This post is the second in a series about Psalm 119. To start with part one, select: Is God’s Law A Burden? (Part 1 of 4).
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It was written originally in Hebrew in a literary style that begins one section after another, each with the next letter of the aleph bet (Hebrew alphabet). It is beautiful and passionate. It focuses on the law of God. Read and digest all that it claims about the Law of God and then ask yourself, does it describe the law as burdensome? difficult? harsh? or does it describe it as quite different than that? Put aside what you think you know about the law from those who do not understand it and listen to how it is described by one who understood it well and loved our heavenly Father very deeply.
Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God.
41May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O LORD,
Your salvation according to Your word;
42So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.
43And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
For I wait for Your ordinances.
44So I will keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.
45And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.
46I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings
And shall not be ashamed.
47I shall delight in Your commandments,
Which I love.
48And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments,
Which I love;
And I will meditate on Your statutes.
49Remember the word to Your servant,
In which You have made me hope.
50This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has revived me.
51The arrogant utterly deride me,
Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.
52I have remembered Your ordinances from of old, O LORD,
And comfort myself.
53Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked,
Who forsake Your law.
54Your statutes are my songs
In the house of my pilgrimage.
55O LORD, I remember Your name in the night,
And keep Your law.
56This has become mine,
That I observe Your precepts.
57The LORD is my portion;
I have promised to keep Your words.
58I sought Your favor with all my heart;
Be gracious to me according to Your word.
59I considered my ways
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
60I hastened and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.
61The cords of the wicked have encircled me,
But I have not forgotten Your law.
62At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You
Because of Your righteous ordinances.
63I am a companion of all those who fear You,
And of those who keep Your precepts.
64The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O LORD;
Teach me Your statutes.
65You have dealt well with Your servant,
O LORD, according to Your word.
66Teach me good discernment and knowledge,
For I believe in Your commandments.
67Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
68You are good and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.
69The arrogant have forged a lie against me;
With all my heart I will observe Your precepts.
70Their heart is covered with fat,
But I delight in Your law.
71It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
72The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
73Your hands made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
74May those who fear You see me and be glad,
Because I wait for Your word.
75I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
76O may Your lovingkindness comfort me,
According to Your word to Your servant.
77May Your compassion come to me that I may live,
For Your law is my delight.
78May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie;
But I shall meditate on Your precepts.
79May those who fear You turn to me,
Even those who know Your testimonies.
80May my heart be blameless in Your statutes,
So that I will not be ashamed.
81My soul languishes for Your salvation;
I wait for Your word.
82My eyes fail with longing for Your word,
While I say, “When will You comfort me?”
83Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget Your statutes.
84How many are the days of Your servant?
When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me?
85The arrogant have dug pits for me,
Men who are not in accord with Your law.
86All Your commandments are faithful;
They have persecuted me with a lie; help me!
87They almost destroyed me on earth,
But as for me, I did not forsake Your precepts.
88Revive me according to Your lovingkindness,
So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
Just to reflect on a few of the things God’s word says about the law: I trust in Your word, I will keep Your law continually forever and ever, I will walk at liberty because I seek Your precepts, I shall delight in Your commandments which I love, I will lift up my hands to Your commandments which I love, I have remembered Your ordinances and comfort myself, Your statutes are my songs, I shall give thanks to You because of Your righteous ordinances, the earth if full of Your lovingkindness teach me Your statutes, I delight in Your law, and better than gold and silver.
None of this sounds like the description of a burden, or something I can’t wait to get rid of, which is how many Christians describe or talk about following the law. It sounds like a beautiful set of instructions from the Lord, which I want to understand more… both in their original context and with regards to how they still apply to my life today. Psalm 119, if we let it, can really be a testimony for the law of God as a wonderful gift and guide that helps us to know how God thinks we should live and what He values. Obviously to fully understand the depths of what is in the law and how it may still apply, we need to study the Torah (1st 5 books of the Bible). Some of the elements of the law (e.g. ceremonial law) can no longer be carried out as God specified while there is no temple and no Levitical priesthood, but that should not discourage us from understanding and following God’s law as much as we can. Should we walk away from doing as Christ taught just because we can’t do it perfectly?
The Torah is a great place to start for any Christian, many of whom have been taught to really focus only on the New Testament. Spoiler alert… if the New Testament is the building, the Old Testament is the foundation that holds it up. They are not contradictory, but rather complementary.
Pray with me that our Creator and Father would open our eyes, and the eyes of His followers around the world, that we may behold wonderful things from His law. Give us understanding, that we may observe His law and keep it with all our heart.
To continue the series: Is God’s Law A Burden? (Part 3 of 4)
To learn more:
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