Book #5: 107-150, cont’d.
Psalm 119:105-112-The Psalmist says God’s word directs his every step. God's word is like a lamp that shows directly where his feet are walking and a light that extends out further (:105). And, that despite being "afflicted" (:107), and his life being "continually in my hand" (:109-meaning that because of the dangerous situation he was in he had to constantly hold on to it with a firm grip), and the wicked laying a "snare" for him (:110)...he will always follow God's law. It is God’s law that bring joy to his life (:111-112).
Psalm 119:113-120-The Psalmist says that it is God's law that keeps him from being "double-minded" (means ambivalent, half-hearted) like others (:113). He tells those who would cause him to be less faithful to stay away from him (:115). He asks God to keep him strong in the face of these adversaries (:116-117). God rejects those who are faithless and “wander” away from Him (:118-119). David says that his reverence for God is so intense that it causes his body to shake (:120).
Psalm 119:121-128-The Psalmist reminds God that he has "done justice and righteousness"…meaning that he has followed His law (:121) and then asks Him to be the “surety” (guarantee, assurance) of safety for him when his opponents attack (:122). However, he bases God’s benevolence towards him not on himself, but on God’s lovingkindness (:124).
Psalm 119:129-136-The Psalmist says that God’s word gives “light…understanding” even to those who are not well educated (:130). He requests that God give him understanding of His word so that he will not fall into sin (:133). He asks God to “Make Thy face shine upon Thy servant”…meaning that God will be pleased with him (:135). Any time that he realizes that he is not keeping God’s law it causes him to cry (:136).
Psalm 119:137-144-The Psalmist says that God is “righteous”. The word “righteous” comes from a root word that means “straight, rigid”…not crooked in shape, bendable, or deviating. When an archer would look for a stick to make an arrow or a lance from he would look for one that was “righteous”.
- Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon,
He then says that God’s judgments are “upright” (:137)…a word that also means “straight” (meaning that God’s word is in keeping with God’s nature)…and that God them for the purpose of upholding His righteousness (:138). The Psalmist says that even though he is insignificant when compared to other people, it is his “zeal” for God's word that sets him apart (:138-141). Difficulties and struggles come and go…but the righteousness of God’s word never changes (:142-144).
Psalm 119:145-152-The Psalmist expresses how much he desires to read, know, and follow God's words. He rises early, before the sun has risen (before the time of day when normal work hours begin) to pray and read God’s word. And then later, he can hardly wait to get home after a day of work that he may again “meditate” (to study, ponder, question so as to discover meaning and application) on it (:145-148).
The word “meditate” comes from an ancient root word that means “to produce, to put forth, to bring forth”…in particular of a plant that germinates and then flourishes and spreads, putting out shoots and buds. When one meditates on God’s word he is allowing its truth to take root in his heart and to then flourish, putting out shoots of application into life.
- Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon,
He asks God to protect him from those practice wickedness. They “draw near” to him…coming close to affecting him. But God is already “near” and has a greater influence (:149-151). The wicked and their false teachings are newcomers…but God and His truth have been around “forever” (this word speaks of continual existence, perpetual, indefinite, :152).
Psalm 119:153-160-The Psalmist calls upon God to “rescue” him from his attackers (:153), to “redeem” him from his accusers, and to “revive” him according to His word (:154). He is in quite a difficult situation and recognizes that his only hope is God’s intervention. Despite what may be happening he continues to follow God’s word (:155-158). And once again, though he reminds God of his own faithfulness…it is God’s lovingkindness that is the basis of his plea (:159). At the end of the day, the basis for his life is the fact that God’s word is true and never changes (:160).
Psalm 119:161-168-The Psalmist says that even though princes persecute him...he will continue to keep God's word (:161-163). He says, “seven times a day I praise Thee” (:164). While we may just take this at face value and say that seven times each day he gave praise to God…it is more likely that he was using the word “seven” in a common manner found in the Bible…in which the number “seven” is an expression of completeness. In this instance he would be saying that all day long he gives praise to God. When we love God’s law we have peace because we know that it rules above all things, there is nothing that is stronger or more powerful than it is (:165).
Psalm 119:169-176-The Psalmist mentions four ways that he calls upon God...
- “cry”…this word speaks of a joyful sound, a shout for joy (:169)
- "supplication”…this word speaks of asking for mercy and favor (:170)
- "praise" (:171)…the root word in Hebrew (halal) means “to make something appear to shine, to boast about something”…
Here is an interesting comment on the use of this Hebrew word (halal)…
(1) TO BE CLEAR, TO BE BRILLIANT…pr. Used of a clear, sharp tone or sound [“In Ethiopia the women on occasions of public rejoicing are accustomed to repeat the sounds ellellell-ellellell; whence to make ellell, is i.q. to rejoice…
Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon,
- "sing" (:172)…this word means “to testify, to respond as a witness”. Have you ever heard the phrase, “That jailbird is going to sing”…meaning that someone is going to tell what he knows? This word speaks of someone giving a testimony of what he has witnessed and knows about God.
He says through all these ways he has called upon the Lord to save him and that he has kept His word (:173). Finally, in this closing verse, the Psalmist says that he has drifted away from God like a sheep from its shepherd. He asks God to find him and bring him back…because even though he has drifted away, he still believes in God’s word (:176).
Prayer: Father, as I have traveled in other countries I have heard women say, “ellelllell-ellellell”. It sounded strange to my ears. I am not accustomed to the shrill way that they make the noise, nor did I know what it meant. But now, Lord…I see that it is just one more way to give praise to You. Help me to pray as the Psalmist…to shout joyfully about You…to ask for Your mercy…to give You praise…and to be a witness that brings You glory. What a glorious way to end this Psalm!