Of all the Psalms
119 is the Psalm that is the
most amazing, most practical, and
most obviously God given.
Psalm 119 is a beautiful and remarkable psalm.
This psalm is the longest psalm in the Bible with 176 verses.
Many people do not know that Psalm 119 is written in ABC order.
The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. In Psalm 119 the first 8 verses begin with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet – which is Aleph. The next 8 verses all begin with the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The next 8 verses all begin with the third letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This pattern continues for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet throughout the entire psalm.
Because of its ABC order, its beauty and its practical teachings - this psalm is one of the most dramatic examples of the hand of God. I have often pondered how difficult it would be to write something this meaningful in ABC order. No one but God could write Psalm 119. This is one of the many proofs I point to when someone says that the Bible was written by men only and not by God.
I am going to highlight parts of Psalm 119 and make comments. I especially love this psalm in The Living Translation, and so I’m going to use that translation today.
“Happy are all who perfectly follow the laws of God. Happy are all who
search for God and always do his will. Rejecting compromise with evil and walking only in his paths.”
Rejecting compromise with evil – that is what God wants us to do. It reminds me of Proverbs 10:10 which says: “Winking at sin leads to sorrow but bold reproof leads to peace.” Many Christians are living their life as close to sin as they can get… without actually sinning. That is not the will of God. That is winking at sin. Psalm 119 tells us to reject compromising with evil. In the book of James chapter 1 verse 22, God tells us that this message of God is a message to obey not just to listen to. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us that if we love him, we will obey him. That is found in John 14:24. We see God reaffirm this idea in the next verse which is verse 4 which says, “You have given us your laws to obey.” It is obvious in these first few verses and throughout all of the verses of Psalm 119 – that this psalm is clearly about reverence, respect and dedication for God’s word.
Verses 4 - 11 “You have given us your laws to obey oh, how I want to follow them consistently. Then I will not be disgraced, for I will have a clean record. After you have corrected me I will thank you by living as I should! I will obey! Oh, don't forsake me and let me slip back into sin again. How can a young man stay pure? By reading your Word and following its rules. I have tried my best to find you - don't let me wander off from your instructions. I have thoughts much about your words, and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin.”
In those verses, the psalmist shows his love for the word of God. He shares that he has memorized much of the word of God. He lets us know that this will keep him more obedient toward God.
We see again that this psalm has a great love for God’s laws and his commands.
Recently in the Christian world there have been many teachers and preachers who have taken the message of grace and used grace to water down all the verses in the Old and New Testament about obedience to God.
Jesus never meant for us to be indifferent toward sin. He never meant for us to disregard or downplay our sins. He never meant for us to be lukewarm in our obedience to the commands of the Bible.
In Matthew, the first recorded word(s) of Jesus
as he was preaching was “Repent.”
The first word(s) of Jesus as an adult in Mark was “Repent.”
Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more.
These are a few of the myriad of verses in the Old and New Testament about rejecting sin.
God takes sin very seriously.
Note that I am very grateful to God that forgiveness is available to us. I am very thankful that we have verses like 1 John 1:9 which says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. I need the forgiveness of God daily. I need God’s gift of grace.
But I refuse to let 1 John 1:9 make me disrespectful about the importance of doing my best to obey the commands of God.
Yes, God IS love……… but God’s love doesn’t dismiss obedience.
God expects us to make a serious effort to be obedient to him.
God was not careless in how he drew the lines of morality,
and may we not be careless in how we interpret his commands.
Obedience is a main message of every book in the Bible.
The New Testament doesn’t present grace as an excuse to sin.
Romans 6:1 says,
“What shall we say then?
Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.”
At this point in the teaching, I encourage you to read Psalms 119 verses 12 - 24.
Notice verse 25 it tells us that the Word of God is a needed answer to discouragement.
Skipping to verse 28 we see it tells us that the Word of God is a needed answer to sorrow and grieving.
The first part of verse 29 says, “Keep me far from every wrong.”
Here again we see this attitude of respect for God’s commands. I will add that it also implies that we are to seek to please God in everything we do.
Life is not about trying to get away with something. It is about creating a great relationship with God and desiring to please him. God delights in us and he wants us to delight in him.
Verses 29-30 “Keep me far from every wrong; help me, undeserving as I am, to obey your laws for I have chosen to do right.”
Verse 30 ends with the words - “I have chosen to do
Each one of has a mind, will, and emotions. Have you
chosen in your will to do God’s will?
The psalmist models for us to say the words: “For I have chosen to do right.” It is important for us to firmly make a commitment to God to choose to do right. Even if our society thinks differently – even if people make fun of us or shun us. To make sure we stay firmly committed to Christ, we have to make a conscious commitment to not let the opinions of others sway us away from what the Bible says.
Verse 31 says, “I cling to your commands and follow them as closely as I can. Lord don't let me make a mess of things.”
Verse 32 says, “If you would only help me to want your will I will follow your laws even more closely.”
This inspires a great prayer to pray, "Lord help me to want your will!”
Verses 33 - 35 say, “Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord. As long as I live I'll wholeheartedly obey. Make me walk along the right paths for I know how delightful they really are.”
Sometimes it helps us spiritually to remember that we are children of God, and as children we do not know everything. Sometimes we don’t view God’s laws as delightful. But here the psalmist is stating that he understands that when he is given more wisdom, he will later realize how delightful and right the laws of God really are.
Verse 36 is very important for each of us,
“Help me to prefer obedience to making money! ”
Every verse in Psalm 119 is a wisdom diamond.
But I will end this teaching by highlighting two short verses:
“Nothing is perfect except your words.”
“Give me common sense to apply your rules to everything I do.”
I urge you to consider re-reading and meditating on Psalm 119.
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