Read Psalm 119 E (v. 129 - 160)
129 Your statutes are wonderful;
therefore I obey them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
longing for your commands.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as you always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may obey your precepts.
135 Make your face shine on your servant
and teach me your decrees.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for your law is not obeyed.
137 You are righteous, Lord,
and your laws are right.
138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.
139 My zeal wears me out,
for my enemies ignore your words.
140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them.
141 Though I am lowly and despised,
I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is everlasting
and your law is true.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands give me delight.
144 Your statutes are always righteous;
give me understanding that I may live.
145 I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord,
and I will obey your decrees.
146 I call out to you; save me
and I will keep your statutes.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promises.
149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love;
preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws.
150 Those who devise wicked schemes are near,
but they are far from your law.
151 Yet you are near, Lord,
and all your commands are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your statutes
that you established them to last forever.
153 Look on my suffering and deliver me,
for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me;
preserve my life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion, Lord, is great;
preserve my life according to your laws.
157 Many are the foes who persecute me,
but I have not turned from your statutes.
158 I look on the faithless with loathing,
for they do not obey your word.
159 See how I love your precepts;
preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love.
160 All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal.
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 129-160. Thanks for reading along!
If you were to ask a group of nominal Christians how they would describe the Bible, you might not have to go very far before you heard the response, “God’s rulebook.” For many people, the Bible is just a list of God’s do’s and don’ts. He doesn’t want you to cheat, steal, lust, lie, etc. These rules typically keep you from fun, but as long as you begrudgingly follow along then you get to go to Heaven. Not only is this an uninspiring view of Scripture, it’s just not accurate. God’s rules are not to determine who is “in or out”, but rather are a guidepost to the best available life for us. Since God is the creator of life, He knows how it is best meant to be lived. In verse 140 the psalmist writes, “Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.” This isn’t how Christians typically think about God’s commands! However, the author loves God’s word because it has been tested and proven to be the path of life.
One of the most noticeable things about this passage is the genuine joy that this writer has in following God’s commands. It is like he has found the best way to live and eagerly desires to walk in it, while also grieving for those who are still lost. Yet many times modern Christians have the opposite reaction. They grieve over having to follow God’s word and think they are missing out on some better way of life in which the world gets to participate. This is just not true! As evidenced in this psalm, God’s word is wonderful (v. 129), giving light (v. 130), fully trustworthy (v. 138), righteous (v. 144), and true (v. 160).
As followers of Jesus we don’t have to do what He says, rather, we get to. We’ve been given good commands from a loving Father who wants the very best for His children. Today, use Psalm 119 as a reminder that it is a delight to follow the laws of the Lord. These commands aren’t meant to keep you from joy, but rather provide it. As verse 133 says, may we eagerly desire that God would “Direct [our] footsteps according to [His] word”.
- What most stood out to you from this passage?
- What keeps you from loving God’s commands?
- In what area of your life have you been disregarding God’s word?
God, I admit that many times my life doesn’t look like this section of Psalm 119. Rather than eagerly following Your Word, sometimes I ignore You or just don’t trust You. Would You change me so that I may grow to love Your commands for me? I want to be a person who seeks after Your heart. Show me that Your path is better than anything else this world has to offer, and give me the courage to walk in it. I ask that even today You would bring Your promises to mind and that I would find great delight in them. Thank You for being a good Father whom I can trust to guide me into paths of righteousness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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