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The Profound Psalm
by Susan Budensiek
1/04/2018 / Bible Studies
I ran across a statement about Psalm 119 that got me curious, so in spite of the fact that I have read it before, I started reading and found it to be nothing short of profound this time.
God designed this psalm to show us how He wants us to conduct our lives. It is divided up into twenty-two sections (labeled with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet), of eight verses each. Each letter is a picture that illustrates a concept in Hebrew, and while it is very interesting to dive that deeply into it, it is very involved to see how those pictorial letters relate to the message of each section of the psalm.
However, one thing to consider when studying this psalm is that in Hebrew the number 8 (chet) is the number of New Beginnings. In the Bible the number also represents a new beginning, meaning a new order or creation, and man's true 'born again' event when he is resurrected from the dead into eternal life. (http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_One/Aleph-Bet/Chet/chet.html)
The first section, “aleph”, is a general introduction of sorts: (CJB)
- How happy are those whose way of life is blameless, who live by the Torah of ADONAI!
- 2. How happy are those who observe his instruction, who seek him wholeheartedly!
- They do nothing wrong but live by his ways.
- You laid down your precepts for us to observe with care.
- May my ways be steady in observing your laws.
- Then I will not be put to shame, since I will have fixed my sight on all your mitzvoth [precepts; commands].
- I thank you with a sincere heart as I learn your righteous rulings.
- I will observe your laws; don't completely abandon me!
The second section, “beyt”, opens with a question using a young man as the subject but in reality, it applies to everyone:
- How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
- I seek you with all my heart; don't let me stray from your mitzvoth [precepts; commands].
- I treasure your word in my heart, so that I won't sin against you.
- Blessed are you, ADONAI! Teach me your laws.
- I proclaim with my mouth all the rulings you have spoken.
- I rejoice in the way of your instruction more than in any kind of wealth.
- I will meditate on your precepts and keep my eyes on your ways.
- I will find my delight in your regulations. I will not forget your word.
As I read this, it came to mind how, as King David wrote this, he was telling Almighty God all the things he does, such as in verse 10, seeking Him with all his heart, on through verse 16. My very next thought was wondering how honest and accurate those words would be if it were me saying them to my God as David was doing…maybe I would be guilty of exaggerating my own conduct…something we are all prone to do because of that human nature in us that sees other people’s faults much easier than we see our own.
Just a few verses from the psalm that illustrate how seriously David took God’s precepts and obviously, how seriously we should take them:
- How happy are those who observe his instruction, who seek him wholeheartedly!
- Give me understanding; then I will keep your Torah; I will observe it with all my heart.
- Guide me on the path of your mitzvot, for I take pleasure in it.
- Bend my heart toward your instructions and not toward selfish gain.
- Turn my eyes away from worthless things; with your ways, give me life.
- The arrogant are slandering me, but I will wholeheartedly keep your precepts.
- I know, ADONAI, that your rulings are righteous, that even when you humble me you are faithful.
- I will never forget your precepts, for with them you have made me alive.
- I am yours; save me because I seek your precepts.
- Your word is a lamp for my foot and light on my path.
- I have resolved to obey your laws forever, at every step.
- Guide my footsteps by your word; don't let any kind of sin rule me.
- Wholeheartedly I am calling on you; answer me, ADONAI; I will keep your laws.
- My soul observes your instruction, and I love it so much!
- I strayed like a lost sheep; seek out your servant; for I do not forget your mitzvot.
I was raised in church but always felt like I was missing something. Now the Word of God excites me! My curiosity enhances pursuance of discernment. I have often felt discouraged, but not totally defeated knowing that in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
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