Statutes

Psalm 119

Psalm 119 is a great acrostic poem, the longest psalm and also the longest chapter in the Bible. The 22 stanzas each consist of 8 lines each line starting with the same letter of the Hebrew alpabet, each stanza having a different start letter. It is an epic love song for God’s law.

An open Bible – Free picture on Pixabay.

Aleph א

119 [a] Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
    who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
    who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
    but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
    to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
    in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
    having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
    when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
    do not utterly forsake me!

Beth ב‎

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.

Gimel ג

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.

Introduction

Psalm 119 is a very long psalm, too long to be covered in one blog post so I am publishing three or four stanzas at a time. The psalm is a love song for God’s word, and there are eight Hebrew words used to describe different aspects of God’s word, translated into seven or eight words in English.

  1. Huqqim, Statutes.
  2. Miswah/Miswat, Commandments.
  3. Torah, Law.
  4. Mispatim, Judgements.
  5. Piqqudim, Precepts.
  6. Dabar, Word.
  7. Imrah, Word or Sayings
  8. Edut/Edot, Testimonies.

In addition the psalm says that God’s word reflects the essence of God himself and mentions eight attributes of God:

  1. Trustworthiness,
  2. Righteousness,
  3. Faithfulness,
  4. Unchangableness,
  5. Light,
  6. Purity,
  7. Truthfulness,
  8. Eternality.

There is no correlation between the aspects of God’s Word and the attributes of God that I could find, other than the Psalmist likes the number 8, each stanza of the psaln having eight lines. Rather than studying Psalm 119 in the order of the stanzas I shall be looking at each of the aspects of God’s word and attributes of God in turn.

Huqqim, Statutes

Huqqim means things inscribed or engraved. It does not mean the written word of God in scripture but that God’s word can be read and experienced in nature as well as in the covenant community. This revelation of God is fixed and never changes. When we look at the power of nature, or its beauty its orderliness or attention to detail we learn about God’s creativity, strength and redemption. Creation reflects the glory of God.

There is nothing new or ‘New Age’ about this. It is spoken of in Psalm 19 and again by Paul in Romans !:20:

 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.


< Psalm 118 | Psalm 119:1-24 | Psalm 119:25-48 >

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