Tag Archives: Psalm 119

Psalm 119:169-176: Holy discontentment

The Psalmists commitment to God’s Word shaped how he regarded God. It is evidenced in his prayers and worship.  (169) let my cry, (170) my supplication come before you, (171) let my lips utter praise and (172) let my tongue sing.

Matt Chandler states “Great men of God have a holy discontentment; their hearts can never get enough of God.”  This desire is evident in the Psalmists  words, (173) let your hand be ready to help me, (174) I long for deliverance, and (175) let my soul live.

(176) I go astray like a lost sheep.  David, a shepherd, knew what it was like to seek out lost sheep prone to wander off.  Jesus fulfilled David’s prayer as Luke 19:10 tells us He came to seek and to save the lost.

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Psalm 119:137-152 Are you perfect?

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This stanza of the 119th Psalm highlights the righteousness of God.  He is righteous (137) and so is his word (138).  His righteousness is everlasting and true (142) and is unchanging (144).

How can anyone measure up to this standard of perfection? The psalmist’s approach is one of an all out pursuit of holiness (139). He recognizes his lowly and despised condition (141), yet he has an unwavering desire to understand God’s word.

The second stanza reminisces, considering the time and manner of the psalmists pleadings with God.  Charles Spurgeon summarizes it this way…He prayed with his whole heart (145).  He prayed, “God save me!” (146). He prayed before dawn (147) and all through the night watches (148), He cried out, “Preserve my life!” (149).  God drew near in response (150).

“He who has been with God in the closet will find God with him in the furnace.”  C. Spurgeon.

1 Peter 3:12 ties the two stanzas of this psalm together.  The eyes and the ears of the Lord focus on the righteous and listen to their prayers.

Psalm 119:121-136 Servanthood

god-2925343_960_720The previous three stanzas of Psalm 119 emphasized drawing near to God. In verses 121-136 we do not find the cry of a proud person looking over his domain.  Instead, a different cry arises, that of a servant.

(122) Ensure your servants well-being is a cry for God to take up the psalmist’s cause, for God to represent him.  Christ ensures his followers are heard by interceding on our behalf (Hebrews 7:23-28).  The Holy Spirit also intercedes for those who are God’s people (Romans 8:26-27).

The servant asks for God to (124) deal with them mercifully, (125) give them understanding, (128) and keep them from the wrong path.

What does the right path look like?  (130) Unfold your words is the preparing one’s heart to receive the light of God’s word.  It involves turning towards (not away from) the God of mercy.  Those committed to the right path  ask Him to direct their footsteps (133), deliver them from oppression (134) and shine on them (135).

If you find yourself on the right path do not be surprised if (136) streams of tears flow from your eyes when you observe those around you who are hostile towards the Savior they do not know personally.

Psalm 119:97-120 Find time alone with God

What is it about God’s Word that the psalmist is so enamored with?  Answer: he has a personal relationship with God.  If we were to characterize this relationship as a two-way street, one side is the psalmist’s side of the street lined with worldly buildings and distractions, and the other, God’s side of the street.  So what is it about God’s side of the street that makes the psalmist want to cross over and devote himself completely? (Hint: did you have a best friend in your youth?  Was being able to stay at their house the best and most exciting thing ever?)

book-863418_960_720These three stanzas of Psalm 119 highlight the importance of finding time alone with God in prayer and Bible study.

(97) Your law – The God given Law is found in the Old Testament.  God have us his son, Jesus, in the New Testament.  The Word became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14).  (98) Makes me wiser – the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10).  (99) I have more insight – those who sit at the feet of Christ often have more insight than Doctors of Divinity (Charles Spurgeon).  (100) I have more understanding – Trust in God with your heart and don’t rely on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).  A regular time of private devotion also yields guidance (101), learning (102), and a hunger for more (103); an example being to your favorite food that tastes so good you can’t get enough of it.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.  Psalm 119:105

In the next stanza God’s word lights my path (105), preserves my life (107), is my heritage  (111), and gives me hope (112).  If so much joy and happiness can be found spending time alone with God, why would we ever want to return to our worldly side of the street?  Spurgeon reminds us that, “We are walkers through the city of this world, and we are often called to go out into the darkness; let us never venture there without the light-giving word.”

The third stanza uses language one would find of a war being carried out in enemy territory.  (113) I hate double-minded people (frivolous, indulgent, worldly thinkers).  (114) God is our refuge and shield.  We must remember to wear the whole armor of God against the enemy (Ephesians 6).  (116) God’s word sustains and upholds us and is proven. (120) He alone is the right (true) one to worship.

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Matt Chandler offers three points for those who have a relationship with God, addressing our need to find alone time with him.  (1) Staying connected carries us through life’s ups and downs.  (2) When we remain near to God, it leads to a sustaining love. (3) We produce fruit when we stay connected.  Staying connected allows us to be transformed by him (Romans 12:1,2) and enables us to make a difference in the world in which we live (our side of the street).

“We are walkers through the city of this world, and we are often called to go out into the darkness; let us never venture there without the light-giving word.” C. Spurgeon

Psalm 119:65-80 Finding purpose in affliction

little-girl-1611352_960_720(65) You have dealt with me – I take it as a statement of gratitude. Some days, it’s a wonder God chooses to deal with us at all.  (66) Teach me good judgment – who or what have I misjudged lately?

(67) Before I was afflicted I went astray  – “Often trials act as a thorn hedge to keep us in good pasture; but our prosperity is a gap [in the hedge] through which we go astray.” (Charles Spurgeon).

(68) Teach me – how willing are we to learn from God?  Their heart is as fat as grease – we know a fatty heart is a recipe for a medical disaster.  What about our spiritual heart (pride)?  (71) It is good that I was afflicted – in this case affliction led to restoration, looking back the psalmist deemed that good.

(73) Your hands made me – God knows everything about us.  (75) I know your judgments are right – how much do we trust God’s judgment? (76) Comfort – God is able to help me in times of my affliction. (80) Which is more important, to be held in high esteem by man or God?

Matt Chandler’s video series on this portion of Psalm 119 highlights when we are afflicted, God is not an ambulance driver wringing his hands or trying to figure out what he is going to do.  Instead he is more like a surgeon.  Spiritual Surgery during affliction is God’s tool for cutting away things that may harm us in the long run.  For the Christian there is a redemption (purpose) to be found in suffering.

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“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  Romans 8:28 NLT

Psalm 119:49-64 The Lord is my Portion

god-2012104_960_720Two themes rise to the surface in verses 49-56 of Psalm 119.  The first theme dwells on remembrance.  The psalmist is not asking for God for some new promise.  He is standing on an existing one.   He is not saying, “remember all I have done for you, God,” rather he is asking God to remember his promise.  As Christians we need to remind ourselves of the promise of the empty grave that once held our Savior!  Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection we can experience the forgiveness of sins  and have the promise of eternal life.

The second theme that emerges in this section is one of comfort.  Comfort comes from knowing who or what you believe in.

A worldly person clutches his wallet and proclaims, “this is my comfort.” A drunkard lifts his glass and sings, “this is my comfort.” A man of God grounded in the Word of God testifies, “this is my comfort,” for he personally knows who it is he believes in. (Charles Spurgeon)

sunrise-1756274_960_720The next section of the Psalm (57-64) opens with, “the Lord is my Portion.”  As Matt Chandler puts it, “God is enough, he is BIG enough!”  We don’t serve an ancient, obsolete God.  He is actively at work in the world he created.  Chandler provides four points that highlight why God is big enough, even in times of suffering.

  • God is gracious and kind
  • The testimonies of God are faithful
  • God is always available
  • God has given us people of God as companions

(56) Remember God – how often do your thoughts dwell on God? Weekly? Daily? Hourly?  He is a God who comforts.

(57) Remind yourself at least a dozen times today, “the Lord is my portion.”  (God is enough, he is BIG enough!”

 

Psalm 119:33-48 Cause Me

(33) “Follow it to the end” – this section of the 119th Psalm speaks about finishing well.  God’s help is needed for us to stay the course and finish well.  (37) “Turn my eyes” – our eyes have an appetite, we need to guard what they are focusing on.  (41) “Thy salvation” –  deliverance from the evil that is revealed to us in God’s word.  (48) “I will lift up my hands” – how many of us can say that we reach out  for God’s word like a child reaches for a gift (Spurgeon).

Matt Chandler in his video series on Psalm 119 titles this section, “Cause Me.”  Our prayers should reflect two ideas: (1) to love what is good (give me an appetite for God’s Word) and (2) to hate what is evil (my selfishness can be a source of evil).  Studying God’s word positions us to do both.

My prayer: Cause me to be certain of my faith, cause me to be thirsty for Your word and cause me to finish well.-Let anyone who is thirsty (2)