Showing posts from November, 2022

Psalm 119:10

"With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments."   Another ‘with all my heart’ in Psalms.   Who can say this?   We see it also in Psalm 119:34 (‘keep it with all my heart), Psalm 119:58 (‘I sought Your favor with all my heart’), Psalm 119:69 (‘with all my heart I will observe Your precepts’), and Psalm 119:145 (‘I cried with all my heart’).   This is the oft forgotten verse between vv. 9,11 about hiding the word in the heart.   At the least it speaks of single-minded focus and a fighting of distractions.   ‘Sought’ is the Hebrew דָּרַשׁ , dāraš: A verb meaning to seek, to inquire of, to examine, to require.   When you require something, your focus is sharpened!   So it is for my need for Your word.   The meaning of ‘wander’ is straightforward, but the implications of wandering are stark in the Scriptures.   Those who wander from Your word are rebuked by You as arrogant and cursed (Psalm 119:21), and rejected by You f

Psalm 119:9

"Beth. How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word."   How can Psalm 119:1-2 be possible, especially for a young man full of fleshly passion?   According to Your word.   ‘Pure’ is זָכָה , zāḵāh: A verb meaning to clean, to be clean, to cleanse…it carries the connotation of being pure or cleansed from sin (Psa 119:9; Isa 1:16; Mic 6:11). ‘Keeping’ is the Hebrew שָׁמַר , šāmar: A verb meaning to watch, to keep, to preserve, to guard, to be careful, to watch over, to watch carefully over, to be on one's guard. The verb means to watch, to guard, to care for.   Purity is no accident, yet it cannot be done with one’s own resources (Proverbs 20:9).     ‘…the poet desires this, and supplicates God's gracious assistance in order to it. To purify or cleanse one's way or walk ( זִכָּה , cf. Psa 73:13; Pro 20:9) signifies to maintain it pure.’ [1]   ‘You must take heed to your daily life, as well as study yo

Psalm 119:8

"I shall keep Your statutes; Do not forsake me utterly!"   Why would the Psalmist cry not to be forsaken?   I can think of 3 reasons.   First, a sense of our sinfulness leads to a sense of unworthiness and Your just condemnation, Your abandonment of us for our unfaithfulness.   Second, and related, is our inability to keep Your law apart from You!   Thirdly, faithfulness is a lonely road with few companions, often with only You.   You draw near to us in Your word (Psalm 119:151).   The fear of abandonment is real.   First from You, then from others.   See Psalm 27:9-10, Isaiah 41:10, Hebrews 13:5.   Even Jesus was abandoned by all but a few earthly companions (John 6:67-69) who then abandoned Him when He needed them the most (Luke 22:1-62), and finally He was abandoned by You so we wouldn’t have to be to accomplish our salvation (Matthew 27:46).   Paul’s life would also reflect this abandonment and salvation, see 2 Timothy 4:16-18.   How precious then

Psalm 119:7

"I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments."   The blessedness continues from vv. 1-6, of a blameless way, observing Your testimonies, walking in Your ways, keeping Your precepts diligently.   See also Psalm 94:15.   If my ways are established to keep Your statutes, surely this is a cause of thankfulness and not shame when I learn more of them!   This is not because of my perfection, but of Yours, not because of my sinlessness, but of Your grace and forgiveness.   Uprightness is the Hebrew ישֶׁר , yōšer: A masculine noun meaning straightness or uprightness, equity. The Old Testament often talks of two paths in life and warns people to stay on the straight path and not to stray onto the crooked path (Pro 2:13).   Learn is the Hebrew לָמַד , lāmaḏ: A verb meaning to learn, to study, to teach, to be taught, to be learned. The verb describes learning war, training for war, the lack of training (Isa 2:4;

Psalm 119:6

"Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Your commandments."   ‘Then’ - when my ways are established to keep Your word, then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon them!   What a safeguard against the fear of man (Proverbs 29:25), men of the flesh who stand against You (Philippians 3:18-19).   What confidence and boldness for the challenges of life (Proverbs 28:1) and for the anticipation of the return of Jesus (Matthew 24:45-46, 1 John 2:28).   In our weakness we await You, our hope is in You and not in ourselves (Philippians 3:20).   What joyous fellowship and freedom Adam and Eve had with You in the garden, and what tragic shame after they disobeyed.   To ‘look upon’ is the Hebrew נָבַט , naḇaṭ: A verb meaning to look, to watch, to regard. It has the sense of looking somewhat intensely in a focused way at something; to gaze: to gaze at the heavens (Gen 15:5); at Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:17, Gen 19:26); at the sea (1Ki 18:43). It is

Psalm 119:5

"Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes!"   Having seen the utter blessedness of walking from the heart in obedience to Your word (vv. 1-2) and Your righteous purposes in Your word (vv. 3-4), the Psalmist cries that His ways would be so established.   ‘Established’ is the Hebrew כּוּן , kûn: A verb meaning to set up, to make firm, to establish, to prepare. The primary action of this verb is to cause to stand in an upright position, and thus the word also means fixed or steadfast.   It sets the foundation and direction for one’s life, setting a firm and confident course.   It reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:24-27, echoes of Proverbs 10:9, the confidence of walking in integrity.   ‘…not only that our eyes may be directed to behold God's statutes, but our hearts directed to keep them.’ [1]   ‘We cannot of ourselves keep God's statutes as he would have them kept, and yet we long to do so: what resort have we but pra

Psalm 119:4

"You have ordained Your precepts, That we should keep them diligently."   Your precepts are not simply for our knowledge or interest, though they are truth and inexhaustibly interesting (Proverbs 2:1-5).   What is interesting (pun intended) is that they cannot be fully explored or enjoyed without walking in them, as vv. 1-3 bear out.   The word is supremely powerful and effective!   ‘Ordain’ is the Hebrew צָוָה , ṣāwāh: A verb meaning to order, to direct, to appoint, to command, to charge, to be ordered, to be commanded.   So we see here that ‘ordained’ speaks not merely to its purpose, but to its authority and power.   As an example of authority, see God’s first command to man in Genesis 2:16.   As to power, see Psalm 33:9, Psalm 148:5 where God commanded creation into existence, as He also commands the new creation into existence (2 Corinthians 4:6, 1 Peter 2:9-10).   Precepts is the Hebrew פִּקּוּד , piqqûḏ, פְּקוּדִים peqûḏiym: A masculine noun

Psalm 119:3

"They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways."   In this description of this man blessed beyond compare by 1) being blameless, walking in Your law (v.1) , and 2) seeking You with all their heart by observing Your testimonies (v.2),   we see now he does no unrighteousness by means of walking in Your ways.   I am reminded of Psalm 11:7 and Psalm 12:6, namely, the purity of those who follow the purity of Your Word.   He is single minded in his understanding and actions.   Psalm 119:9-11.   There is no magic formula and there are ‘no additives required.’   In our pride, we want to add to Your word - yet that is a sure path to untruth and unrighteousness.   ‘"Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar."   (Proverbs 30:6)   ‘Life, to the outward observer, at any rate, lies much in doing, and he who in his doings never swerves from equity, both towards God and man, has hit upon the way of perfection

Psalm 119:2

"How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.”   Of inestimable value is Your word!   To observe them with all my heart has value beyond description.   Enrapture my heart, let me soar the heights!   ‘Blessed’ is the Hebrew אֶשֶׁר , ’ešer: A masculine noun meaning a person's state of bliss.   ‘Observe’ is the Hebrew נָצַר , nāṣar: A verb meaning to guard, to keep, to observe, to preserve, to hide. The word refers to people's maintaining things entrusted to them, especially to keeping the truths of God in both actions and mind (Psa 119:100, Psa 119:115).   I am reminded of Psalm 119:165, the peace that ensues the loving of Your law.   These seem elusive, but I trust in them.   ‘…they walk in the paths of that law, which they will not trifle in, but press forward in them towards the mark , taking every step by rule and never walking at all adventures.’ [1]   ‘God is not truly sought by the cold resea

Psalm 119:1

"Aleph. How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD."     ‘How blessed’ hearkens back to Psalm 1:1-2, yet this verse moves us right to the parallels of Psalm 1:3 to what such a man does.   ‘Blessed’ is the Hebrew אֶשֶׁר , ’ešer: A masculine noun meaning a person's state of bliss.   In America, we use the word ‘happiness’, which I find to be too shallow.   Bliss is to be justly satisfied in the soul, not lustfully satiated in one’s flesh.   It has a depth and permanence about it, resilient in all circumstances.   Blameless is the Hebrew תָּמִים , tāmiym: An adjective meaning blameless, complete.   When used in a moral sense, this word is linked with truth, virtue, uprightness, and righteousness (Jos 24:14; Psa 18:23 [24]; Pro 2:21; Pro 11:5).   It appears 12 times in Psalms, and one other in Psalm 119, Psalm 119:80 of a blameless heart.   ‘Walk’ is the Hebrew הָלַךּ , hālaḵ: A verb meaning to go, to come, to walk

Psalm 119 - Tav: Let it Be

"Tav. Let my cry come before You, O LORD; Give me understanding according to Your word. [170] Let my supplication come before You; Deliver me according to Your word. [171] Let my lips utter praise, For You teach me Your statutes. [172] Let my tongue sing of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness. [173] Let Your hand be ready to help me, For I have chosen Your precepts. [174] I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight. [175] Let my soul live that it may praise You, And let Your ordinances help me. [176] I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments."   (Psalm 119:169-176)   ‘Let’ my cry come before You (v. 169), my supplication come before You (v. 170), my lips utter praise (v. 171), my tongue sing of Your word (v. 172), Your hand be ready to help me (v. 173), my soul live (v. 175), and Your ordinances help me (v. 175).   Like one being lif

Psalm 119 - Shin: Peace

"Shin. Princes persecute me without cause, But my heart stands in awe of Your words. [162] I rejoice at Your word, As one who finds great spoil. [163] I hate and despise falsehood, But I love Your law. [164] Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous ordinances. [165] Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble. [166] I hope for Your salvation, O LORD, And do Your commandments. [167] My soul keeps Your testimonies, And I love them exceedingly. [168] I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies, For all my ways are before You."   (Psalm 119:161-168)     The treasure is secure.   Unjust persecution (v. 161) and falsehood (v. 163) could not keep the Psalmist from it, for he had found great spoil (v. 162) in Your word, and praised You unceasingly for it (v. 164).   The peace is beyond compare, enduring any circumstance (v. 165).   But the real benefit comes in the doing, which is

Psalm 119 - Resh: Nearness in Affliction

"Resh. Look upon my affliction and rescue me, For I do not forget Your law. [154] Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word. [155] Salvation is far from the wicked, For they do not seek Your statutes. [156] Great are Your mercies, O LORD; Revive me according to Your ordinances. [157] Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, Yet I do not turn aside from Your testimonies. [158] I behold the treacherous and loathe them, Because they do not keep Your word. [159] Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness. [160] The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting."   (Psalm 119:153-160)   If Your nearness is my good (Psalm 73:28), then distance from You is an unbearable terror (Psalm 27:9).   Here we see the Psalmist relish Your attention (v. 153), advocacy and revival (v. 154, 156, 159), lovingkindness (v. 159) and complet