It is fitting that the greatest tribute to the Word of God is IN the Word of God, itself, and is in the longest chapter of the Word of God! This Psalm has no author’s name, historical incident, or other distraction from its theme. It is divided into 22 sections (one for every letter in the Hebrew alphabet), each consisting of 8 lines, each line beginning with the alphabet letter of that section (aleph is the first letter of each line under the aleph section, for instance). The chapter uses some 8-10 different words to describe the Word of God, each bringing something extra to the total picture of the Word of Truth. In order to savor the depth and richness of teaching in this Psalm, we will examine each portion as if it were its own chapter.
Beth: Cleansing One’s Way
Verses 9-12: (Verse 9a) “A young man” who sins can become an old man who sins, so to enjoy our “golden years” we must clean up our act when “young.” “Cleanse” indicates a life that has become “dirty,” not one that needs no clean-up! Also note that each individual is responsible for cleaning up one’s own life, not blame others (parents, teachers, employers, friends, family) for failings. The cleansing comes by: (Verse 9b) “heeding” God’s “word;” (verse 10) whole heartily seeking God; holding to God’s “commandments;” (verse 11) hiding God’s “word” in one’s “heart.” (Verse 11) Hiding God’s Word in our heart simply means we have embedded its teachings in our thinking. God never promises that we cannot sin, but that we will find the continual practice of sin inconsistent with obeying His Word. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness;” “Whoever abides in Him does not sin;” “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:4, 6, 9). It is impossible for a child of God to consistently practice sin, and at the same time, consistently practice righteousness: “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6). (Verse 12) God “teaches” through “statutes” (lines showing limits of what is acceptable to God). He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Verses 13-16: One who is obedient: (verse 13) cannot keep silent, but vocally teach and acknowledge the “judgments” (right or wrong decisions) from God’s “mouth;” (verse 14) must “rejoice” (be happy with life’s new direction) in God’s “testimonies” (witnesses to God’s character and concern), considering them “riches;” (verse 15) “meditate” (focus upon) on God’s “precepts” (notice or care about one’s conduct); “contemplate” (center attention upon) God’s “ways” (direction); (verse 16) “delight” (take pleasure, leap for joy) in God’s “statutes” (clear lines proscribing what is pleasing to God); making it such a part of one’s thought and conduct will make it impossible to “forget” God’s “word” (language which conveys exactly what God desires us to do.
Thought: Isn’t this exactly what the New Testament shows happened in Acts 2:38-41? “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’ 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.