Psalm 119:161-176 (NIV)
The final verses of the great Psalm 119.
ש Sin and Shin
Rulers persecute me without cause,
but my heart trembles at your word.
I rejoice in your promise
like one who finds great spoil.
Matthew 13:45-46 (NKJV)
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
I hate and detest falsehood
but I love your law.
Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous laws.
Great peace have those who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
“Shalom is a large, embracing word for the good that comes to the one God favors.”
–James Montgomery Boice
I wait for your salvation, Lord,
and I follow your commands.
“I wait for your salvation” is faith. “I follow your commands” is works. Here is what James proclaims later in the New Testament. Faith and works go together.
I obey your statutes,
for I love them greatly.
I obey your precepts and your statutes,
for all my ways are known to you.
May my cry come before you, Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.
This is very much the same kind of thought the Apostle Paul expressed in Romans 12:-2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. The Psalmist wanted his understanding of life and the world shaped – transformed – by the word of God.
May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
The hymnist tells us that
“Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”
Scripture tells us that the oceans roar and the trees clap their hands!
Surely our mouths should not keep silence! (see next verse)
May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, Lord,
and your law gives me delight.
These two expressions go together. Because God’s salvation is from and according to His word (1 Peter 1:23), it was natural for him to delight in God’s word as he longed for God’s salvation.
Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.
The Psalm ends on the reminder that the power and greatness of God’s word does not rest only in its literary brilliance. Its greatness and glory is in the fact that God comes to us and seeks us in and through His word.
The last verse takes me back to another great psalm! HERE is Ralph Carmichael’s “The New Twenty-Third,” sung by the Faith Alumni Chorale.
New International Version (NIV)
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