Just to keep things interesting — we will be looking at sections of Psalm 119 while we are also reading through Jeremiah.
Psalm 119 is both the longest psalm and, at 176 verses, the longest chapter in the Bible. It is the prayer of a person who delights in God’s word and wants to live according to it. Included in almost every verse is a synonym for Scripture, such as precepts, or commands, or statutes.
This psalm is an acrostic poem, the stanzas of which begin with the 22 successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet; moreover, the 8 verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. For this reason, this chapter is known as the Golden Alphabet of the Bible.
Thinking of alphabets reminds me of what Jesus said in Revelation 1:8 — “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” These words, of course, are the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet.
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
How many people in our world today think that following God’s law is boring or irrelevant. Yet this psalm teaches us over and over again that true joy and fulfillment and peace are found in obedience to God.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
“‘Shame’ is the fruit of sin; confidence is the effect of righteousness.”
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.
9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
“I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified.”
When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he recited Scripture from memory and put Satan to flight (Matthew 4:1-11).
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.
“The word delight is very emphatical: evetva eshtaasha, I will skip about and jump for joy.”
The Christian ABC song — did you learn it as a child, too? This cutie starts singing about 30 seconds in. Click HERE to enjoy!
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.