1Happy are people of integrity, who follow the law of the LORD.
2Happy are those who obey his decrees and search for him with all their hearts.
3They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.
4You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully.
5Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your principles!
6Then I will not be disgraced when I compare my life with your commands.
7When I learn your righteous laws, I will thank you by living as I should!
8I will obey your principles. Please don’t give up on me!
9How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word and following its rules.
10I have tried my best to find you—don’t let me wander from your commands.
11I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
12Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your principles.
13I have recited aloud all the laws you have given us.
14I have rejoiced in your decrees as much as in riches.
15I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.
16I will delight in your principles and not forget your word.
17Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word.
18Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your law.
19I am but a foreigner here on earth; I need the guidance of your commands. Don’t hide them from me!
20I am overwhelmed continually with a desire for your laws.
(Psalm 119:1-20, NLT)
The Daily DAVEotional
Psalm 119 has the distinction of not only being the longest of the 150 Psalms, but at 176 verses, it’s also the longest chapter in the entire Bible.
Though it’s not apparent in the English version, this psalm is actually an acrostic poem consisting of 22 stanzas, each of which begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Each stanza is 8 verses and the unifying theme throughout this psalm is the love for and the importance of God’s laws in our lives.
Though I’ve only included the first 20 verses in this post, just about every one of the 176 verses has a direct reference to God’s word, using terms like “commandments”, “decrees”, “principles”, “rules”, and “righteous word”.
Throughout the poem, the psalmist highlights the importance and the benefits of following God’s laws, including:
- enabling us to live as we should (verse 7)
- instructing us on how to remain pure (verse 9)
- empowering us to avoid sin (verse 11)
- daily guidance (verse 19)
- source of wisdom and advice (verse 24)
- revives us when we’re discouraged (verse 25)
- encourages us in our grief (verse 28)
- tempers greed and love for money (verse 36)
- helps us know God as He is (verse 55)
- source of comfort, peace, hope (multiple verses)
Of course, this list is not complete as the psalm repeatedly extols the virtues of God’s commands and our need to know them and follow them. The author’s view and love for God’s word can be summarized by verse 72, which says:
“Your law is more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver!”
This psalm highlights one of the most important truths of the Christian faith, which is that God’s word is central to those who want to know Him and follow Him. Not only is it the primary source of our knowledge about God, but it’s also the main avenue for understanding our fallen nature and the means for experiencing reconciliation with God and with others.
How well do you know God’s word?
What has been your habit in terms of connecting with God regularly through His word?
If you wrote your own psalm extolling the virtues of God’s word in your own life, what would you say? What adjectives would you use to reflect your view of God’s word and its importance in your life? How long would your psalm be?
What steps can you take to develop your understanding of God’s commands and your knowledge of His word?
What obstacles or barriers keep you from regularly and consistently reading and studying God’s word?
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash