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.
Psalm 119:153-160 Resh “Considerate Faith”
Verses 153-155 appeal for God to consider a believers’ personal effort;
Verses 156-158 appeal for God to recognize a believer’s personal devotion;
Verses 159-160 appeal for God to see a believer’s personal heart.
Verses 153-155: (Verse 153) God is considerate (Nehemiah 9:32-33). “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’ Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?” (Proverbs 24:11-12) God “considers” both the obedient and the disobedient. God considers the “affliction” of one who does “not forget” His “law” (words pointing the straight path), and “delivers.” (Verse 154) Believers who sin (1 John 1:6-2:3) must have representation before God, Who will “redeem” (apply the price for) and “revive” (refresh, renew the effort) them. (Verse 155) “Statutes” (words tracing out right) keep clear who is “wicked,” because they do not seek them, but the “righteous” are mindful of them. “Salvation” is kept far from “the wicked” (Mark 16:15-16).
Verses 156-158: (Verse 156) God is the Father of “mercies” (2 Corinthians 1:3) which motivate Christians to become living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). His “mercies” (plural) are both “Great” (in forgiving the penitent) and “tender” (in helping the penitent), and Christians should imbed these (Colossians 4:12). (Verse 157) Christians cannot expect the same from “the wicked,” who become “persecutors” (with verbal taunting, physical abuse, or social ostracizing) and “enemies” (adversaries like Satan). “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:3-5). (Verse 158) Those who “do not keep” God’s Word become “treacherous” (and should be avoided, Ephesians 5:11-13) and are “disgusted” (abhorred, loathed, like Lot, 2 Peter 2:7-8) by the faithful.
Verses 159-160: (Verse 159) While God is “considering” wicked hearts, His “precepts” (words that highlight what’s right) also “revive” a loving heart with His “lovingkindness.” “Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23-24). (Verse 160) Total confidence in God is produced by studying “the entirety” of God’s Word, for it is always “truth” and “every one” of His “judgments” are right, “forever.”
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.