2219.) Psalm 119:49-64

November 2, 2017

Psalm 119:49-64   (NIV)

Just for a bit of variety — we will be looking at sections of Psalm 119 while we are also reading through Jeremiah.

“Surely it is significant that this intricate, finely crafted, single-minded love poem—the longest in the Bible—is not about marriage or children or food or drink or mountains or sunsets or rivers or oceans, but about the Bible itself. . . . Psalm 119 is the explosion of praise made possible by an orthodox and evangelical doctrine of Scripture.” 
~Kevin DeYoung

The particular stanzas here follow very similar themes:

Zayin (verses 49-56) could be summarized,

“Remember me, Lord, as I remember you and your word”

 Heth (verses 57-64) could be summarized,

 “I am keeping my promise, Lord, please keep your promise.”

~Peter Wallace

ז Zayin

49 Remember your word to your servant,
    for you have given me hope.

50 My comfort in my suffering is this:
    Your promise preserves my life.

51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully,
    but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, Lord, your ancient laws,
    and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked,
    who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song
    wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, Lord, I remember your name,
    that I may keep your law.

At night especially our sorrows press painfully upon the mind. The remembrance of the Lord’s “name” — i:e., His manifestation of Himself in acts as His people’s Deliverer–is at such seasons most consolatory. Of the time that others give to sleep, I gladly take a part to comfort myself with the remembrance of thy glorious name.

~commentary on Psalm 119 by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown

56 This has been my practice:
    I obey your precepts.

ח Heth

57 You are my portion, Lord;
    I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart;
    be gracious to me according to your promise.

59 I have considered my ways
    and have turned my steps to your statutes.

60 I will hasten and not delay
    to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
    I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks
    for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you,
    to all who follow your precepts.

The proverb says that “A man is known by the company he keeps.” We do well to choose friends who call us to live on the higher plane — more lovingly, more gracefully, more faithfully, more patiently, more joyfully. On the other hand, Jesus was known as “a friend of sinners.”But Jesus didn’t just hang out with drunks and loose women for the sake of a good party! Perhaps it is more accurate to say that sinners were drawn to Jesus, that Jesus gladly spent time with sinners who were open to his teaching, that Jesus forgave repentant sinners, and that Jesus embraced sinners who believed in him. Sinners like us can be known by the company we keep, especially if that company is our Savior, Jesus!

64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.



Verse 59  in three translations:

 I have considered my conduct,
and I promise to follow your instructions. (Good News)

I thought about my ways
and turned my feet toward your instruction. (CJB)

I thought very carefully about my life,
    and I decided to follow your rules.   (ERV)

They all are saying we should “direct our feet” and “turn” and “promise to follow” God’s Word. Here is Rich Mullins singing his “Step by Step.” I think it is a catchy number, so we could sing it all day long, thus directing our feet and turning our hearts to follow the Lord. Click  HERE  to listen and join in!

Sometimes the night was beautiful 
Sometimes the sky was so far away 
Sometimes it seemed to stoop so close 
You could touch it but your heart would break 
Sometimes the morning came too soon 
Sometimes the day could be so hot 
There was so much work left to do 
But so much You’d already done

Oh God, You are my God 
And I will ever praise You 
Oh God, You are my God 
And I will ever praise You 
I will seek You in the morning 
And I will learn to walk in Your ways 
And step by step You’ll lead me 
And I will follow You all of my days

Sometimes I think of Abraham 
How one star he saw had been lit for me 
He was a stranger in this land 
And I am that, no less than he 
And on this road to righteousness 
Sometimes the climb can be so steep 
I may falter in my steps 
But never beyond Your reach

And I will follow You all of my days 
And I will follow You all of my days 
And step by step You’ll lead me 
And I will follow You all of my days 
And I will follow You all of my days 
And I will follow You all of my days


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.

Images courtesy of:
I have thought about my life.    https://darlenecollazo.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/psalm-119-59.jpg
verse 50.    http://ourdailyblossom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/101211-590×393.jpg
I thought on my ways.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/b8144-ps2b119-592bturned2bmy2bfeet.jpg

2213.) Psalm 119:33-48

October 25, 2017

Psalm 119:33-48   The Message (MSG)

Just to keep things interesting — we will be looking at sections of Psalm 119 while we are also reading through Jeremiah.
In 1539, commenting on Psalm 119, Luther wrote, “In this psalm David always says that he will speak, think, talk, hear, read, day and night constantly—but about nothing else than God’s Word and Commandments. For God wants to give you His Spirit only through the external Word.” This phrase is extremely important. The “external Word” is the Book. And the saving, sanctifying, illuminating Spirit of God, he says, comes to us through this “external Word.”
~John Piper

33-40 God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.

P119 4 candles

Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
my whole life one long, obedient response.

“There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness.” 
~Eugene H. Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society

Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.

P119 worthless
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.

Each of us wrestles with the problem of inward purity. We might be able to put on a good show outwardly, but inwardly we are sinners by nature and we wage war against wrong thoughts, desires, and attitudes. Psalm 119 shows us God’s Word is essential for becoming pure in heart. 
~Steven J. Cole

Affirm your promises to me—
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!

41-48 Let your love, God, shape my life
with salvation, exactly as you promised;
Then I’ll be able to stand up to mockery
because I trusted your Word.
Don’t ever deprive me of truth, not ever—
your commandments are what I depend on.
Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me,
guard it now, guard it ever;
And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces
as I look for your truth and your wisdom;
Then I’ll tell the world what I find,
speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.

P119 I reach

I cherish your commandments—oh, how I love them!—
relishing every fragment of your counsel.

“The more we read the Bible, the stronger our faith becomes.
~Pope Pius X



The NIV has verse 34 as “Give me understanding, and I will keep your law / and obey it with all my heart.”  Here is the Oslo Gospel Choir singing “I give you my heart.”  Click  HERE  to listen.  Lord, have Your way in me.


2207.) Psalm 119:17-32

October 17, 2017

Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me . . .

Psalm 119:17-32   (NIV)

Just to keep things interesting — we will be looking at sections of Psalm 119 while we are also reading through Jeremiah.  

George Wishart was the Bishop of Edinburgh in the 17th century (not to be confused with another Scot by the same name who was martyred a century earlier). Wishart was condemned to death and would have been executed. But when he was on the scaffold he made use of a custom that allowed the condemned person to choose one psalm to be sung, and he chose Psalm 119. Before two-thirds of the psalm was sung, his pardon arrived and his life was spared!
~David Guzik

ג Gimel

17 Be good to your servant while I live,
that I may obey your word.
18 Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.

“Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes!”
~Leonardo da Vinci

“In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning.”
~Carl Sandburg

“Light only benefits one whose eyes are open.” 
~Matshona Dhliwavo

19 I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times.
21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
those who stray from your commands.
22 Remove from me their scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.
23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.

“The best way to deal with slander is to pray about it: God will either remove it, or remove the sting from it. Our own attempts at clearing ourselves are usually failures.”
~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

24 Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors.

ד Daleth

25 I am laid low in the dust;
    preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
    teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
    that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
    be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
    I have set my heart on your laws.

I like how Eugene Peterson puts verses 29-30 in The Message:

Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,

I post your road signs at every curve and corner.

31 I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
    do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
    for you have broadened my understanding.

In the beginning of the section he is clinging to the dust (verse 25); by the end he is clinging to God’s word. In the beginning he is laid low; now he is joyfully running with all his strength in the race God’s word sets before him.
~David Guzik



HERE  is an old one — “Open My Eyes, that I May See,” by Clara M. Scott. Scott was born in Illinois in 1841 and died in Iowa in 1897. In 1856, Scott attended the first Music Institute held by C.M. Cady in Chicago, Ill. By 1859, she was teaching music at the Ladies’ Seminary, Lyons, Iowa. She married Henry Clay Scott in 1861, and published in 1882 the Royal Anthem Book, the first volume of choir anthems published by a woman.

Horatio R. Palmer, an influential church musician in Chicago and later New York City, was a source of encouragement for Scott, and helped her publish many of her songs. Three collections were issued before her untimely death, when a runaway horse caused a buggy accident in Dubuque, Iowa.

  1. Open my eyes, that I may see
    Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
    Place in my hands the wonderful key
    That shall unclasp and set me free.
              Silently now I wait for Thee,
              Ready my God, Thy will to see,
              Open my eyes, illumine me,
              Spirit divine!
  2. Open my ears, that I may hear
    Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
    And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
    Everything false will disappear.
  3. Open my mind, that I may read
    More of Thy love in word and deed;
    What shall I fear while yet Thou dost lead?
    Only for light from Thee I plead.
  4. Open my mouth, and let me bear,
    Gladly the warm truth everywhere;
    Open my heart and let me prepare
    Love with Thy children thus to share.


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.

Images courtesy of:
open eye.   http://c559477.r77.cf2.rackcdn.com/images/articles/restorers-of-the-breach/open-mine-eyes.jpg
verse 18. Calligraphy by Tim Botts.   http://www.prestoimages.net/store30/rd183/183_pd2678828_1_psalm_119_18_timbotts.jpg
Truth.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/psalm119_30.jpg

2201.) Psalm 119:1-16

October 9, 2017

P119 alphabet blocks

Psalm 119:1-16   (NIV)

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.

א Aleph

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.

Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
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.”
~George Horne

I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.

ב Beth

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.”
~Charles Swindoll

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.”
~Adam Clarke



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.

Images courtesy of:
ABC blocks.    https://www.shutterstock.com/search/alphabet+blocks
Blessed.   http://www.myjustkids.com/uploads/1/0/5/3/10530993/3097197_orig.jpg
v. 11.   https://i.pinimg.com/736x/66/85/41/668541cffc4fc18140038f0436a62284–god-is-faithful-psalm-.jpg

2195.) Psalm 122

September 29, 2017
Let us go unto the house of the Lord!

Let us go unto the house of the Lord!

Psalm 122   (NRSV)

Song of Praise and Prayer for Jerusalem

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Psalm 122 carries the title, A Song of Ascents. Of David. It is one of the four Songs of Ascents that is specifically attributed to King David. He wrote it both for what Jerusalem was in his day, and for what it would become under his son and their successors. David perhaps never made pilgrimage from a great distance to one of the major feasts, but he wrote Psalm 122 in the voice of one who did, and who has arrived at the Holy City.

“David wrote it for the people to sing at the time of their goings up to the holy feasts at Jerusalem. It comes third in the series, and appears to be suitable to be sung when the people had entered the gates, and their feet stood within the city.” (Charles Spurgeon)

–David Guzik

I was glad when they said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Our feet are standing
    within your gates, O Jerusalem.

Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem

I lived in Jerusalem for the school year 1978-1979, working as an English teacher at the Anglican International School. (I remember in my 7th grade class; it was made up of 11 students who spoke 11 different languages at home; we all spoke English at school.) In addition to teaching, I also played the organ every week for the English speaking services at Redeemer Lutheran Church in the Old City.

My apartment was in Rehavia, a lovely section of the New City. So every Sunday morning I traveled (usually walked) to the Old City, through Jaffa Gate. I got into the habit of saying the first two verses of Psalm 122 whenever I entered the city on Sunday morning. And it is a habit I have kept up for all these years — most Sunday mornings, when I wake up and begin to get ready to go to church, I say these verses to myself.

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
 Our feet have stood
within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem—built as a city
    that is bound firmly together.

“During David’s reign and for some time thereafter, Jerusalem was a small city located on the crest of Mount Zion and Mount Moriah, bounded on two sides by steep descents to the Kidron and Tyropaeon valleys, and thus no more than half a mile in breadth. It had a dramatic setting for one approaching it from a distance, and its tight structure would have impressed anyone observing it.”

–James Montgomery Boice

To it the tribes go up,
    the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
    to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there the thrones for judgment were set up,
    the thrones of the house of David.

The grey dome on the right is part of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The tower on the right is the Lutheran church where I played organ.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    “May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
    and security within your towers.”
For the sake of my relatives and friends
    I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your good.

The name “Jerusalem” means city of peace. We pray for peace in the city of peace. The benediction of peace rests upon all who love the city of the Great King.

–William MacDonald



HERE  is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing “I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me”  by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918).


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Let us go unto the house of the Lord.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/47392-psalm-122.jpg
Jaffa Gate.   https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Jerusalem_Jaffa_Gate_BW_1.JPG
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/p122-pray-for-peace.jpg

2190.) Psalm 123

September 22, 2017

P123 v1

Psalm 123   (NRSV)

Supplication for Mercy

The scene is the land of captivity—an all-too-familiar setting for the oppressed people of Israel. They found themselves there in Egypt, in Babylon, in Nazi Germany, in the Warsaw ghetto and the Siberian slave-labor camps. Their urgent plea is for mercy. They pour out their prayer to the One who is their only refuge and security, to the Friend of the oppressed and downtrodden.

–William MacDonald

A Song of Ascents.

To you I lift up my eyes,
    O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
As the eyes of servants
    look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid
    to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
    until he has mercy upon us.

Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
    for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than its fill
    of the scorn of those who are at ease,
    of the contempt of the proud.

What is the most difficult thing in your life right now? What weighs you down? The most broken relationship? The most nagging fear? The part of you that feels hopeless or faithless? Read this psalm again with that in mind and ask God for mercy for you. Isaiah 30:18 says, Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.  Blessed are all who wait for him!



HERE  is Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant with “Lord, have mercy.”


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Have mercy on me.   https://i.pinimg.com/736x/f9/40/c5/f940c55c0ca9bc6f2e26920d58c0972a–psalm–bible-scriptures.jpg

2180.) Psalm 16

September 8, 2017

Psalm 16   (NRSV)

Song of Trust and Security in God

1Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

2I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

3As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight.

4Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names upon my lips.

5The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

6The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.

farm land in Minnesota

“boundary lines” — farm land in Minnesota

7I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

8I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.

10For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit.

16. resurrection butterfly Noyes

John 11:25-26 (ESV)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

11You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Pentecost Psalm

The apostle Peter quoted from this psalm while speaking to the crowd on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:22-32 (New Living Translation)

People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know.  But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.  But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.  King David said this about him:

‘I see that the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad,
and my tongue shouts his praises!
My body rests in hope.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
You have shown me the way of life,
and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’

Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us.  But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne.  David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave.

“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this.”



HERE  is Shane and Shane and “Psalm 16 (Fullness of Joy).”


The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
v. 1.   https://dailyverses.net/images/en/NIV/psalms-16-1.jpg
Without you, nothing makes sense.   https://patriciawonders.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/hum.jpg?w=720
farm land.  http://cache.eb.com/eb/image?id=65699&rendTypeId=4
Michael Noyes butterfly and calligraphy.   http://www.michaelnoyes.com/images/products/product_36_copyright.png