Read Psalm 119 B (v. 33-64)
33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.
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.
49 Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully,
but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, Lord, your ancient laws,
and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked,
who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song
wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, Lord, I remember your name,
that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice:
I obey your precepts.
57 You are my portion, Lord;
I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks
for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you,
to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
This week, we’re changing our rhythm. Normally we read one chapter a day, but this week we’re going to spread out this one chapter over the next six days. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in all of Scripture, so squeezing it all into one day could make it hard to absorb. While we don’t know who wrote this psalm, we do know that it was written as a collection of thoughts and prayers largely focused on one main idea: God’s Word. Today, we’ll read verses 33-64. Thanks for reading along!
The theme of all of Psalm 119, and this section in particular, is rejoicing in the law of the Lord. The author of this psalm continually rejoices in it. However, our culture doesn’t seem to share the same attitude toward the authority of Scripture. We live in a culture that celebrates rebellion. We wrongly believe that freedom is the ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want. But ultimate freedom–freedom from sin and freedom in Christ–comes in submission to a good God. He gives us the law for our protection. God knows, even better than we do, what is good for us. He gives us His Word and teaches us that abiding by it will bring about abundant life. His instruction is good so we can rejoice in it and learn to live according to it, just as the psalmist does here. Praise the Lord for His Word, decrees, laws, and precepts! They are good and worth delighting in, meditating on, and memorizing.
What can come of us following God’s Word? This passage tells us we will find delight (v. 35) and we will be able to walk in freedom (v. 45). Verse 52 tells us that the psalmist finds comfort in God’s Word. God’s Word is there for our good! Elsewhere in Scripture we see that God’s Word is sufficient to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy, 3:15-17). It teaches us and gives us encouragement and hope (Romans 15:4-5).
In order for us to pursue holiness and live in a manner worthy of the gospel, it is essential that we know God’s Word intimately. God transforms us as we renew our mind by meditating on His Word. Jerry Bridges, in his book The Discipline of Grace, puts it this way, “I am very much aware that Scripture memorization has largely fallen by the wayside in our day… But let me say this as graciously but firmly as possible: We cannot effectively pursue holiness without the Word of God stored up in our minds where it can be used by the Holy Spirit to transform us.”
- Have you made a habit of memorizing God’s Word? What verses do you know that you can meditate on today?
- What are some verses that you find comfort in? What books/chapters/verses do you delight in?
- What about your life would be different if you knew God’s Word and meditated on it regularly?
Did You Know?
The format of Psalm 119 is an alphabetic acrostic, meaning that the first letters of each line in Hebrew follow through the alphabet, 8 lines per letter, thus 8 lines x 22 letters in Hebrew = 176 lines. One message of this psalm is that we are to live a lifestyle that demonstrates obedience to the Lord, who is a God of order (hence the acrostic structure), not of chaos. (GotQuestions.org)
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