A Bible study meditation at the Brows' house group in Kingston, Ontario, November 21, 2002

by Robert Brow (

This longest of the Psalms has 176 verses. It was probably written to be sung as part of the praise in the temple (119:54, 164, 171-172). You can see it is very carefully constructed with 22 sections, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each section has 8 verses, and every verse in the section begins with the letter that heads that section.

So, let's read the first section (named Aleph), and you can see how each verse has a different name for the Word of God: 119:1-8 (law, decrees, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, ordinances, statutes) . At first sight the Psalmist seems to be using very legalistic terms. But his use of words like ways (4), works (27), and promise (50, 58, 76) make clear he is thinking of a very personal relationship to the LORD (the name of the Son of God revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14-15) . Notice the conversational relationship as he uses the term LORD (119:1, 12, 31, 33, 41, 52, 57, 64, 65, 75, 107, 145, 149, 151, 174).

That is why the term "Word" is the Psalmist's favorite expression for what he hears in the personal conversation with his LORD. Look at verse 9 (keeping pure), 11 (keeping from sin), 16-18 (delight), 25 (reviving), 42 (answering enemies), 65 (prospering), 74 (encouraging others), 101-105 (illuminating). He is obviously not living by a set of rules but in a relationship.

He also makes it clear that all the ways in which God's Word comes to him are expressions of the steadfast love of God which he mentions seven times : 41 (in salvation), 64 (in the world around him), 76 (to comfort), 88 (saving from death), 124 (teaching), 149, 159 ( protection).

He uses a rich variety of words to express his fascination with the Word of God:

11 (treasuring), 14-16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 77 (delight), 103 (sweetness), 111 (joy), 119, 140 (love for), 162 (rejoicing).

Because of his delight in God's presence he wants to spend time meditating on God's word.

15 (meditation is fixing his eyes on), 23 (when others plot against him), 27 (observing God's works), 78 (when despised by the arrogant).

To his astonishment he finds that as he meditates on the Word he is given supernatural wisdom: 97-100 "Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is always with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers for your decrees are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts."

No wonder he views the Word of God as: 105 A lamp for his feet, and a light for his path.

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