Part of Psalm 119
Through the ages preachers have delivered thousands, possibly
millions of sermons based on the Psalms; simply because the Psalms
contain some of the most beautiful spiritual concepts on which
the human mind can dwell. The Psalms are the Hymn Book of
Scripture; a collection of spiritual songs which were set to music
and sung by the choirs of Israel. Many of Christianity's best
loved hymns are based on the Psalms.
The Psalms cover many subjects: history, war, peace, health,
sickness, happiness, sorrow, wealth, poverty, leadership, good
advice etc. The Psalms also contain some of the
most profound prophecies in Scripture. All this
means that the Psalms are as relevant today as they were over
two thousand years ago. They tell of the Saviour's life, his work
and death; even the very words he would speak as he hung on the
cross. They also tell of his second coming and subsequent rule
over all nations.
Like Psalm 1, which has only 6 verses, Psalm 119 with its 176
verses is all about the Almighty's law and the blessings
that flow from obedience. In a world where church leaders consider
it clever to set aside the laws of the Creator, preaching sermon
after sermon about how irrelevant, obsolete or even barbaric it
is, Psalm 119 shines forth like a beacon on a hill. Together with
the Messiah's Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 to
7) Psalm 119 is the finest testimony for Yahweh's law you will
find in all Scripture. Let us take a brief look at this magnificent
Psalm 119 is acrostic in its structure; in that each of
its 22 sections begins with a different letter in the 22
letter Hebrew alphabet. Moreover the 8 verses in each section
start with that same letter and so we have 22x8 = 176 verses in
all. In other words all 8 verses in the first section begin with
the Hebrew character Aleph (equivalent to our A) and in
the next section all 8 verses begin with Beth (equivalent
to our B) and so on. This alphabetical pattern of A followed by
B is lost when translating to English simply because the English
alphabet not only has 26 characters but in Hebrew the equivalent
letter to B is not followed by C. Nor is it possible to translate
each verse into English with the same alphabetical character and
still maintain the correct meaning. Nevertheless, do remember
that the original acrostic pattern did help the
Hebrew reader or singer to memorise the verses and words of this
To begin you will notice that virtually every verse in
Psalm 119 contains one or more of the following keywords: law,
commandments, precepts, testimonies, judgement/s, word, statutes,
ways or name. This is significant, because it tells
us that composer of Psalm 119 poured over the Torah, the
law of God, and understood its various divisions as few others
do. He knew that God's law represented His Name, His character
and His will; that it was a transcript of the Almighty's own soul
and an everlasting fountain of blessing. To obey
Yahweh's law was the psalmist's one goal, the all-consuming passion
of his life. Never a day or night passed, but found him pondering
the mysteries of the Almighty's words, laws, commandments,
statutes, precepts and judgements.
We will now examine this Psalm under various keywords which
tell of certain spiritual concepts and realities. Because
of its length I will simply mention the keyword and then
the verse number/s or phrase/s which explain it.
To be blessed by the Almighty is by far the greatest privilege
any human can have. Wealth, possessions, good health and
fame count for nothing if the Almighty's blessing is absent
in one's life. This Psalm begins with the secret of blessing.
- Verse: 1: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.”
- Verse: 2: “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies,and that seek him with the whole heart.”
The world is in turmoil. People are in turmoil. Peace is a dream
to countless millions. Men talk about peace, pray for peace, march
for peace, attend peace conferences and sign peace treaties. But
the way of peace they know not. Why not? Because they have rejected
the Prince of Peace and his formula for peace. What's the
formula for peace?
In other words - only those who love and obey the Almighty's law will know real
peace - peace within. All others will live in silent turmoil.
- Verse: 165: “Great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them.”
It goes without saying that no one learned anything without wanting to learn.
Before we can learn from the Almighty His most valuable lessons we must
want to learn! We must ask Him to teach us!
- Verse: 12: “Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.”
- Verse: 18: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”
- Verse: 135: “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teachme thy statutes.”
- Verse: 144: “...give me understanding, and I shall live.”
The world spends billions of dollars, pounds, marks and yen etc.
on education; filling the minds of adults and children with facts
and theories. Knowledge in virtually every branch of learning
is on the increase. But, alas! true understanding as to
what life is all about is sadly lacking.
These questions are seldom answered in the popular institutions
of learning. But they are answered in Yahweh's law. Indeed those
who study and live by the Almighty's commandments will excel in
- Why were we created?
- How are we supposed to live?
- What is right and what is wrong? Who decides?
- What happens to us after we die?
- Verse: 104: “Through thy precepts I get understanding
- Verse: 99: “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.”
- Verse: 100: “I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.”
Protection is big business these days. The armed forces,
the police and fire services, insurance companies and even the
makers of protective clothing are all aware of the ever-present
need for protection. But what about protection from sin,
that deadly virus which can rob a person of present happiness
and eventually of eternal life? In a world obsessed with protecting
temporal goods I offer you the Word of God as the best
protection against sin.
- Verse: 11: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
The Scriptures abound with evidence that the laws of the Almighty are eternal;
that they will outlast the present universe and go on and on for all time. Yahweh's
laws are as eternal as Himself; simply because they are transcripts of His own
character. The Almighty is immortal; He will live for all time. Therefore His
laws, which describe Him are also eternal. They will endure as long as He does.
- Verse: 44: “So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever”
- Verse: 144 “The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting:”
- Verse: 152:“Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.”
- Psalm 111: 7-8: “
all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.”
- Matthew 5: 17: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18: For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
Nobody likes to be afflicted or punished. But there are times when affliction is
necessary. Affliction is a vital part of discipline and it will only cease when
perfection is reached.
- Verse: 67: “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.”
- Verse: 71: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”
Are you eager to learn about the Almighty and His Word? Do you
really want to understand His will for mankind and how He reacts
to human behaviour? To be sure all Christians want to be holy,
just and true. But do we yearn for these things? Do we
want them with all our heart and soul? No one, be
they musician, singer, sportsman, artist, poet, writer or inventor,
ever accomplished anything of worth without total dedication,
absolute commitment and maximum effort. It is exactly the
same with the things of the Spirit. To arrive at your goal you
must give it all you've got. Nothing less will do.
- Verse: 10: “ With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.”
- Verse: 20: “ My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments”
- Verse: 131: “ I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.”
- Verse: 145: “ I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.”
Most sensible people want to be saved; to live for ever and ever. But is salvation
possible for the folk who deliberately break and reject the Almighty's statutes?
Will the persistent sinner somehow gain entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven? The
Bible makes it abundantly clear that the wicked will not be saved if they persist in
their sins. This Psalm says the same thing.
- Verse: 155: “Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.”
10. The Lost Sheep
But can a backslider, a repentant sinner, echo the words of Psalm
119? Sure he can. A backslider may stray from the pathway of truth
and become entangled in sin. He may break one or more of the commandments
of the Most High. But as long as he repents, asks forgiveness
and then turns back to the pathway of obedience, salvation is possible.
Millions of backsliders have found salvation again. They were
lost, but somehow they never forgot the law of the Most High.
Yahweh is eager to save them. He is searching for His lost
Psalm 119 is a spiritual gold mine. I have merely scratched
the surface; retrieving a nugget here and a nugget there. I
recommend to you Psalm 119; a psalm written by a man after
God’s own heart!
- Verse: 176: I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.
In the Son’s Name - For the Father’s glory.
Elder: Max W. Mader