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.
He Psalm 119:33-40 Living Faithfully “To The End”
Verses 33-35 picture a heart open to God’s Word;
Verses 36-37 mention some pitfalls to be avoided;
Verses 38-40 express the on-going need of help from God.
Verses 33-35: (Verse 33) Any education must begin with a student who realizes the need for information, and “statutes” (lines laid down to mark-off life’s limits) make the way of knowledge clear. There is no degree or graduation in this education, only obedience “to the end,” presumably, of life. (Verse 34) God gives more “understanding” as we study and “keep” His “law” (direction) with our “whole heart,” a desire to learn, for knowledge cannot be forced. “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). (Verse 35) If we have been taught, and understand what God wants, the “Make me” simply shows an eagerness to put it into practice, because the student sees the “delight in it.”
Verses 36-37: (Verse 36) The heart must remain tilted (“inclined”) toward God’s “testimonies” (words about the beyond, God’s part in our salvation), and not lean toward “covetousness” (desire for the forbidden stronger than faith in God’s way). Jesus said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). The best person is NOT the one who dies with the most: clothing, sexual partners, fame, lands, money, power, “gods,” fans, or bastard children! Notice, the medicine for a covetous heart is leaning away from such toward God’s Bible! (Verse 37) Whatever becomes the heart’s ambition that points away from God’s “way” is defined as “worthless things.” A worthless person is described in Proverbs 6:12-15. “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8). This lapse back into nothingness is cured by being “Revived” (brought back to life), or returning to God’s “way.”
Verses 38-40: (Verse 38) To be “established” means placed back upon the firm ground of Bible study, and will be done by one who will “fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). (Verse 39) The false condemnation from others can be discouraging, but is cancelled by returning to God’s “good” “judgments” (decisions about the obedient and the disobedient!). (Verse 40) One “longs for” (desires to live with) God’s “precepts” (clarifications or descriptions designed to help), which are “righteousness” (always right, clean, holy, wholesome).
Thought: People who expect God to miraculously intervene, the Holy Spirit to spiritually overwhelm, or Jesus Christ to immediately change their heart and make it better should re-read this section many times. God has placed all such transforming power within His Word, and it works only in those who are “diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.