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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Psalm 119: Worth All 176 Verses

Psalm 119, longest Psalm, importance of God's Word
I enjoy reading Psalms. 

They help me express my feelings and focus on God's faithfulness. 

But Psalm 119--the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses--can seem daunting. 

Recently, I decided to use a four hour train ride in Hungary to read it three times: 
First, listing the benefits of God's Word. 
Second, listing the descriptions of God's Word. 
♥ Third, listing the Psalmist's attitudes toward God's Word. 

It gave me a new appreciation for Psalm 119's exposition of God's Word. 

God has chosen to speak to mankind through written words without which we would be blindly stumbling through this life. 

His Word records the spiritual history of mankind, reveals the wonderful plan of salvation and explains how we can receive that salvation.

But it also:
        ♥ Guides          ♥ Protects         ♥ Restores 
        ♥ Instructs        ♥ Counsels       ♥ Strengthens 
        ♥ Comforts       ♥ Delivers         ♥ Gives hope, peace, and security 
                              ♥ Plus so much more! 

Are you daily taking advantage of this wonderful resource God has given you? 

Bible Study

1. Some facts about Psalm 119:
22 Stanzas, 8 verses each,
Psalm 119 is "an acrostic of twenty-two stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The eight poetic lines of each stanza begin with the same Hebrew letter."  ~ Reformation Study Bible

A Treasure Chest on a Postcard!
Psalm 119 is "like writing the inventory of a huge treasure chest on the back of a postcard! ... The most significant single theme is the wonder and effects of God’s Word” ~The Bible Panorama 

Only Two
Only two verses do not contain a reference to God's Word (122, 132).

2. I encourage you to read Psalm 119 in its entirety and make the three lists I suggest in the above devotion:
The benefits of God's Word. For example, it strengthens us (v.28) 
The descriptions of God's Word. For example, it's more precious than riches (v.72)
The Psalmist's attitudes toward God's Word. For example, he delights in God's Word (v.35)

These are not absolute categories. They will overlap and one person will see them a bit differently from another. The important part of this exercise is to think of each aspect as you read it.

And remember that God's Word is referred to a number of ways in the Psalms: law, precepts, testimony, statutes, commandments, etc.

If studying all of Psalm 119 is too much for you to do at one time, take a stanza at a time (8 verses).  For the insights, I will share my insights from verses 1-8. I pray you will enjoy Psalm 119 and gain a new appreciation for God's Word this week! 

Please work through study before reading these insights.

PSALM 119: 1-8 
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. 
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart— 
3 They do no wrong but follow his ways. 
4 You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. 
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! 
 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. 
7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. 
8 I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. 

Note that God's Word is described 6 ways in these 8 verses:
Law, statutes, ways, precepts, decrees, commands. These names show the multi-faceted purposes of God's Word. It provides instruction, testimony, revealed paths, positive laws, judgments, etc.

The Benefits of God's Word in these 8 verses:
1. It blesses the man who obeys it (v.1 & 2)
2. It's principles produce godliness (v. 1)
3. It keeps the godly man from feeling shame (v.5)

♥ The descriptions of God's Word
1. It is designed to be fully obeyed (v.4)
2. It is righteous (v.7)

The Psalmist's attitude toward God's Word:
1. He understands and expounds on the benefits of those who obey God's Word
2. He longs to be steadfast in obedience to God's Word (v.5)
3. He "considers" - takes into account, acknowledges, remembers God's Word (v.5)
4. He learns God's Word with a thankful (praising) heart (v.7)
5. He commits to obey God's Word (v.8)

Psalm 119:1-8 in a nutshell: Obedience to God's wonderful Word brings blessings and godliness. 

This is a great beginning to this Psalm about God's Word. James 1:22-25 repeats these truths:
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do."

I pray that both you and I will listen, remember, and obey God's Word this week! copyright 2014, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted

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