Psalm 119 has the distinction of being the longest chapter in the Bible, consisting of 176 verses. It is divided into twenty-two sections, each composed of eight verses and each beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The psalm is a beautiful tribute to the word of God, with all but six verses making direct reference to God’s word. Even those six verses (84, 90, 121, 122, 132, and 149) are tied to statements of tribute to the word of the Lord.
In emphasis of the multifaceted nature of God’s word, various terms are used to describe it. In this matchless psalm the word of the Lord is referred to as law, commandments, statutes, ordinances, judgments, testimonies, and precepts. (Note: For those who in recent decades have come up with what they believe to be a “more enlightened way” of reading and understanding the word of God, it would be good for them to pay attention to how the Holy Spirit Himself described God’s word!) David wrote about half of the 150 psalms that make up this Old Testament book, but whether he penned Psalm 119 is not known. The Holy Spirit guided whoever the human penman may have been (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21).
Much could be said about this beautiful piece of divine literature. My friend, Robert R. Taylor, wrote a 318 page book on the 119th Psalm and gifted me with a copy of it back in 2007. In a period of 27 years, I was privileged to work with Robert in six gospel meetings in Ripley, TN where he preached for over 30 years. Without comment on my part I invite my readers to consider these sparkling “gems” from this marvelous tribute to the word of God.
“You have commanded us to keep your precepts diligently” (V. 4).
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed to Your word” (V. 9).
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (V. 11).
“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (V. 18)
“You rebuke the proud—the cursed, who stray from your command-ments” (V. 21).
“Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness” (V. 36).
“Indignation has taken hold of me because of the wicked who forsake Your law” (V. 53).
“Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe Your commandments” (V. 66).
“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven” (V. 89).
“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (V. 97).
“How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey in my mouth! (V. 103).
“Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (V. 104).
“You reject all those who stray from Your statutes, for their deceit is falsehood” (V. 118).
“Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way” (V. 128).
“The entrance of Your word gives light; it give understanding to the simple” (V. 130).
“Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law” (V. 136).
“Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it” (V. 140).
“I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your word” (V. 147).
“My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word” (V. 148).
“Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Your statutes” (V. 155).
“I see the treacherous, and am disgusted, because they do not keep Your word” (V. 158).
“The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (V. 160).
“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (V. 165).
“My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all your commandments are righteousness” (V. 172).
“I long for Your salvation, O Lord, and Your law is my delight” (V. 174).
Hugh Fulford, June 25, 2019
- June 26: Shackle Island Church of Christ, Hendersonville, TN
- June 30: Shackle Island Church of Christ, Hendersonville, TN