Bible Devotions

Seven Wonders

on December 17, 2007

 

Read Psalm 119.

 

As I read Psalm 119 over and over, I started to see many things appear.  Let’s take a look the seven wonderful themes revealed in this section of scripture.  Read the psalm with me. 

 Reflecting on God

The psalmist writes 55 positive affirmations of God, His Word and His Character throughout this psalm.   This is a good example for us to follow too.  We need reminding of how big God really is to keep our problems in the proper perspective.  A several times the psalmist seems overly occupied with his thoughts about his difficulties and the wicked men around him.  During these times, he pens wonderful things as he realizes God is in control.  For example:

“The proud have dug pits for me…All your commandments are faithful.”

“Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law.  Righteous are You O Lord, and upright are Your judgments.”

“I see the treacherous and am disgusted because they don’t keep your word.  The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”

 

Did you notice each time his mind focused on man, he pulled himself out of it by choosing to focus on God instead.  How beautiful!

 Following God’s Commands

The writer stresses the importance of following God’s commands by using words such as keep, kept, cling and observe 29 times in this psalm.  For example:

“To keep Your percepts diligently.”

“I shall observe it with my whole heart.”

“But now I keep Your word.”

“Because I keep Your percepts.”

“That I will keep Your righteous judgments.”

 

Remember at the time this psalm was written they had The Ten Commandments and a plethora of man-made laws added to it.  God said “Keep the Sabbath” and man added over 600 explanatory laws to “help” people keep the Sabbath, but all it did was make it harder to keep.  That seems like a lot of pressure, if you ask me.  Man can make up many rules and regulations, but one thing is for sure “rules with out relationship results in rebellion”, as our pastor always says.

 

Directing One’s Self

Twenty-eight times the psalmist uses “I will” statements as if to tell himself he is planning to stay on this path.  The future tense of these statements seems to reinforce his idea or his plan to follow God.  Below are some examples:

“I will never forget Your precepts.”

“But I will meditate on Your precepts.”

“But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.”

“I will delight myself in Your commandments.”

“I will walk at liberty.”

“I will speak of Your testimonies.”

 

Having a goal or commitment is definitely a good thing.  These “I will” statements are mini-proclamations of his desire to follow God.  We need to remember we can’t follow Him by our own strength or will power.  We need His Holy Spirit in us to guide us in all truth and help us live for Him.

 

Recounting Your Good Works

With almost the same quantity, the writer uses the past tense “I have” statements as he examines the good he has already done.  Some examples are:

“I have done justice and righteousness.”

“Yet I have not strayed from Your precepts.”

“I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes.”

 

While there is nothing wrong about reminiscing over good you have done, we do need to be careful our thoughts do not turn into a prideful account of “Look how good I am”. We can not be righteous in our own power.  Our righteousness is like “filthy rags” in God’s sight.

 

Meditating on God’s Word

A good anecdote to the problem of pride is to stay in God’s Word.  This could be one reason the psalmist mentions he will meditate, consider, incline or contemplate God’s Word 14 times.   Knowing God’s Word is truth and actively taking it in to ponder it, examine it, and consider the impacts of it are two different things.  Any time something is repeated means it is important.  We meditate on God’s Word to keep His truth firmly planted in our mind.  Listen to what the psalmist says:

“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.”

“So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.”

“It is my meditation all the day.”

 

Thinking about God’s Word is how we take it in and let it sink deep within our hearts.  Considering the impact of God’s Word in our life is how we implement what we’re learned.

 

Delighting in God’s Commandments

Fifteen times the psalmist references delight, rejoice or long for God’s Word.  Reading God’s Word has this affect.  Hear the joy the psalmist experienced:

“But I delight in Your law.”

“Unless Your law had been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”

“Behold I long for Your precepts.”

“For Your law is my delight.”

“I rejoice at Your Word, as one who finds great treasure.”

 

God’s Word penetrates our heart and touches us at our core.  It instructs, corrects, trains, and comforts us in our troubles.  There is nothing like the Word of God! 

 

Accepting Our Weakness

The last verse of this psalm sums it all up for me.  “Let my soul live and I shall praise You; and let Your judgments help me.  I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commands.”

 

The psalmist acknowledges God is in control and it’s His Word that helps him.  Notice he also acknowledges his own weakness.  This is critical for us too.  We are all like lost sheep.  No matter how many times we say “I will” do what God wants our will is not strong enough to make us carry it out.  The psalmist recognizes this and puts it in God’s hands when he says “seek your servant”.  For it truly is God in us working to act and will us on God’s path.

 

Let’s recap what we’ve studied so far.  If our focus is on circumstances/troubles we are overwhelmed.  The solution is to remind ourselves of God and His all powerful ways.  If we try to keep God’s commands through will power alone we fail.  Even if we recount our good works, they are nothing but rags unless done by the power of the Holy Spirit in us.  The solution lies within God’s Word.  With the help of the Holy Spirit unlocking this treasure, we can accomplish all God prepared for us to do.  The result: God is honored and His Word is cherished more than sliver and gold.

 

How about you?  Did you enjoy reading Psalm 119 with me?  I hope so. 

 

Lord Jesus, thank you for your rich word leading us into everlasting life.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to your truth.  Helps us live for you this day.  In your precious name we pray, Amen.  

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.


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