Read: Psalm 119
Psalm 119 is an alphabetical psalm. It has 22 sections, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet; each section has eight stanzas, each beginning with its representative letter. The Psalm is challenging to interpret not so much for its length as for its spiritual depth.
Think About It: What is of overwhelming importance to the psalmist in Psalm 119? Is his theme of similar importance in my life? How would I spend my time differently if my priorities were similar to that of the writer of Psalm 119?
Prayer: For more passion for God’s Word in my life.
Read: Psalm 119
Ten words and four phrases are used repeatedly to refer to the Word of the Lord in Psalm 119:
Law = torah; instruction, direction, body of prophetic teaching, Mosaic Law.
Testimonies = ‘edah; testimony, witness, always plural and always used of laws as divine testimonies
Statutes = piqqud; precept, statute
Commandments = mitzvah; commandments (of code of wisdom)
Judgments = mishpat; judgment, justice, ordinance, decision in law
Statutes = choq; statute, ordinance, decree, prescribed portion, boundary
Word = dawbar; word, thing, matter, saying, commandment
Testimony = eduwth; testimony, witness (singular)
Ways = ‘orach; path, road, way of living
Word = ‘imrah; speech, commandment, the word of God, Torah
Word of Truth = dabar ‘emeth; word of faithfulness, sureness, reliability, truth as a body of ethical or religious knowledge
Word of Thy Righteousness = imrah tsedeq; word of righteousness, justice (v.123)
Righteous Judgments = tsedeq mishpat (v. 160)
Righteous Commandment = tsedeq mitsvah (v. 172)
Think About It: What different aspect of God’s Word is emphasized by each of these words or terms? What are some ways I have experienced God’s word as a commandment? as a boundary? as a witness? as a way of living? as a reliable word? as a word of justice?
Prayer: Praise God that His Word is true, reliable, and just.
Read: Psalm 119:12, 26, 33, 64, 68, 124, 135; 2 Peter 1:20; 3:16; Psalm 56:5
Psalm 119 contains many prayer requests. One category of those requests is summed up in the phrase: “Teach me your statutes.”
Think About It? Can’t we just apply ourselves to the study of Scripture and learn it on our own without God’s help? If not, why not?
Prayer: For help from the Holy Spirit in learning the Word inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Read: Psalm 119:94, 134, 153, 170, 173, 176; Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:24
Another category of prayer request contained in Psalm 119 can be summed up in the words “Seek me, save me, redeem me, help me, deliver me.”
Think About It: What does the knowledge of God’s law, as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, bring with it? What do I recognize I desperately need once I understand the demands of God’s law, and my complete failure to meet those demands? How has God provided for that need to be met?
Prayer: Praise God for the cross of Christ and Gospel of grace.
Read: Psalm 119:73, 125, 144, 169; Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10; James 1:22
Another category of prayer request contained in Psalm 119 is contained in the words, “Give me understanding.” This might be interpreted as similar to the first request — to learn with discernment the meaning of God’s Word. However, within the wisdom literature “understanding” has a context, summed up in Job 28:28: “to depart from evil is understanding.” Throughout the Psalms, e.g. Psalm 111:10, “A good understanding have all they that do His commandments,” “understanding” is used in the context of obedience to God’s Word. Understanding isn’t just knowledge, it is knowledge applied in departing from evil and doing good. It includes the concept of turning around from one way and going the other — repentance.
Think About It: When I came to faith in Christ, what evidence was there of departing from evil and doing good? What evil have I NOT done lately because Christ is in my life? What good have I done lately because Christ is in my life?
Prayer: That I might be a doer of the word, not just a hearer.
Read: Psalm 119:5, 15, 88, 134; Psalm 138:8, Romans 8:30; Philippians 1:6;
Another category of prayer request in Psalm 119 is stated, “That I might keep Thy Word.” The emphasis on this request is on more than obedience, it is on “keeping — to confirm, to establish, to guard.” This is a prayer for perseverance.
Think About It: Here’s a blunt question: Am I going to make it to heaven? Am I really going to “hang in there”? How do I know?
Prayer: That I might be kept from stumbling.
Read: Psalm 119:25, 37, 40, 88, 107, 149, 154, 156, 159, 176; Psalm 85:6; Galatians 6:1
An often repeated prayer request in Psalm 119 is simply, “Revive me.” The psalmist recognizes his human frailty.
Think About It: How does Galatians 6:1 relate to this request? Am I watching my step? What are some things I ought to be praying for in the light of the categories of prayer suggested by Psalm 119?
Prayer: For revival to begin with me.