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 119:161-168 Shin God’s Awesome Word
Verses 161-165 show what effect God’s awesome Word has;
Verses 166-168 show what a soul does who sees how awesome God’s Word is.
Verses 161-165: (Verse 161) Those in authority may persecute a believer “without a cause,” otherwise known as religious persecution. The “higher ups” may include governments, judges, presidents, dictators, teachers, professors, or bosses, but the heart that “stands in awe of” God’s “word” cannot be downcast. (Verse 162) The believer “rejoices” (delights, thrills) in God’s Word, as if finding “great treasure.” Solomon used this point: “My son, keep my words, And treasure my commands within you” (Proverbs 7:1). Jesus used this point: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44). (Verse 163) When we “love” God’s “law” (which truthfully points to the straightway), then we “hate and abhor lying,” whether it comes through hypocrisy, false doctrines, lack of integrity, business, politics or conversation. (Verse 164) “Seven times a day” doesn’t refer to a specific number, but symbolizes how completely one is willing to “praise” God because of His “righteous judgments” (all His decisions are absolutely right!). (Verse 165) Those who love God’s “law” (as in verse 163) have “great peace” (serenity, calmness, Philippians 4:6-7) and “nothing” can make them “stumble.” “I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, And when you run, you will not stumble” (Proverbs 4:11-12).
Verses 166-168: (Verse 166) Because of the awesome contents of God’s Word, we know we are able to “do” His “commandments,” and “hope for” His “salvation.” (Verse 167) God’s “testimonies” (history of His dealing with man) make it plain that what He expects of us is do-able, and loveable. God’s awesome Word demonstrates His love for us, and can produce love from us in return. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:8-9). This is between “my soul” and God because His Word does open heart surgery (Hebrews 4:12). (Verse 168) God’s “precepts” highlight what is right, His “testimonies” show that He has always been right, therefore we may safely place our lives in His hands. “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.