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.
Gimel Psalm 119:17-24: “Finding One’s Way”
Verses 17-20: (Verse 17) This is a request for God’s blessings that they may give long life for keeping God’s word, a thought later taught by Paul (2 Corinthians 9:8-11). (Verse 18) This is a desire to be “wide awake” and not miss “wondrous things.” All of God’s miracles and might cause “wonder” (the impression on a human mind of “marvel”), so Jesus was to be called “Wonderful” (Isaiah 9:6) for His works. (Verse 19) To be “a stranger” is to be in an unfamiliar place, and need to know what to do, instructions which God’s “commandments” provide. Peter will use this term to help Christians know they must rely upon God’s Word (1 Peter 2:11-12). (Verse 20) The person whose heart bursts “with longing,” desire to know God’s decisions about right and wrong (“judgments”) “at all times,” makes it passionate, indeed.
Verses 21-23: (Verse 21) Recognizes God as unwavering because He doesn’t lower His standards to stroke the ego of those too “proud” to humbly obey Him! (Verse 22) States the other side of verse 21, and that is that God would “remove” the “reproach and contempt” the disobedient people would heap upon someone who obeys God. God’s “testimonies” are the proofs that God’s character is not tainted nor afraid of the wicked, which is His provision for one who has “kept” to God’s side of life. (Verse 23) “Princes” (the “proud” in possession of wealth and power, a.k.a. “government”) “sit and speak against me” (government laws never hold sway over God’s “statutes” (lines marking out the “playing field”), thus it is profitable to “meditate” on what is meaningful. This is echoed by the Apostles of Christ (Acts 4:4-20; 5:27-29; 12:1-5).
Verse 24: No matter what indignities may be brought upon one of God’s servants who now has become a “stranger” in any land (Matthew 28:18-20), no human can remove the “delight” of studying God’s “testimonies,” for in a confused, immoral, ungodly world, His Bible becomes “counselor” (“advisor, confidante, friend”).
Thought: The Bible is the only safe, proper, and true guide through life, and it is also much cheaper than psychologists, psychiatrists, prescriptions, friends’ free advice, or faux families!
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.