Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Psalm 119:1-8 – Godly Living Stemmed from the Word of God

This morning as I was reading these verses I was encouraged to see that these have a common theme, that Godly living is inseparable from the Word of God. In fact, this is a theme interwoven throughout the Scriptures (esp. the Pastorals). In any case, I want to break down these verses with a brief comment so as to better understand the author’s point in this first stanza of the 119th Psalm:

1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD.

He begins by noting how blessed (Lit. “the multitude of happinesses”) that those have whose way is blameless. The idea with “blameless” is to be whole, complete, restored and sound. He gives a parallel statement by noting that this is also the one who walks (present activity assumed) in the Law of the LORD. This is the one who walks (“lives his life”) in the Law of the Lord. In a word, this is the man who is blessed and happy who finds himself walking in accordance with what the Word of the Lord says (cf. Eph 4:1-2).

2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.

Here the author begins again with the same phrase, “how many are the multitudes of happinesses that come upon a human being” who observes (Lit. “keeps” or “guards”) God’s testimonies (i.e. “His Word). The one who is happy and the one who is keeping God’s testimonies is also the one who is seeking God’s testimonies with all his heart. One note worthy of mention is the phrase “with all his heart” is fronted in this phrase clearly for emphasis. Literally it could read, “with all his heart he is seeking it (the testimonies).” Could this be said of you?

3 They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways.

Those who are blessed, happy and righteous are those who “do no unrighteousness.” The idea here is “one who is not doing wickedness. It has the emphasis on the action verb. One interesting note is that the LXX (Septuagint) translates this phrase using the verb ergazomai which means “to train so intensely as a businessman would to make a successful trade.” This is the man who does not practice unrighteousness. Rather, in God’s way (path, direction, Law) he is walking.

4 Thou hast ordained Thy precepts, That we should keep them diligently.

This has an emphatic personal pronoun fronted which could be translated, “You, You (O God) have ordained your precepts (statutes) in order that they may be kept diligently. Are we working so hard as to keep God’s word? Do we obey God’s Word so rigorously (not to be legalistic) that we could be reputed as one who “keeps God’s Word diligently”?

5 Oh that my ways may be established To keep Thy statutes!

Could it be said that it is our heart’s desire (and plea!) that our ways might be firmly established so as to keep God’s statutes? Do we really think of it in this light that we make it our heart’s ambition to establish our ways (i.e. our path, lifestyle, conduct, way of life) for the purpose of keeping God’s statutes?

6 Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Thy commandments.

It is the believer in God and the one who lives out God’s Word who can say with full confidence that he will not be ashamed no matter what may come in life – good or bad. This can be confidently asserted because this man has looked (fixed his eyes upon) all of God’s commandments. Do we ever find ourselves ashamed of God and His Word? Is it because we are unwilling to accept all of God’s Word – even the hard doctrines to swallow – predestination, election, retribution, the Sovereignty of God? May we look upon all of God’s commandments and delight and act upon them.

7 I shall give thanks to Thee with uprightness of heart, When I learn Thy righteous judgments.

The psalmist here can say that he will give thanks (same word for “praise”) God with uprightness (straightness, rightness, a sense of proper morality) of heart. Is it our desire to be those men and women who give thanks to God when we learn of God’s righteous judgments? Let us bear in mind that we must never merely listen and learn of God’s righteous judgments but we must also act and do what we hear and learn (cf. James 1:21-22).

8 I shall keep Thy statutes; Do not forsake me utterly!

Here the word order is significant. The writer exclaims: “Your statutes… I shall keep!” He says in a shout of exclamation, O God, I will keep your statutes. It is your Word that I desire to live by. I determine and resolve to anchor my life by what your Word says and how it tells me to live. Then he concludes by recognizing, I will keep your Word of God, yet…I know I’m not perfect, so please don’t reject me utterly when I fail. May we press on with as much diligence and haste as the psalmist did to keep God’s statutes.

Your pastor and friend,

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this excellent post Geoff. It's a blessing to read.



Anonymous said...

What are you talking about Pastor Ty is my Pastor, not you...

geoffrey kirkland said...


Glad you're safe w/ all the fires down there in Escondido.

Keep at it there at WTS.

Much love,

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