasons for this, a couple being to gain attention and the other being to help the memorizing of this psalm. Most all of the verses has something concerning the word of God as to precepts and ordinances and there are the use of words that convey that point; laws, statutes, judgements and testimonies to name a few. There is no mention of tabernacle worship or rites and ceremonies, leaving the impression that the whole design is to show the passion the psalmist had for the word of God, and to stir up the same in others. For this week we will look at the First Part verses 1-8.Psalm 119
Psalm 119 The Glories of God’s Law
1 Happy are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord.
These are those who seek the straight and narrow way to salvation and eternal life. They walk in faith while others stumble, become prisoners of sin and turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the word of God. They value the commandants and ordinances of their God. They will be influenced by the love of God and strive to live to their God given ability to persevere enabled by His presence in their lives.
2 Happy are those who keep his decrees,
who seek him with their whole heart,
We should hold fast the faithful word of the Gospel, let no circumstances take it from us. We should be desirous of observing the law of God, obeying the ordinances of the Gospel, with love and faithfulness; doing so by prayer and supplication, with a true heart, and in sincerity seeking to know more of him. We must seek earnestly our God and Christ, his kingdom and righteousness and the mercy and grace of his love for us. We must do so with our whole heart and mind.
3 who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways.
None of us are free of sin or from the acts of sin that surround us each day. We will make mistakes from but that is not our desire or goal. We are not corrupt by nature and seek to walk in the ways of God and Christ. It is here we find good and happy people.
4 You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
We sometimes overlook the fact that God did not ask this of us, he commanded that it be done. We should hold in high regard the precepts, commandments, statutes, and judgments of God because they were commanded by him. Repeat, there is no option or other choice.(Deuteronomy 6: 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.)
5 O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
The steps of those of the faith are directed by the Lord. Man’s mind, affections, and direction are the results of the guidance of the Spirit and grace of God. A good man knows that he alone cannot keep the statutes and remains steadfast in the way with God and Christ in his life. (Jeremiah 10:23I know, O Lord, that the way of human beings is not in their control, that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps.)
6 Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I shall no longer be afraid of God, instead there shall be a wondrous awe and need to speak of Him in the presence of others. I shall not fear His coming or the judgement, for I have salvation through Him. This promise is mine and I shall guard it by steadfastly continuing in the commandments not merely in the theory, but in the practice and experience of them, always seeking God’s will in my life.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous ordinances.
Psalm 9: 1-2
1 I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. 2 I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
We can add very little to these verses from Psalm 9. We should note Verse 7 mirrors verse 6 to some degree. Here in verse 7 there is notice of the need to learn the precepts, to become proficient in them and to continue to utter forth the most sincere praise and thankfulness.
We finish this first section in verse 8.
8 I will keep thy statutes,
O forsake me not utterly
The Psalmist admits here that he alone cannot possibly keep the statutes but was desirous of observing them in the best manner he could, as assisted by the grace of God.
I encourage you to read the entire Psalm 119 and you might consider making a visit to the Psalms a regular part of you personal worship plan. Here in Psalms you will find “the biblical vision of faithful folk from all times and places, gathered, as the psalmists of old, to acknowledge God’s reign by singing a new song.” (New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 4, PG 675)
Glad to have you in the pew this week, come back, we are blessed and thankful for your presence.
Life is Good