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 alphabet, each stanza having a different start letter. It is an epic love song for God’s law.
97 Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,[h]
for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.
107 I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your rules.
109 I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.
111 Your testimonies are my heritage for ever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes
for ever, to the end.[i]
113 I hate the double-minded,Psalm 119:97-120 ESVUK
but I love your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word.
115 Depart from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
117 Hold me up, that I may be safe
and have regard for your statutes continually!
118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes,
for their cunning is in vain.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross,
therefore I love your testimonies.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of you,
and I am afraid of your judgements.
Holy Spirit breathed
All scripture is given by inspiration of God is a famous Bible verse, (2 Timothy 3:16). What this is not saying is that scripture is dictated by God, but it actually says that scripture is God-breathed – there is a long connection with the breath of God being the Holy Spirit. The holy spirit breathed on people and inspired them to write plays, poetry and songs; to write histories or to speak the word of God directly, declaring. “This is what God is saying,” We need to know what sort of writing it is to understand what is being said. The Bible is very old, sometimes the meaning to the culture at the time of writing has been lost, but we need to do our best to understand it. Listening to the Holy Spirit who inspired people to write scripture is key to its understanding,
I have said over and over in this series on Psalm 119 that this psalm is a love song about God’s word, and it is made explicit in verse 113 where it says, “I love your law.” (Hebrew word Tora, God’s written law). But it is better than that, verse 114 says, “I hope in your word,” ( Hebrew word dabar).
There are two Hebrew words translated as a word in English, I will deal with the other one later in the series but here it is the turn of dabar. Dabar exists as a verb and a noun:
Verb: It means to formalise, to “make something official or decide to arrange it according to a fixed structure.” (Cambridge English Dictionary). To make something real.
Noun: Dabar also means thing. It is an experienced reality which has become real.
The psalmist loves God’s law, but he hopes for a future time when God’s word will be a reality in his life. With each scripture we read, it would be good to pray, “Come Holy Spirit and make this word real to me.”
Verse 105, the most famous verse in Psalm 119 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God’s first word of creation was, “Let there be light.” There is a whole lot of stuff in the Old Testament about the radiance of God and the light of God’s presence, John said that God is light and in him, there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5) and Jesus proclaimed that he is the light of the world. God’s word, used properly lights our way forward but used incorrectly, kept for ourselves and not shared, keeps people from coming to God.
How do you use God’s word? To be positive and show people how to get to God who wants all people to come to him, or as clobber verses to keep them down?
Come Holy Spirit and make God’s word real in me and make me transparent so that God’s light in me can be seen by others.
< Psalm 119:73-86 | Psalm 119:97-120 | Psalm 119:121-144 >