The Law of the Lord
1: Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. 2: Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. 3: They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. 4: Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. 5: O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! 6: Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. 7: I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. 8: I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
9: Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10: With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. 12: Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. 13: With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. 14: I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. 15: I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. 16: I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
17: Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. 18: Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. 19: I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. 20: My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. 21: Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments. 22: Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies. 23: Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. 24: Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.
25: My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. 26: I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. 27: Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. 28: My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. 29: Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. 30: I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. 31: I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. 32: I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
33: Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. 34: Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. 35: Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. 36: Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. 37: Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. 38: Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. 39: Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. 40: Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.
41: Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word. 42: So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word. 43: And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments. 44: So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. 45: And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. 46: I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. 47: And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. 48: My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
49: Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. 50: This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. 51: The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law. 52: I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself. 53: Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law. 54: Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. 55: I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law. 56: This I had, because I kept thy precepts.
57: Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words. 58: I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word. 59: I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. 60: I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments. 61: The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law. 62: At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments. 63: I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts. 64: The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
65: Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. 66: Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. 67: Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. 68: Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. 69: The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. 70: Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. 71: It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. 72: The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
73: Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. 74: They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. 75: I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. 76: Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. 77: Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. 78: Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts. 79: Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies. 80: Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.
81: My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word. 82: Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me? 83: For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes. 84: How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me? 85: The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law. 86: All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me. 87: They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts. 88: Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.
Today we are reading Psalm 119. This is a long Psalm so we will be reading it over a number of days. It’s interesting that from the beginning the Psalm has been divided into 22 sections which are prefaced by a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This Psalm describes the life and journey of a man of God under the Law. It begins describing the life giving power of Gods word and ends with the promise that Gods word brings peace and comfort. The first section is made up of two verses which both describe the path that the ‘Law abiding Jew’ lives faithfully before the Lord. He says that the man who lives according to Gods word is the object of Gods blessing and he is not ashamed to look God in the face. He is upright and he keeps the Mosaic law and has respect for the commandments. He says I will praise the Lord after I have learned the righteous standards of the Lord. He says I will keep your law, so do not forsake me completely. This describes how a Jew lives under the law. He is determined to keep the commandments and he pleads that the Lord won’t forsake him completely. The christian in contrast has believed that Christ has kept all the law and suffered the curse of the Law for him and he rests in the joy of eternal union with Christ. He began saying the blessing of God is on those who are undefiled. In the Gospel the defiled are brought into forgiveness of sin and made holy by faith, not in what he has done, but by faith in what Christ has done for him. In the next verse the Psalmist says that the young man who lives under the law is cleansed by paying attention to the word of God. Then he says - pathetically – Do not let me wonder from the commandments. In the Old Covenant there was no provision to enable the saint from keeping the commandments apart from the fear of his judgment, which he poured our abundantly on those who forsook him. So he hides Gods word in his heart to prevent himself from sinning against the Lord. He blesses the Lord and asks that the Lord will teach him all the regulations of the Mosaic Law. And he says not only will I do but I will teach it and I will meditate on the principles of the Law and I will not forget your word. Notice that this is an honourable resolution but nevertheless it is only a human resolve, this is evident by the use of the personal pronoun. The next verse speaks twice of his prayer and the reasoning’s behind it. And then twice he gives two statements about himself and the wicked. He asks the Lord to bless him with his bounty so that he can live to keep the law. He asks that the Lord will open his eyes to see the wonderful things of the Word of God. He says I am like a stranger to ordinary men so do not hide your laws from me. He describes a deep longing for the Lord’s law. This would be because he wishes to know Gods mercies and blessings on his life. He says of those who are proud that they are cursed to judgment because they do not keep the commandments. But he says to the Lord bless me because I do keep the commandments. In the next verse ‘Daleth’ we have two verses that are prayers for the Lord to preserve his life and to strengthen him in mortal life but both are uttered in depression at his own mortality. Again it is a prayer for the righteous man who lives according to law yet it is touched with sadness and heaviness. The next verse ‘He’ is a plea to the Lord to teach him the way of the Lord he constantly seeks education in the law as a means of pleasing God. He promises to keep the law with all his heart but has no permanent assurance of Gods blessing. How different to the Christian who lives in the assurance that is accepted in Christ. In ‘Vau’ the Psalmist pleads with the Lord to strengthen him to keep the law. He has permanent assurance of Gods eternal blessing everything is temporary and based on his law keeping. He says if you deliver me then I will be able to tell people of your blessings. In ‘Zain’ the Psalmist pleads that the Lord will not forget to deliver him. His hope is in the abundance of mortal life and his confidence is only in the measure in which he is able to keep the law. He says the only thing that gives him hope is that the word of God is the source of all direction in life. Day and night he seeks to keep the law. In ‘Cheth’ the Psalmist confesses in prayer that his godliness is based on his determination to keep faithful to the law. He says I have stated that I will keep your laws so I ask that you will show me mercy i.e. that you will not judge me according to my sins. He knows nothing of the christians justification by faith. He says I did not forget to keep the law but I turned my feet to walk in his ways. He says, I am the friend of all those who fear the LORD and obey the Mosaic Law. In ‘Teth’ the Psalmist says at the beginning the Lord deals with us according to his goodness and he ends saying the Mosaic Law is good for us. Then in two verses he says the decisions of the Lord are good. He says before I was afflicted by the Lord I went astray from the law but the Lord brought me back by the affliction of his curses and now I keep the law. So you O Lord are good and you do us good. Because I live righteously, the proud lie against me. It was out of the goodness of God that he afflicted me, so that I would learn to keep the laws of the Lord. The Law of the Lord is better to me than thousands of pounds. In ‘Jod’ the Psalmist offers a prayer for personal instruction and deliverance. He begins asking - teach me, so that I may learn and at the end he says make me sound in my understanding so that I may not be ashamed. Under the law the focus was on personal devotion to the Lord. It was all about ‘I’. Paul the Apostle was more devoted than any of his associates yet it was all ‘I’ ‘I’ ‘I’, until the day when he met the man who said ‘not my will’. The Psalmist says that those who fear the Lord will be glad when they see me, because I have put my trust in the word. He pleads to the Lord he might continue to live and know Gods mercy. In ‘Caph’ the Psalmist brings us two verses that express his distress and his complains to the Lord. He begins saying my soul faints for your deliverance but I am hoping in your promises. He asks many questions, When will you comfort me? Are my days at an end? When will you destroy those who persecute me? How different are the words of Christ when he said pray Gods blessing on those who persecute you. He says LORD the proud are not right to persecute me! – Help me. He says keep me alive so that I will testify to your truth.