The author of Psalm 119 is unknown, but there is a Jewish tradition that King David wrote it to teach his son, Solomon, the Hebrew alphabet. (Remember that Psalm 119 consists of 22 stanzas -- one stanza for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and within each stanza, each of the eight verses begins with that letter.) No one knows for sure who wrote the psalm, but we do know that all of Psalm 119 is a wonderful exaltation of God’s Word. It not only teaches the alphabet of Hebrew letters, it teaches the alphabet of the spiritual life.
Last time we looked at the first stanza where each verse begins with the Hebrew letter “aleph”, and we saw how important it is to always obey God’s Word. In the second stanza (using the Hebrew letter “beth”), we learn that those who read and obey God’s Word will be delighted in His Word. Here’s what the psalmist wrote.
9. How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
10. With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
11. Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
12. Blessed are You, O Lord;
Teach me Your statutes.
13. With my lips I have told of
All the ordinances of Your mouth.
14. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
15. I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.
16. I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.
In this stanza, the psalmist asks how it is possible to live a pure life -- a relevant question for our day and age, although it seems that few have interest in finding an answer. But if you want the answer, and I hope you do, the answer is right here in Psalm 119:9-16. A person lives a pure life by living according to the Word of God. The psalmist goes on to tell us how he, personally, has practiced living according to God’s Word: he has sought God with all his heart, meditated on His Word, shared His Word with others, and found joy in living by the Word of God. To the psalmist, God’s Word is a treasure. He takes delight in God’s Word, and stores it in his heart because he is determined not to forget it. He has high regard for God, His Word, and His ways.
Here, in a nutshell, is the secret to living the Christian life. Exalt God’s Word in your life. Have a high regard for God’s Word and what you learn from it. Joyfully take God’s Word as the rule of your life and feed on it every day. If you see God’s Word as the treasure it is, you will want to keep it in your mind -- mull it over -- memorize it. You will take such delight in God’s Word (His commandments, statutes, precepts, ordinances, and testimonies) that you will be eager to share it with others.
May I ask, what is the greatest treasure in your life? That would be the thing you delight in most, the thing you talk about most, the thing that is always on your mind. The psalmist begs God, Do not let me wander from your commandments. Perhaps that should be our prayer every morning as we wake up and begin our day. That heartfelt prayer, along with a bit of time spent in God’s Word at the start of the day, could make a huge difference in the way we live and relate to God and others throughout the day. As we make His Word our priority and live by what it says, we will be delighted in God’s Word and we will treasure it. And the psalmist has shown that those who delight in His Word live pure lives in His sight.
May you find delight in His Word,
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I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.