Book #5: 107-150, cont’d.
Psalm 119:49-56-The Psalmist says that God's law…
- revives him during times of affliction (:49-50)
- comforts him when others ridicule him (:51-52)
- calms him when he observes the wicked (:53-56).
Psalm 119:57-64-The word “portion” means “share, part, what has been allotted to him”. Sometimes, it is amazing to me, how much meaning and significance is to be found in one single word. Such is the case with the word “portion”…
- Spurgeon observed that this was "A broken sentence. The translators have mended it by insertions, but perhaps it had been better to have left it alone, and then it would have appeared as an exclamation, - ‘My portion, O Lord!'"
- "The psalmist is saying that, like the Levites, he wants his portion of divine blessing to be God himself since nothing is better and nothing will ever fully satisfy his or anyone else's heart but God himself. To possess God is truly to have everything." (Boice)
iii. We understand this is the broader context of Psalm 119. The LORD Himself is satisfaction to the Psalmist because God has come to him through His word. It isn't as if the word of God was in one place, and the Psalmist must go another place for experience of and satisfaction found in God. He can say, "You are my portion, O LORD, and I have received that portion as You meet me in Your word and I live it out."
- Thomas Brooks - quoted in Spurgeon - said that we could answer every temptation with the reply, "The Lord is my portion." If He truly is our portion, then we look for satisfaction of no carnal fulfillment.
- "He is an exceedingly covetous fellow to whom God is not sufficient; and he is an exceeding fool to whom the world is sufficient. For God is an inexhaustible treasury of all riches, sufficing innumerable men; while the world has mere trifles and fascinations to offer, and leads the soul into deep and sorrowful poverty." (Thomas Le Blanc, cited in Spurgeon)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Psalm 119,
The Psalmist says that the LORD is his priority in life (:57). He has prayed to God based on what God has revealed in His word (:58). When he learned what has written he immediately began to do it without delay (:59-60). He continued to be obedient to God’s word even when others try to convince him otherwise (:61). Even in his sleep he seeks to be obedient (:62). To strengthen his commitment he spends time with others who share in his resolve (:63). Everywhere that he looks he sees the love of God and asks that God reveal even more to him (:64).
Psalm 119:65-72-God has been patient with the Psalmist. He has done exactly what He has said He would do in His word (:65). The Psalmist has not always been obedient to God...but there came a point at which he began to do so and it changed him (:66-67). Those who did not follow God’s law see him do so and are envious. So, they have contrived a lie about him to make him look bad (:69-70). Previously, he had not followed God's law. But as a result, he had learned a valuable lesson. So that even the affliction proved to be beneficial for him (:71). There is nothing more valuable to him than God’s law (:72)
Psalm 119:73-80-He says that he knows that God made him and that He did so in such a way that his life should be lived in keeping with His law. So, he asks God to help him to understand His word even better (:73). When he is obedient...he is a witness and a model to others (:74-75). This is true even in times of affliction…which God may have intentionally allowed so that others would have the opportunity to see how a godly man should live and come to him for advice (:76-79).
Psalm 119:81-88-He is honest with God that there are times when his struggle seems to never end. Notice how he describes these times…
- My soul languishes (:81)…meaning that his life seems to hang by a thread
- My eyes fail (:82)…he has grown so weary that he struggles to maintain attention and awareness
- I have become like a wineskin in the smoke (:83)…
- I have become like a wineskin in smoke: The Psalmist felt weak, as if he were a fragile wineskin that had turned dry and made black with smoke. His soul and spiritual life felt dry.
- A wineskin in smoke was "Useless, shriveled, and unattractive because of being blackened with soot." (VanGermen) We don't know if the Psalmist said this about his inward condition, his outward condition, or both.
- "My natural moisture is dried and burnt up; I am withered, and deformed, and despised, and my case grows worse and worse every day." (Poole)
iii. Though this illustration speaks about the difficult nature of David's trial, it also speak to the character of the trial: "Our trials are smoke, but not fire; they are very uncomfortable, but they do not consume us." (Spurgeon)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Psalm 119, https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide_Psa/Psa_119.cfm?a=597057
He reminds God that he will not live forever (:84) and wonders how long this time of struggle will continue. There are those who continually persecute him. They spread lies about him and almost succeeded in their attempts (:85-87). Once again he calls upon God to treat him according to His lovingkindness (:88).
Psalm 119:89-96-He says that God's law is eternal and will never change (:89-91).
- Settled in heaven: The Psalmist also declared his belief that the word of God was exactly that - not the words of man, but the very words of God. He believed that the Scriptures come from heaven and not earth; from the LORD and not man.
- He believed what 2 Timothy 3:16 says; that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
- This means something more than saying that God inspired the men who wrote it, though we believe that He did; God also inspired the very words they wrote. We notice it doesn't say "All Scripture writers are inspired by God," even though that is true. Yet that statement doesn't go far enough. The words they wrote were breathed by God; Your word is settled in heaven.
iii. It isn't that God breathed into the human authors. That is true, but not what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16. He says that from heaven, God breathed out of them His Holy Word.
- We remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:18, that one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. The jot refers to yod (י), the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet; it looks like half a letter. The tittle is a small mark in a Hebrew letter, somewhat like the crossing of a "t" or the tail on a "y."
- The difference between bet (ב) and kaf (כ) is a tittle.
- The difference between dalet (ד) and resh (ר) is a tittle.
- The difference between vav (ו) and zayin (ז) is a tittle.
- These are small, tiny, almost insignificant differences - yet Jesus said that even these smallest differences would not pass away from God's word. He said that heaven and earth would sooner pass away than a yod or a tittle from the word of God. Truly, Your word is settled in heaven.
- Every preacher should especially be able to say, "Your word is settled in heaven." "They say that they are thinking out their doctrines. I would be greatly sorry to have to think out the road to heaven without the guiding star of heaven's grace or the map of the word. Not gospel-preachers but gospel-makers these men aspire to be, and their message comes forth, not as the gospel of the grace of God, but as the gospel of the imagination of men; a gospel concocted in their own kitchen, not taught them by the Holy Spirit. It is the reverse of being ‘settled in heaven,' it is not even settled in the mind of its inventor." (Spurgeon)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Psalm 119,
There were times when he was being afflicted that if he had not known this and trusted in the law that he would have given up (:92-95). The Psalmist says that despite the wonders of the created world, they have their limitations (:96a). But God’s word has no limitation (:96b).
- (Psa 119:96) The perfection of God's word.
I have seen the consummation of all perfection,
But Your commandment is exceedingly broad.
- I have seen the consummation of all perfection: The Psalmist considered the excellent things he has seen in this world. Perhaps he thought of the things of great natural beauty; the small things of intricate creation; the beauty of human love and care. Yet in looking at all these things, they have a consummation - in the sense of a limit or a barrier. The best things of this world only go so far.
- "He has considered all the perfections of things other than Jehovah Himself, that is, of created things; and has discovered their limits." (Morgan)
- "Of ‘all perfection' in this world, whether of beauty, wit, learning, pleasure, honour, or riches, experience will soon show us the ‘end.' But where is the end or boundary of the word of God?" (Horne)
- But Your commandment is exceedingly broad: Despite all the great and beautiful things of this world, something is greater still - the commandment of God, His revealed word to us. It is not limited as the things, even the great things of this earth are.
- It is before creation
- It is the sustainer of creation
- It will endure beyond all creation
- "He has found that stretching out beyond them, and enwrapping them all is the commandment of God." (Morgan)
- "This verse could well be a summary of Ecclesiastes, where every earthly enterprise has its day and comes to nothing, and where only in God and His commandments do we get beyond these frustrating limits." (Kidner)
iii. "Broad, or large, both for extent and for continuance; it is useful to all persons in all times and conditions, and for all purposes to inform, direct, quicken, comfort, sanctify, and save men; it is of everlasting truth and efficacy; it will never deceive or forsake those who trust to it, as all worldly things will, but will make men happy both here and for ever." (Poole)
- Strangely, many today think that the Bible is narrow. They think of themselves as exceedingly broad-minded people; yet they show little tolerance for those who disagree with them. God's word is indeed exceedingly broad, and it will make us broad-minded, broad-hearted, and tolerant in the best sense if we read and obey it. It will prevent us from being tyrants over others and to tolerate and love others even when their lives and thinking are decidedly against God and His word.
- The broad place is firm and safe standing for us. "Give me the plenary, verbal theory of biblical inspiration with all its difficulties, rather than the doubt. I accept the difficulties and I humbly wait for their solution. But while I wait, I am standing on rock." (J.C. Ryle, Anglican Bishop cited in Boice)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Psalm 119,
Psalm 119:97-104-The Psalmist declares his love for God’s law (:97). He talks about the benefits of meditating on the law. It gives him…
- wisdom that is greater than his enemies (:98)
- insight that exceeds even his teachers (:99)
- understanding that surpasses those that are much older (:100).
He says that he has faithfully been obedient to God’s law and has not strayed from it (:101-102). God’s law is as sweet to him as honey…meaning that it brings pleasure and satisfaction (:103-104).
Prayer: Father, help me to love Your word with the same passion and dedication as the Psalmist. Not just an emotional attachment…but a life of faithful obedience. Not just words…but deeds. Teach me to blessings of faithfully following Your word. Help me to understand and believe and practice Your word more and more each day. Help me to acknowledge that Your word is valuable since it is an extension of Your nature. Everything in Your word is true and trustworthy because You are true and trustworthy.