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Bible: What Does Psalm 119:57-176 Teach Us About the Message from the LORD (Part Two)?
The Word of God
Psalm 119:57-144-- The Message from the LORD
Several confessions of devotion appear in Heth: faithfulness in guarding the word (vv. 57, 59-61, 63), in wholehearted prayer (vv. 58, 62), and in keeping the right company (v. 63a).
Teth continues these thoughts (especially regarding faithfulness under duress, vv. 69-71), but also mentions the writer's one-time disobedience toward God's word (v. 67).
Now, however, he has a sincere desire to learn the commandments (vv. 66, 68), seeing affliction as a good motivator to do so (v. 71). He regards God’s law as of surpassing value (v. 72).
[Throughout the psalm, the writer continually returns to the point that he has been faithful amidst persecution and trials, repeatedly turning to God and His word].
In light of being God’s creation, the author asks Him for understanding of His word, so that he might lead the people without shame in his affliction (vv. 73-74, 79-80).
In Yodh he trusts in the LORD's judgments, faithfulness, merciful kindness, and tender mercies (vv. 75-77).
[Afflictions must pass through the hands of a faithful God before they reach any one of God’s servants.]
God continues to delay His deliverance of the psalmist, and the latter’s soul becomes weary while enduring enemy persecution [Kaph] (vv. 81-86).
Though needing help (v. 86b) and revival (v. 88a), he still maintains hope in the LORD’s faithfulness to His eternal word [Lamed] (vv. 83b, 87b, 89-90).
He understands that he would have failed and perished had he forsaken God’s established word during his tribulations (v. 92).
Do Not Forget God's Message
The writer vows never to forget the LORD’s life-giving precepts (v. 93).
Again, he mentions the attitudinal differences toward the word that exist between the wicked and himself; the former violate God’s commandment by seeking to kill the psalmist while the latter hears and seeks to obey its dictates (v. 95).
What precisely he means by “the consummation of all perfection” is uncertain, but he may be referring to God’s “exceedingly broad” word (v. 96).
Meditate Upon His Word
Meditating upon God's word enables the one who practices this skill to exceed his teachers and the aged in wisdom (vv. 97-100); according to Mem, obedience to the LORD’s precepts prevents him from doing evil deeds (vv. 101-104).
Nun tells how following the word provides guidance through the darkness (vv. 105-106), revival during affliction (v. 107), and joy in the heart (v. 111).
The writer again confesses his steadfastness to God’s precepts despite the wicked one’s snares (v. 110).
Samek emphasizes the psalmist's hatred of evil and of evildoers (vv. 113, 115, 118-119) and his continued adherence to God's commandments, which he loves, hopes in, and observes (vv. 113-114, 117, 119).
He also depends upon God's faithfulness to His word to protect him (vv. 114, 117) and uphold him (vv. 116-117).
The delay of his salvation (Ayin) motivates the writer to plead for mercy from God (vv. 121-126).
He also shows concern for the LORD's reputation, wanting Him to act so that the proud oppressor would know that God is faithful to perform His word (v. 126).
God Gives Understanding to the Simple
God's words enlighten and give understanding to those who need instruction (the simple) [vv. 129-130], so the psalmist keeps them and longs for them (vv. 129, 131).
Mercy, guidance, mastery over sin, protection from oppressors, and grace constitute the requests he makes of the LORD (vv. 132-135).
The disobedience of man to God's law causes him to weep in Pe (v. 136).
Tsadde emphasizes not only God's righteousness and the truth of His word (vv. 137-138, 140, 142, 144; cf. John 17:17), but also the psalmist's zeal for the truth, his love for the pure word, and his delight in the commandments (vv. 139-141, 143; cf. John 2:17).
He asks the LORD that he might understand these righteous testimonies so that he might “live” (v. 144).
Pleas for salvation and revival highlight Qoph (vv. 145-149).
Hounded by enemies, the psalmist rests assured of God’s nearness and of the truth (and thus the eternality) of God's testimonies (vv. 151-152).
He continues these thoughts in Resh, especially that of revival (vv. 154 [word], 156 [judgments], 159 [lovingkindness]) and the contrast between his attitude toward God's word and that of his enemies (vv. 155, 157-159).
His conviction regarding God's word is firm: the Scripture is altogether true and eternal (v. 160).
Again, he confesses his devotion to the word in the midst of persecution in Shin (vv. 161-168).
Love for the law brings great peace as well as protection from stumbling into sin (v. 165).
At the end of the psalm, Tau, the writer still seeks God's salvation through prayer and praise (vv. 169-171).
He promises to testify and praise God if/when God finally rescues him from his going astray (vv. 172-176).
[A grand piece of literature, the psalm stresses faithfulness in the face of worldly pressure.
The psalmist keeps reminding himself of how awesome God's word is, how great the benefits are in keeping it, and how he needs to continue trusting in it and the character of the LORD to see him through his trials].
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