P S A L M 1 1 9

Cor Bruins

 

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

This is the longest of all the 150 Psalms, and perhaps for that reason the 176 verses are seldom or never read completely either in public or in private meditation or study. This is a great loss. Although the name of the author and the date of this unique Psalm are not given, God is breathing throughout each precious verse, which unfortunately to many only seem repetitions. The Psalm shows us the various virtues and aspects of the Word of God, and that it can meet our every need and every situation.

SOME PRIMARY REMARKS:

In some translations there are printed at the head of each section of eight verses a Hebrew letter of the alphabet: ‘aleph’(verses 1 - 8 ); ‘beth’ (verses 9-16); ‘gimel’(verses 17- 24); ‘daleth’ (verses 25-32), etc.

Each of the eight verses of a section begins with the letter that is set at its head. For instance: Verses 1-8 all begin with the letter aleph; verses 9-16 all with the letter beth; verses 17-24 all with the letter gimel, and verses 25-32 all with the letter daleth.

Furthermore, the meaning of the letter over each section often plays a role as being the dominant ‘theme’ of that section. For instance: verses 1 - 8 with the letter aleph at its head, which signifies an ox in the service of man, gives us a type of the perfect servant, Christ; verses 9 - 16 with at its head the letter beth, which means a house with foundations, suggest that which is fundamental for the Christian's life; verses 17 - 24 with at its head the letter gimel, which means camel, suggest a wilderness scene through which the camel passes with enough resources, so it portrays the believers as they pass through this world's wilderness scene having adequate resources in the Word of God; finally the verses 25 -32 with at their head the letter daleth, which means a door, and suggest the theme "The entrance of thy word giveth light...". etc. The composition of this Psalm is therefore in the form of a perfect and regular alphabetic acrostic of 22 sections corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, each of eight verses. There are eight other ‘acrostic’ Psalms:

  1. Psalms 9 and 10, but in these the acrostic is defective, some of the letters of the alphabet are omitted. The alpha-beth runs through the two Psalms. Psalm 9 has the first half of the letters, and Psalm 10 gives the remaining letters with the omission of some.
  2. Psalm 25 has it also, but irregular.
  3. Psalm 34 is defective in one letter only (vse.22).
  4. Psalm 37 is a complete acrostic.
  5. Psalm 111 and Psalm 112 are complete acrostics.
  6. Psalm 145 has one letter missing.

For those interested, let me add that there are two more examples of the acrostic device apart from the Psalms. In the book of Proverbs chapter 31, the 22 verses (10-31), describing the virtuous woman, all begin respectively with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

Lastly, in the book of Lamentations the arrangement is similar to that of Psalm 119.

Perhaps the acrostic device was devised to help the memory. No doubt the reader will find it so. It may well be asked, "why 22 sections of eight verses precisely?"

Here I quote from W.G.Scroggie : "The Psalms", pages 169/170.

"The word eight, in the Hebrew, is sh'moneh, from shaman which means ‘to make fat’, to ‘superabound’. Seven is enough, but eight is ‘more than enough’, 7 plus 1; it goes beyond seven, and is the beginning of a new series, era, or order. Eight is the first ‘cubic’ number, and is more than a square, which is represented by four. It is the number of resurrection. Christ rose from the dead on ‘the first day of the week’, which was the eighth day, Saturday being the seventh of the Jewish week. The ‘superabundance beyond completion’ is shown in Psalm 119 in respect of the Law of the Lord, the Word of God, in twenty-two stanzas of each eight verses; each verse a couplet, so that, as to lines, each stanza is eight multiplied by two. Nothing could more perfectly display the fertility, fatness, and fullness of the word and will of God".

INTERESTING FEATURES:

As a diamond has different facets reflecting the light striking upon it in different colours, so bringing out its beauty, this Psalm also shows different ‘facets’ to the Word of the Law of God. There are about 8 or 10 of these ‘facets’ to be distinguished:

  1. verse 1 : TOH-RAH = Law. From the root meaning : to teach, or instruct. This word occurs 25 times and is always in the singular (never ‘laws’). See verses: 1, 18, 29, 34, 44, 51, 53, 55, 61, 70, 72, 77, 85, 92, 97, 109, 113, 126, 136, 142, 150, 153, 163, 165, 174. It has the meaning of : Teaching, guiding, directing, instructing. It is a divine instructing with regard to conduct and character.
  2. verse 2 : EDUTH = Testimonies. It is a ‘revelation’ or a revealed psalm. It occurs 9 times in verses 14, 31, 36, 88, 99, 111, 129, 144, 157 in the singular. The word EDAH = Precept, occurs 14 times in verses 2, 22, 24, 46, 59, 79, 95, 119, 125, 138, 146, 152, 167, 168 and these in the plural. It means a testimony, or a ‘reiteration’ an attestation or witness. A constant witness to Jehovah's will.
  3. verse 4 : PIK-KOO-DEEM = Precepts (or Commandments). It occurs 21 times in verses 4, 27, 40, 45, 56, 63, 69, 78, 87, 93, 94, 100, 104, 110, 128, 134, 141, 159, 168, 173. (always in the plural). It means a charge given to us by God for which we are responsible. Also ‘to place in trust’, or ‘to take oversight’.
  4. verse 5 : CHUQQIM = Statute. Sometimes a ‘portion’ (as for the Priests in Gen.47:22; also ‘Task’ as in Ex.5:14).The word occurs 22 times in verses: 5, 8, 12, 16, 23, 26, 28, 33, 48, 54, 64, 71, 80, 83, 112, 117, 118, 124, 135, 145, 155, 171. It comes from the root: ‘to cut into’, to hack, hence ‘to engrave’, to carve, see Job 13:27 " around the roots of my feet hast Thou dug up (the ground), or ‘hast made a trench, so that I cannot go on’, i.e. ‘hast stopped up my way’. You have marked out to my feet how far they shall go. It has the idea of that which is established, or definite, an appointed portion of food, or task. A definite limit, as in Job 26:10; Proverbs 8:29. An appointed ‘law’, statute or ordinance. It is therefore a divine direction to obtain my obedience, or to arrest disobedience. It stimulates obedience. It is the Law as the permanent record of God’s will.
  5. verse 6 : MITZ-VAH = Commandments (plural). It occurs 22 times See verses : 6, 10, 19, 21, 32, 35, 47, 48, 60, 66, 73, 86, 96, 98, 115, 127, 131, 143, 151, 166, 172, 176. It comes from the root: to ‘command’, and has the idea of ‘prohibit’ also. It is a divine ‘imperative decree’. An example of this is found in the fact that God forbids Adam eating from the tree; God tells Noah to build the ark. It is a command imposed by God's absolute authority. It shows us the requirement of His will.
  6. verse 7 : MISH-PAHT = Judgement. The word occurs 23 times in the following verses: 7, 13, 20, 30, 39, 43, 52, 62, 75, 84, 91, 102, 106, 108, 120, 121, 137, 149, 156, 160, 164, 175. It means: the sentence of a judge in verse 75 and 137. Especially used of a sentence by which a penalty is inflicted, and it is therefore a judicial sentence, a decision the Lord makes.
  7. verse 9 : DAH-VAHR = a Word (‘debir’). It occurs 24 times in verses : 9, 16, 17, 25, 28, 42(twice), 43, 49, 57, 65, 74, 81, 89, 101, 105, 107, 114, 130, 139, 147, 160, 161, 169. It is similar in meaning to the Greek word Logos, see Genesis 44:18. It means therefore the ‘articulation of God's will to men’. It is the ‘spoken word’( like the ‘oracles of God’ in 1Peter 4:10,11). Some say it is derived from the word dabar, which means: ‘to arrange in a row’, or ‘to set forth in a speech’. The Ten Commandments are also called the ‘ten words’ : ‘deca-logue’. It is therefore a communicating medium of the revealed will of God.
  8. verse 11 : IMRAH = a Saying (Arabic: ‘amr’ - a thing). It can also mean: a poetic word, or speech. See Psalm 19:4 ; or a promise of God in Psalm 77:9. It is a word, a speech, or also a sacred hymn, or poem, as in Psalm 17:6. It occurs 19 times in verses: 11, 38, 41, 50, 58, 67, 76, 82, 103, 116, 123, 133, 140, 148, 154, 158, 162, 170, 172. Finally, it is something communicated orally. The words by which a revelation is imparted.
  9. verse 1 : DEREK = the Way. It has the meaning of : walking, a going, hence a journey which any one takes, a way, a path in which one goes (Arabic: TARIQ, or SABIL), a mode or course. It occurs 13 times in verses: 1, 3, 5, 14, 26, 27, 29, 80, 82, 83, 87, 89, 168. Finally: ‘a road as trodden’, a mode of life, a course of action marked out by God's Law.

It is interesting that in only three verses there is no direct reference found to the Law or any of its synonyms: theses verses are: 90, 122, 132. Another interesting fact is that the name Jehovah occurs 22 times, though not necessarily in each of the 22 sections. ( Some expositors count 24 times).

The Psalmist refers to himself 325 times. We might almost say that this Psalm is too individualistic to be regarded as written simply to represent the nation of Israel. But to this I shall refer later. One expositor has counted 70 prayer requests in this Psalm and encourages the reader to list them. Every verse in section five is a ‘prayer’.

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT PSALM 119:

  1. "All who want themes for soul or service can find them here; for it may be said that every verse embodies a seedthought".
  2. It is a divine alphabet of love.
  3. It is a paradise of all doctrine.
  4. It is the school of the truth.
  5. It is the ABC of the Christian’s Praise.
  6. "It seems not to need an expositor, but only a reader and listener".
  7. The Psalm rehearses the various virtues of the word of God, and the saints’ delight and profit therein. Any believer may generally use it as the breathing of his own soul; but in its full prophetic character, it would seem that it will be the language of the true Israel on their return to God and His long neglected oracles (J.G.B.).
  8. Psalm 119 is the expression of the effect of the law written in the heart of Israel, when they had long erred from God’s ways and were sorrowing under the effects of it. We see thus that the ‘form’ of this Psalm cannot apply to the Christian. But from the general principle we may learn much, as that which is wrought in the heart as regards its moral disposition (J.N.D.).
  9. Purity of ‘heart’ is not so much in question as purity of ‘walk’. That is, there is everywhere present the evidence of a faith which, when the grace of God is known in truth, purifies the heart of the believer; but the soul has not yet had revealed to it an object to which it can look in peaceful forgetfulness of itself. The darkness still continues, and the true light is wished for rather than enjoyed. It is very manifestly the expression of one who discerned in his inner man the excellent perfection of the law, and whose whole heart, therefore, was set on its attempted fulfilment. The zeal of Jehovah, as that which marks distinctively the spiritual man, is plainly visible through every expression of human weakness and stress with which the Psalm abounds (A.Pridham.).
  10. That this great Psalm has its many blessed thoughts and exhortations for the individual believer is indeed very true. The 176 verses are all precious gems and many find an echo in the heart and life of a true believer (A.C.Gaebelein).

PROPHETIC ANTICIPATION:

The Law could not produce in men the obedience that is required by it. Only the cross, if looked at and believed in, shows the complete condemnation of sin, and hence deliverance from it. Now, by the new birth and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the very principle of obedience is implanted in us. In Psalm 118 Israel acknowledges the mercy of Jehovah and Him as their Messiah. The is to come when the Law will be written on their hearts according to the promise of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). But this is therefore still in the future. Here in Psalm 119 we have an eightfold alphabet. The number eight signifies what is ‘new’ in contrast to what is ‘old. We have therefore throughout this Psalm too a continual allusion to the ‘new covenant’. Every letter of man’s language is now taken up to express the praise of that which was but an intolerable yoke and burden before.

PERSONAL APPLICATION:

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit"(Rom.8:3,4 ). It is with this sure knowledge that real Christians, those who have been born again and have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, can now, taste and enjoy the ‘blessings’ of the new covenant. The Book of the Psalms is not about the Church but mainly expresses the thoughts and feelings of a persecuted Jewish remnant. The position, hopes and future of the church are not found in the Psalms though there is very much in them that is for our instruction and comfort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A N A L Y S I S    O F    P S A L M    1 1 9

I. Verses 1 - 24 : Plentiful resources for the pilgrim.

1. Aleph vv. 1 - 8: All Blessedness comes through Christ.

2. Beth vv. 9 –16 : God's Word gives power for a holy life.

3. Gimel vv.17-24 : God's Word provides resources for trial along the way.

II. Verses 25 - 48 : Strength for the weary.

4. Daleth vv.25-32 : God's Word quickens and restores.

5. He vv.33-40 : God's Word meets our weakness.

6. Vau vv.41-48 : God's Word leads to victory.

III. Verses 49 - 72 : Our immense spiritual riches.

7. Zain vv.49-56 : God's Word reveals our spiritual essets.

8. Cheth vv.57-64 : God's Word transforms into His image.

9. Teth vv.65-72 : God's Word strengthens in adversity.

IV.Verses 73 – 96 : Spiritual maturity through daily meditation.

10. Yod vv.73-80 : God's Word shows us our responsibility.

11.Kaph vv.81-88 : God's Word for our security.

12.Lamed vv.89-96 : God's Word helps us mature spiritually.

V. Verses 97 -120 : The importance of daily bible study.

13.Mem vv.97-104 : God's Word is living water.

14.Nun vv.105-112 : God's Word directs us.

15.Samech vv.113-120 : God's Word for our support..

VI. Verses 121-144 : In the school of God.

16.Ain vv.121-128 : God's Word is a well of refreshment.

17.Pe vv.129-136 : God's Word gives power for testimony.

18.Tsaddi vv.137-144 : God's Word brings us near to Him.

VII. Verses 145-168 : The need for spiritual revival.

19.Qoph vv.145-152 : God's Word is the basis for prayer..

20.Resh vv.153-160 : God's Word teaches us His lordship.

21.Sin/Shin vv.161-168 : God's Word for Power and Peace in Persecution.

VIII. Verses 169-176 : Continuous revival.

22. Tau vv.169-176 : Appendix.

This eighth section divides into four plus four. The first four verses speak of perseveranc and the last four of prayer or a plea for salvation. In the first place this ‘appendix’ speaks prophetically of Israel in the tribulation of the last days. This will be the time of her ‘birth’ as a nation for Jehovah, when they come into the New Covenant (the 8th). Christians already taste its ‘blessings’ now! I have studied this Psalm with the aim of gleaning from it such help as it may yield for the Christian. I would heartily encourage the readers to study it with me and to get the blessing that comes from doing so. I am leaving aside comments with reference to Israel but hope to point out the essential difference between the author of Psalm 119 and the way he sees things, and the view-point of the Christian.

BREAKDOWN OF THE ACROSTIC ARRANGEMENT OF PSALM 119

To give the reader an idea of what the acrostic arrangement of this Psalm looks like in the Hebrew language, I give here a break-down of all the verses. The Hebrew letters are given in phonetic script (Roman letters), the meaning is given of each letter at the beginning of each of the eight verses of each section.

Letter One: verses 1 - 8: A L E P H a (An Ox)

Verse 1 : ASH-REY

= "Blessed..."

Verse 2 : ASH-REY

= "Happy and abundantly blessed..."

Verse 3 : APH

= "Also they do no iniquity..."

Verse 4 : ATA

= "...You...have commanded us..."

Verse 5 : AH –GHALEY

= "Would that! Oh, that!"

Verse 6 : AHZ

= "THEN .."Then shall I not be..."

Verse 7 : AHDAK

= "I will thank YOU"

Verse 8 : ASHAMAR

= "I will keep"

Letter Two: verses 9 - 16: B E T H b (A House)

Verse 9 : BMEH

= " With what?"

Verse 10 : B-KOL

= "With all", with my whole heart.

Verse 11 : B-LEHVI

= "In my heart".

Verse 12 : BA-RACH

= "Blessed...".

Verse 13: B-SHAPHATI

= "With my lips".

Verse 14 : B-DEH-RECH

= " In the way of...".

Verse 15 : B-PIK-KOD-DEEMAK

= "...in your precepts...".

Verse 16 : B-GHOOK-KAHTAK

= " In your statutes.."

Letter Three: verses 17 - 24: G I M E L g (A Camel)

verse 17 : GAH-MAL

= "..Deal bountifully..."

verse 18 : GAH-LAH

= "Reveal!...Open!..."

verse 19 : GEHR

= " a Stranger.....(I am).."

verse 20 : GAH-RAS

= "(my soul).breaketh for,is crushed"

verse 21 : GAH-GART

= "You have rebuked...."

verse 22 : GAH-LAL

= "...Remove..." (or 'roll away').

verse 23 : GAM

= "Also"(Princes did sit...).

verse 24 : GAM

= "Also".. (Thy testimonies..)

Letter Four: verses 25 - 32: D A L E T H j (A Door)

verse 25 : DAH – VAK

= "Clings...."

verse 26 : DEH – RECHI

= "..my way..."

verse 27 : DEH – RECH

= "..the way of" (your precepts..)

verse 28 : DAH – LAPH

= " Drops...(melteth)"

verse 29 : DEH – RECH

= "..the way" (of lying...)

verse 30 : DEH – RECH

= "..the way" (of your truth..)

verse 31 : DAH – VAKT

= "..I have clung..."

verse 32 : DEH – RECH

= "..the way (of your commands..)"

Letter Five: verses 33 - 40: H E h (A Window)

verse 33 : HAYAHRANNI

= "..Teach me....."

verse 34 : HA-BEENI

= "..make me understand..."

verse 35 : HA-DAREKNI

= "..Cause me...."

verse 36 : HAT – LEBI

= "..Bow...(or incline) my heart"

verse 37 : HA-GAH-VAR

= "..Turn away...."

verse 38 : HA-KOOM

= "..Make rise....."

verse 39 : HA-GAH-VAR

= "..Turn away...."

verse 40 : HIN - NEH!

= "..Behold....."

Letter Six: verses 41 - 48: V A V v (A Hook)

verse 41 : VA-BANI

= "..Let come to me..."

verse 42 : VA-GAH-NAH

= "..And I will answer.."

verse 43 : VA-LA

= "..And not deliver..."

verse 44 : VA-ASHAMARH

= "..And I shall keep..."

verse 45 : VA-ATHALACH

= "..And I will walk..."

verse 46 : VA-ADABARAH

= ".And I will speak..."

verse 47 : VA-ASHTATGAG

= " And I will delight myself.."

verse 48 : VA-AHSAH

= " And I will lift up..."

Letter Seven: verses 49 - 56: Z A I N z (A Weapon)

verse 49 : ZA- KAR

= "..Remember (this..)"

verse 50 : ZA- AT

= "..This...."

verse 51 : ZEHDEM

= "..The proud...."

verse 52 : ZA-KARAT

= "..I remembered..."

verse 53 : ZALGAHPAH

= "..Hot zeal (horror)..."

verse 54 : ZAHMERT

= "..Songs...."

verse 55 : ZA-KARAT

= "..I remembered..."

verse 56 : ZA-AT

= "..This....."

 

Letter Eight: verses 57 - 64: C H E T H u (A Fence)

verse 57 : GHEHLEKI

= "..My portion (is...).."

verse 58 : GHAHLAT

= "..I intreated...."

verse 59 : GHAHSHAVT

= "..I thought (mused)on..."

verse 60 : GHOOSHT

= "..I hurried (made haste)..."

verse 61 : GHEHVEL

= "..The cords...(of sorrows).."

verse 62 : GHEHTZE

= "..at midnight..."(at dividing half)

verse 63 : GHEHDER

= "..a companion I am..."

verse 64 : GHEH-SEDK

= "..Your mercy (or favour..).."

Letter Nine: verses 65 - 72: T E T H t (A Snake)

verse 65 : TOHV

= "..Good, goodness, kindness of God!"

verse 66 : TOHV

= "..Good..."

verse 67 : TEHREM

= "..Before..."

verse 68 : TOHV ATA

= "..You are good..."

verse 69 : TAH-PHALI

= "..Have forged (against me)."

verse 70 : TAH-PHASH

= "..Without feeling (fat as grease)"

verse 71 : TOHV-LI

= "..For my good....."

verse 72 : TOHV-LI

= "..Better to me...."

Letter Ten: verses 73 - 80: Y O D y (A Hand)

verse 73 : YAH-DAK

= "..Your hand..."

verse 74 : YAHREHK

= "..They who fear you (reverence).."

verse 75 : YAHDAGT

= "..I knew (perceive, am aware).."

verse 76 : YAHINI

= "..Let be..."

verse 77 : YABOHNI

= "..Let come to me..."

verse 78 : YABOHSHU

= ".Let be ashamed....".

verse 79 : YESHEEVLI

= "Let turn to me..."

verse 80 : YAHI

= "..Let!!..."

Letter Eleven: verses 81 - 88: K A P H k (A Palm of the hand)

verse 81 : KAH-LATAH

= "..(is) being consumed, spent.."

verse 82 : KAH-LAU

= "..Fail.. (i.e. my eyes).."

verse 83 : KEE

= "..For..."

verse 84 : KAH-MEH

= "..As what..."

verse 85 : KAH-RAHLI

= "..They have dug for me..."

verse 86 : KOL

= "..All...."

verse 87 : KAM-GAT

= "..In a little while..."

verse 88 : KA-GHEHSEDAK

= "..by your mercy..."

Letter Twelve: verses 89 - 96: L A M E D l (An Ox-goad)

verse 89 : LA-GOH-LAHM

= ".Forever...."

verse 90 : LA-DOHR

= "..to generation..."

verse 91 : LA-MISH-PAHTAK

= "..according to your judgments"

verse 92 : LO-LEH-Y

= "..Except..."

verse 93 : LA-GOH-LAHM

= "..Forever...."

verse 94 : LAKA-ATA

= ".To you I am..."

verse 95 : LO-KAH-VAH

= "for me ..waited..."

verse 96 : LA-KOHL

= "..to all..."

Letter Thirteen: verses 97 - 104: M E M m (Water)

verse 97 : ME-H

= "..O, how....!"

verse 98 : ME-AH-YAVI

= "..than mine enemies..."

verse 99 : ME-KOHL

= "..than all...."

verse 100: ME-ZAH-KEHNUM

= "..than the ancients..."

verse 101: ME-KOHL

= "..From every..."

verse 102: ME-MISH-PAHTK

= "..From your judgments..."

verse 103: ME-H

= "..How..!"

verse 104: ME-PIK-KOO-DEEMAK

= "..Through your precepts..."

Letter Fourteen: verses 105 - 112: N U N n (Continue)

verse 105: NOOR (OR NEER )

= "..a light (lamp)..."

verse 106: NASAVAT

= "..I have sworn..."

verse 107: NAGAHNAHT

= "..I am afflicted..".

verse 108: NADAHVAT

= "..free offering (my mouth's)"

verse 109: NAFASHI

= "..my life..(soul).."

verse 110: NAHTHANU

= "..(the wicked)..have given"

verse 111: NAHGHALT

= "..I have inherited.."

verse 112: NAHTAHT

= "..I have bowed.."

Letter Fifteen: verses 113 - 120: S A M E C H s (Uphold/support)

verse 113: SEH-GAPHEEM

= "..vain thoughts (half-hearted"

verse 114: SITH-RI

= "..my covert..."

verse 115: SOOROO

= "..turn away (o evildoers).."

verse 116: SAH-MACHNI

= "..uphold me (sustain).."

verse 117: SAH-GADNI

= "..hold me up..."

verse 118: SAH-LAHT

= "..you have trampled..."

verse 119: SEEGUM

= "..(like)..dross..."

verse 120: SAH-MAR

= "..(my flesh) has shivered.."

Letter Sixteen: verses 121 - 128: A I N o (An Eye or Well)

verse 121 : GAH- SAHT

= ".I have done....."

verse 122 : GAH- RAV

= "..be surety...."

verse 123 : GAHI-YINI

= "..my eyes...."

verse 124 : GAH- SAH

= "..deal (with )..."

verse 125 : GEH- VEDK

= "..your servant..."

verse 126 : GEHTH

= "..it is (time for..).."

verse 127 : GAL- KEN

= "..Therefore..."

verse 128 : GAL- KEN

= "..So..."

Letter Seventeen: verses 129 -136: P E p (Mouth)

verse 129 : PEH- LEHUT

= "..(are) wonderful..."

verse 130 : PEH- THAGH

= ".. the entrance of.."

verse 131 : PEHI

= "..my mouth..."

verse 132 : PAH-NAH

= "..Turn..(to..)..."

verse 133 : PAH- GAMI

= "..my steps..."

verse 134 : PAH-DAH-NI

= "..redeem me..."

verse 135 : PAH- NAK

= "..your face..."

verse 136 : PEH- LEG

= "..rivers ..(of...).."

Letter Eighteen: verses 137 - 144: T S A D D I x (Side)

verse 137 : TZAD-DEEK

= "..righteous..."

verse 138 : TZAH-VAHT

= "..you have enjoined (commanded)"

verse 139 : TZAH-MATTHANI

= "..has eaten me up ..."

verse 140 : TZAH-RAPH

= ".pure..(is)..."

verse 141 : TZAH-GEER

= "small..."

verse 142 : TZAD-DEKTAK

= "your righteousness..."

verse 143 : TZAHR

= "istress..."

verse 144 : TZAH-DAK

= "he righteousness..."

Letter Nineteen: verses 145 - 152: Q O P H q (Axe-head)

verse 145 : KAH- RAHT

= ".. I cried ..."

verse 146 : KAH- RAHTOOK

= "..I cried to you..."

verse 147 : KAH- DAMT

= ".I go before..."

verse 148 : KAH-DAM

= "..go before..."

verse 149 : KOHLI

= "..my voice (saying)..."

verse 150 : KAH- RAVU

= "..(they)..draw near..."

verse 151 : KAH- ROV

= "..you are near..."

verse 152 : KEH- DEM

= "..of old..."

Letter Twenty: verses 153 - 160: R E S H r (Head)

verse 153 : RAH

= "..Look on.....!"

verse 154 : REEVH

= "..Contend...(for my cause..).."

verse 155 : RAH- GHOHK

= "..Far off ..(is).."

verse 156 : RAH- GHAMEEMK

= "..your tender mercies..."

verse 157 : RAVEEM

= "..many..(are)..."

verse 158 : RAH- AHT

= "..I saw..."

verse 159 : RAH (KEN)

= "..See....(how)..."

verse 160 : ROHSH

= "..the sum of..(head of..).."

Letter Twenty-one: verses 161 - 168: S I N/S H I N w (Tooth)

verse 161 : SHEREEM

= ".. Princes...."

verse 162 : SHOO-SHAN

= "..(I..)..rejoice...."

verse 163 : SHEH-KER

= "..lying..."

verse 164 : SHEH-VAG

= "..seven...(times)..."

verse 165 : SHAH-LOHM

= "..Peace....."

verse 166 : SHAH-VART

= "..I have hoped.."

verse 167 : SHAH-MARH

= "..my soul has kept..."

verse 168 : SHAH-MART

= "..I have kept..."

Letter Twenty-two: verses 169 - 176: T A V c (A Sin/ Cross)

verse 169 : TAKAH- REHV

= "..Let come near..."

verse 170 : TA- BOH

= "..let (my prayer)..come.."

verse 171 : TABAGNA

= "..shall pour forth (belch out).."

verse 172 : TAGANA

= "..shall answer..."

verse 173 : TAH- YADOK

= ".. let (your hand) ...."

verse 174 : TAH- AVIT

= ".I have longed..."

verse 175 : TAH-NAPHSHI

= "Let my soul..."

verse 176 : TAH-GAHT

= " I have gone astray..."

Division One : verses 1 - 42 : RESOURCES FOR OUR PILGRIM PATH

a

1. A L E P H (1000) = OX.

The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is aleph, which means "ox" or "cow". This name is derived from its figure in the most ancient alphabet, which represents the rude outlines of the head of an ox. It is still found in the remains of the Phoenicean inscriptions, and is taken from the ancient sign of the ‘constellation’ taurus (bull). ‘Eleph’, which is very similar, means ‘elephant’. The words ‘aleph’ and ‘eleph’ come from the root meaning: ‘to learn’, or ‘to accustom oneself’. Thus, the elephant is the largest animal that ever has been ‘tamed’ by man (or has been ‘accustomed’ to man). God delights in ‘reconciling’ man to Himself, blessing man, and so that he may be ‘accustomed’ to God, and to other men, living in peace with all men, as Romans 12:18 exhorts.This living in peace with one another is what Jehovah wanted for the ‘thousands of Israel’ (Numb.10:36).

In the letter ‘aleph’ we have the thought also of an "’ox’ tamed and accustomed to man and in service to man. Lastly, the word for lion is ‘ari in Hebrew, also starting with the letter ‘aleph’.

As a numeral it stands for one - 1, but when there are two dots above it the value is one thousand. The first and second letters of the Greek alphabet are ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’, from which we get our word ‘alphabet’.

These two Greek letters have no meaning. In the Hebrew language they are also the two first letters: aleph, beth, and together they form the word ‘ab’, which means "father". This shows how prominent the 'fatherhood' of God is in the Scriptures.

SUMMARY:

Right at the beginning of this Psalm we have the type of the Lord Jesus Christ as the one who said: "I am among you as He that serveth" (Luke 22:27). And the one who said: "I have come not the be to be ministered unto, but to minister"(Mt.20:28). He gave Himself, the supreme sacrifice. For the heart of the believer, who sees in Him the burnt-offering, He is typified in the 'ox'.This offering typified the largest apprehension of His Person.

VERSES 1 - 24 : RESOURCES FOR THE PILGRIM JOURNEY

Section One. Verses 1 - 8 : "THE HAPPY ONES IN THE WAY"

Verses 1 - 3 : Reason why they are such happy people:

verse 1 : ASH-REY...."Blessed...

The word for ‘Blessed’ in the Hebrew is in the plural, and therefore describes the ‘abundant blessings’ that are the portion of all true believers in Christ: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ".

a. Consider their character: ‘...the perfect’.

They were not always ‘perfect’, but sinners once, every one going his own way, dead in trespasses and sins. But Christ gave Himself as a sacrifice for sin, to redeem sinners both from the guilt and power of sin. It is interesting that the ‘ox’ signifies the greatest measure of appreciation of the Person and sacrifice of Christ in the book of Leviticus. This Psalm begins by reminding us of the blessed Person of Christ and His worthiness and greatness and what He means to the Father. Here in this first verse the Lord Jesus Christ is brought before us as the supreme sacrifice for sin. The last letter of the Hebrew alphabet is the letter ‘tau’ which means a ‘sign’ or a ‘cross’. We see therefore that the Psalm begins and ends by reminding us of the Person and death of Christ on the cross for sinners, that they might be ‘perfect’ before God in Him. The word ‘perfect’ has the meaning of ‘ blameless, complete, whole, entire, sound’ (Exodus:12:5; Lev.3:5; Ps.19:8).

b. Notice where they walk: "..in the way..in the law of Jehovah".

In Isaiah 53:6 we read: "..we have turned every one to his own way". That was in their unconverted days. Now they are the Lord’s. They have found the true way: "..Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life" (Jn.14:6).

c. See how they are making progress:

After being born again there must be growth. Not only have they found the way, but they are walking in it. They are making progress. The Hebrew verb for walking is Hah-Lach and has the meaning of ‘going on’, ‘going forward’. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked...." (Ps.1:1). This is very practical. We are in Christ and: "As therefore ye have received the Christ, Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him..."(Col.2:6,7).

verse 2 : ASH-REY...: "Happy and abundantly blessed.."

Here is a double blessing :

a. "They keep His testimonies....". Remember what we said about this word 'testimonies'?.It testifies of what God is, and it also shows me what I ought to be. Before we can keep His testimonies, we must first have received them , accepted them and be willing to obey.

b. "They seek Him with the whole heart...".

Notice that they seek 'Him', they seek to please Him, to be more like Him. This is not merely an intellectual activity, but it is a question of the whole heart being engaged. My heart yearning after Him day by day, all day long. "Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart..", is the wonderful promise (Jer. 29:13).

verse 3 : APH...... "Also (they do no iniquity).."

Here we have a double purpose:

a. Negative : "..they ..do no iniquity...". As they keep His testimonies, and seek the Lord with their whole heart, staying close to Him, they do not sin. - It is not characteristic of a true Christian that he practises sin (1 Jn. 3:9). Rather an act of sin in the life of a believer is considered an accident, totally uncharacteristic of his position. "If any one sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous..."(1 Jn 2:1).

b. Positive : "..they walk in His ways...". They walk with Him, and in His strength. He is the way in which they walk...like Him. "He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked"(1 John 2:6). The effect of abiding in Him is seen in our walk.

Verses 4 - 6 : What is the secret of their happiness?

Verse 4 : ATA "..thou..............( have commanded us.).."

1. There is first of all complete submission. Remember that a commandment is a divine imperative decree, it's an order. Whether to Adam or to Noah, they had to submit. Adam did not, but Noah did submit. Are we willing to submit our will to His will? This submission is not imposed upon us, we are not forced to submit to our Lord Jesus! That would be servile. No, it is because we love Him that we willingly and gladly submit to Him. The verse continues: "to keep thy precepts diligently". There is nothing superficial about this submission! It is not a partial submission, but complete. There is no reserve, no holding back part, no hesitation, but a glad and wholehearted surrender.

verse 5 : AH -GHALEY …. "Would that!, Oh, that".

2. Then there is next a complete abandon. This is a prayer! It is the deep longing of the heart expressed in a sigh! There is a profound consciousness of complete weakness and inability of ourselves to do anything that is pleasing and acceptable to God. Here is a cry for assistance, for help, for power! Surely the Lord hears such a sigh! Surely the Holy Spirit will direct you and me to "..keep Thy statutes..", to do His will and not our own! A 'statute' is a divine direction to obtain our obedience, or to arrest disobedience.

verse 6 : AHZ : "THEN .(Then shall I not be)".

3. Lastly there is complete confidence : "Then": consequently! He has learned from experience! He has learned from past mistakes. He has learned that he will not be ashamed, when he has 'respect’ unto all the Lord's commandments! He says as it were: "Yes, looking back I am ashamed of those time when I acted in self-confidence and in my own strength and wisdom, and failed miserably. But now I have learned not to have this self-confidence, but to have complete confidence in the Lord". We must learn not to pick and choose with regards the Lord will for us. All His ways are blessedness and peace, all His will is good and acceptable and perfectly suited to our needs

Verses 7 - 8 : The happy results:

verse 7 : AHDAK … "I will thank Thee".

We saw in verse six that he had learned some very important and useful lessons. Here in verse seven we see what more he has learned by submitting himself and surrendering himself to the Lord. He has "learned the judgments of the Lord's righteousness...". What does that mean? The judgments of His righteousness are the decisions He makes concerning right or wrong, which give expression and put into execution the righteous character of God. We have much to learn about His judgments. We must learn that He always judges righteously, never arbitrarily or with any prejudice as men judge. We must learn now on earth learn from Him, how the judge like Him, so that later, when we shall reign with Him a thousand years, we shall be able to put into practice what we have learned. Whatever He thinks best is good and right, even when He must discipline as a tender and compassionate Father. One day, when we shall stand before His judgement-seat to be recompensed, we shall praise Him with uprightness of heart for all His righteous judgments.

verse 8 : ASHAMAR …"I will keep".

Meanwhile we continue our walk as Christians here on earth What shall be our ambition? "...I will keep Thy statutes..", is what the Psalmist says he will do. 'Keeping' means to observe and put into practice. His statutes are His directives to obtain our obedience. "If you love Me, keep My commandments..", the Lord Jesus said(Jn.14:15). As well as many other things that means that we love one another with the same divine love that He Himself has poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit see Romans 5:5. So there is the divine provision to enable us to do His bidding. All this will keep us humble, realising that of ourselves we can do nothing, as the Lord Jesus said : "...without Me you can do nothing.."(Jn.15:5). The Psalmist finishes this first section of eight verses with a prayer : "..O forsake me not utterly", but there is no need for us, believers of the New Testament, to think that the Lord would ever abandon us or that the Holy Spirit would leave us or be taken from us, for He abides with us for ever (Jn 14:16). However this should not make us careless, but encourage us to ontinue on our way with this constant prayer: "Lord Jesus keep me close to Yourself". From the above arrangement the reader will notice that every verse starts with the same letter aleph. The next section will show us that each of the eight verses begins with the letter beth.

b

2. B E T H = HOUSE

Notice the little 'tittle' and 'foundation', which saves the house from being swamped. The idea this letter gives us is that of solid foundation, the rock on which our house (our lives) are built. In this section of eight verses we have important foundation truths. Beth, meaning House, which we discover in the name Bethel ‘House of God’, and Bethlehem: House of Bread. It comes from the root meaning: bana, to build. The numerical value of this letter is : 2. ‘b’ alone, put in front of any Hebrew word, means with, or in (and thus has the meaning of ‘abiding’,’ Constancy'). Verse 9 begins in Hebrew with :'BMEH', which signifies: "with what?" "B" plus "Ah" = Bah, means 'in her, see for instance Isa.62:4 where God will call His people 'Hephzi '= My Delight, Bah = in her. Thus, "My delight is in her". The "ah" ending is usually a feminine ending in Hebrew as well as Arabic. "B" plus "O", pronounced Boo, means :'in him'. Thus the name "Boaz" means "Bo"= in him, "Az"= strength, therefore "In him is strength", and thus we see that Boaz is a type of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament begins with the letter "Beth" in chapter one verse one:"...B..RESHEET...":'in the beginning'. This letter is the initial of the word "Ben" which means "Son". We see then that the word "Son" (of God) is stamped on the Old Testament from the very start.

Section Two: verses 9 - 16 : IN THE SHADOWS OF DOUBT.

What is the 'remedy' for doubts? Knowing the 'truth(s)' contained in the Bible. Reading and studying the Bible, and so filling our thoughts with the word of God will deliver us from doubts. (See Philippians 4:8,9).

1. THE WORD OF GOD PURIFIES

verse 9 : "BMEH" - : "with what?".

Here is a soul with a question! The believer has sought to walk pleasing to the Lord, but he is conscious of the world around him with all its defiling influences. There has been defilement in thought and imagination. Some believers suffer from unclean thoughts or unclean suggestions from the enemy. This young man has been 'defiled' in this way. Now he asks the question :"with what" shall I cleanse my way, my heart, my thought-life? This verse gives us the first wonderful fact about the Word: it purifies. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit perfecting holiness in the fear of God"(2 Cor.7:1). "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you"( John 15:3). "Christ...gave Himself...that He might sanctify and cleanse it (the Church) with the washing of water by the Word (Ephesians 5:25,26).The Bible gives us light, and power, and support. We are responsible to keep ourselves from becoming defiled.

2. THE WORD OF GOD KEEPS.

verse 10 :"B-KOL" : 'with all '..("with my whole heart")

This verse shows us that the Word 'keeps' the believer from 'wandering'. When God's Word is obeyed daily it will keep me from being deceived, and it will purify me from the defilement of having to walk through this world full of uncleanness. "With my whole heart have I sought thee..". We have to be in earnest about it! To 'rush in' and 'rush out' of the Lord's presence for a little reading and prayer, is not what we might call properly 'quiet time'. We must take time to be holy. Notice that the second half of this verse is a prayer: "..O let me not wander...". We have a prayer in verse 5, 8 and in this verse. Prayer and bible study go hand in hand.

3. THE WORD OF GOD IN MY HEART.

Verse 11 : "B-LEHVI" : "...in my heart...".

Someone has said of this verse that we have here:

a. The best thing - Thy Word,

b. In the best place - My heart,

c. For the best purpose : "that I might not sin against Thee".

What a precious jewel of a verse! What a good thing it is therefore to memorise scripture, so that we may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the enemy with the sword of the word and say :"It is written".

4. THE WORD OF GOD IN MY THOUGHTS.

verse 12 : BA-RACH" : "Blessed.....".

This does not mean that mere man can 'bless' God in the sense of imparting something to Him Who is all-sufficient. But the sense of the word 'blessed' in the Old as well as in the New Testament is that He is worthy 'to be praised, to celebrate with praises..', thus we acknowledge His goodness, with desire for His glory. The Lord Jesus was that blessed Man on earth Who said: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.." (John 8:31,32). There are various ways in which we may learn the truth:

a. First: by faithfully reading it day by day, studying it also day by day.

b. Second: By the ministry of the Word through God-given teachers.

c. Third : by reading commentaries written by gifted and spiritual men.

d. Through these 'means' of grace the Holy Spirit can teach us the will of God, for He is that teacher. Let us therefore echo the prayer of the Psalmist :"Teach me thy statutes...", and remember that the meaning of a statute is ' a divine direction to obtain our obedience, and to keep us from disobedience'.

5. THE WORD OF GOD UPON MY LIPS.

verse 13 : "B-SAHPHATI" : "WITH MY LIPS"

"With my lips have I declared......", begins the verse. The believer may speak in 'living echoes of His words.." He must first be able to speak to us, before we can speak to others what He has told us. We do well to remember this. Before Jesus can send us forth 'to preach’ He calls us first to be 'with Him'. (Mark 3:14). Perhaps it is good to ask ourselves: "What do I use my lips for?" Certainly not for tale-bearing? How we need to pray daily :"Keep the door of my lips" (Psalm 141:3; Job 27:4).

6. THE WORD OF GOD IS MY JOY.

verse 14 : "B-DEH-RECH" : " in the way (of).."

"I have rejoiced in the WAY of thy testimonies...", When we remember that the meaning of 'testimony' is that which testifies of Him, speaks of Him: what HE is and what we ought to be, the focus is therefore on HIM. We rejoice in HIM and the WAY in which He leads and guides us. Is it true that we really 'delight' to please Him and to live for Him? Is reading the Bible a real pleasure for us, or simply a daily 'duty'? How do we profit most from our daily bible readings? Here are some suggestions that may help. Before we read, we ask for the Lord's help and illumination. When we have finished reading we may ask the following questions:

1. Is there an example I must follow in my reading?

2. Is there a commandment I must obey?

3. Is there any sin mentioned that I must avoid?

4. Is there a promise that I can claim by faith?

5. Is there a new thought concerning the Lord Jesus Christ?

Of course we can make up our own 'list', but the important thing is that we meditate on what we have read, chew it over and take it in.

7. THE WORD OF GOD FOR MY CONTEMPLATION

verse 15 : B-PIK-KOO-DEEMAK : "..in your precepts.."

Here is a determination expressed: "I will meditate...". How important it is to be determined about maintaining a daily bible study. Many Christians are so disorganised that they cannot find time for bible-study. Or rather that's their excuse. We can always find time for something that we really want to do! The important thing is that we do find some time each day. The Psalmist says:"..My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up". (Ps.5:3). "..and have respect unto Thy ways..": It is apparently not enough to be interested and meditate the Word, but it should be followed by putting it into practice. To have 'respect' is to be willing to obey the word of God.

8. THE WORD OF GOD MEMORISED

verse 16 : B-GHOOK-KAHTAK : "in your statutes.. "

How important it is also that we do no forget what we have read: "..I will not forget thy word..". In verse 11 we saw the need for hiding it in our hearts. To store the mind with the word of God is the true way of victory. Of the Lord Jesus it was said that the Word was in His heart. How can the Holy Spirit possibly bring anything, any word from the Bible to our remembrance if we have not first stored it there. Today we say of the computer that it will give you nothing but what you have first stored in its memory yourself! Some Christians take verses of scripture out of their context. Take for instance Luke 12:12 "..For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say..". These believers take this verse to mean that you do not have to prepare yourself in order to minister the Word of God They think that no 'preparation' is necessary. I am convinced that the true spiritual believer does his daily bible study and so the Holy Spirit 'prepares' him, whilst the believer stores his mind with the Word of God. Then when a believer is called upon to minister that Word, the Holy Spirit will bring to his remembrance what he should say.

And by the way, the verse in Luke 12:12 had to do and was fulfilled in the apostles when they were persecuted as we find it registered in the book of Acts. So everything really depends upon our 'appetite' for the Word of God. Our verse says:"I will delight myself...". The writer of this Psalm certainly gives us a good example to follow. He repeats the fact that he delights in the Word of God at least 8 times: see verses 24,35,47,70,77,92,143,174. The young men the apostle John addressed in 1 John 2, are said to 'have overcome the wicked one....because they were strong. and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one..."(verses 13,14).Notice the 'actions' in verses 15 and 16 here:

a. I will meditate.

b. I will have respect.

c. I will delight.

d. I will not forget.

g

3 : G I M E L = CAMEL

In Phoenician monuments, on the coins of the Macabees, and in the Ethiopian alphabet, its figure bears a resemblance to the neck of a camel. The root idea of this letter/word is: to give, to do, or to show to any one, or to carry. (In Arabic it is a cognate of Hamala:" meaning to be carried on a camel".

It also has the meaning of 'to be kind'. We find this meaning in the name: "Gamaliel"= "The kindness of El". The numerical value of Gimel is : three. Taking as its meaning as 'to show any one', it gives us an indication of God's revelation given to us in His Word, the precious Bible. All the spiritual supplies and refreshment we need for our wilderness journey are found in that precious living Word.

Section Three: verses 17 - 24 : TRIALS OF THE WILDERNESS.

P R A Y E R S....for:

1. ABUNDANT LIFE:

verses 17 : GAH-MAL : "..Deal bountifully...".

The Christian pilgrim has started his wilderness journey (verses 1 - 8), and has asked many questions (verses 9-16). He has understood that as he continues in the way of the Lord he will undoubtedly meet with difficulties and problems that must be dealt with. He realises therefore his deep need of help from the Lord and His divine guidance for his path. The Lord Jesus has said that He Himself is the "way", for us (John 14:6), and in John 10:10, He says :"..I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly...". The Psalmist can only pray that Jehovah will deal bountifully with him, so that he might live. We as Christians can thank our Father for having blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ. We have all that God could give in Christ. What wonderful resources! What abundant life! In verses 9 -16 we see a young man, still rather inexperienced, and with overwhelming needs. In verses 17-24 he realises he is a 'pilgrim' (vse.19) and needs to be shown the way. No wonder that he prays :"give me fulness of Thy strength and Life so that I may do Thy will and keep Thy word". James tells us :.. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him..." (Jas.1:5). In order to be able to 'keep' His word, we must know the enablement of the Holy Spirit.

2. I L L U M I N A T I O N

verse 18 : GAH-LAH = "Reveal!...Open!..." (an Imperative).

Here is an earnest pleading with the Lord to give insight and spiritual illumination : "..Open thou mine eyes....". In Mark 8:22-26 we read about a blind man near Bethsaida whom Jesus healed. But the 'process' of the healing is very interesting and instructive. After the first act of the Lord He asks him whether he can see, and the man answers: "..I see men as trees, walking". Obviously he had sight now, and he could see. But his seeing was far from what it should be. So a further act of Christ was necessary. The man was given the power of sight, then the power to use his sight in order to distinguish one object from another. This suggests the progressive manner in which the truths of scripture are perceived. "..that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law..". The Gospel opens the eyes to the knowledge of spiritual things, but then there is a further 'enlightening' necessary of the 'eyes of the heart' to apprehend the spiritual blessings we have in Christ. Are we 'discovering' wondrous truths in the scriptures day by day? Never approach the reading or study of the bible without this prayer: "..Open thou mine eyes...".

3. K N O W L E D G E.

verse 19 : GEHR =" a Stranger.....(I am).."

One of the precious truths we shall discover when studying the Bible is the fact that we are "..Strangers on the earth". Some questions will be asked as we study: 1. Who am I? 2. Where do I come from? 3. What is the purpose for my being here on earth? 4. Where am I going? 5. Am I ready for my eternal destiny? Once, when still in our sins, we were "..aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world..". "But now in Christ Jesus, (we) ye who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Eph.2:12,13). Now here is a prayer that the New Testament believer never needs to pray : "...hide not thy commandments from me..": because there are no longer any 'mysteries' hidden for the New Testament believers! The apostle Paul writes: "..How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery....whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.....to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery......that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God...." (Ephesians 3:3-10). The Spirit of God delights to make known to every believer what was in the heart of God from before the foundation of the world. We see that in verse 18 there is the prayer for open eyes and in verse 19 there is the desire for an open Bible, i.e. to be illuminated by the Holy Spirit. This is how the Christian progresses in the way through this world.

4. S A T I S F A C T I O N.

verse 20 : GAH-RAS = "(my soul)...breaketh for, is crushed".

The word Gahras, signifies to crush (to break in pieces), and so we have this strong expression: "..my soul breaketh for the longing...". It is a deep desire after the word of God and the will of God. Paul expresses such a desire after Christ: "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being made comformable unto His death" (Phil.3:10). "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God"(Ps.42:1). This is not just an emotional moment, it is a constant longing : "..at all times..". It is sometimes said: "You are what you long for..". What is it we must long for? "Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word...hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.." (Luke 10:39)

B. T H E P R O U D:

1. A REBUKE:

verse 21 : GAH-GART = "You have rebuked...."

There are some elements which are directly opposed to that which is spiritual. These are elements that would rather deceive and lead astray. Pride, self-sufficiency and independence of God are arch-enemies of spiritual progress and understanding. The Lord Jesus gives this direction : "..Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls"(Mat.11:29). Of all moral sins, the Lord Jesus considered pride one of the worst and most hateful. There may be the pride of Race, or the pride of face, or the pride of Place, but the worst is the pride of Grace. To have a superior attitude towards other Christians and pretend to be more spiritual than they, perhaps because of more light and understanding of the scriptures. There is a danger in much knowledge, even in much Bible-knowledge. The apostle Paul warns against this: "..we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth.." (1 Cor.8:1). Actually proud persons are very miserable persons because no one loves them since they keep themselves so aloof. Never forget that PRIDE was the at the root of Satan’s fall: "..lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil"(1 Tim. 3:6).

2. A REPROACH:

verse 22 : GAH-LAL = "...Remove..." (or 'roll away').

The apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:12 : "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Today it is not easy for the believer to be faithful in this sin-sick world. To believe in God, that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, that the Bible is true and that Jesus is the only way of salvation, brings much scorn and reproach. There must therefore first of all be :

a. A definite choice and decision of heart: "..All that will live godly"(a life that please God),

b. No surprise that we "..shall suffer persecution", and c. The knowledge that all our resources to remain faithful are: "...in Christ Jesus". If we are treated with contempt, let us not meet the 'flesh' with the 'flesh' and retaliate. Let us rather turn to the Lord and lay our case at His feet and then be positively occupied with His will and Word and leave our defence with Him. It may not be that He will 'remove' the trying circumstance, but He will surely give grace to bear it

C. P R I N C E S:

1. IGNOBLE 'NOBLES':

verse 23 : GAM = "Also"(Princes did sit...).

Look at the contrast in this verse. There are the princes and there is the servant. Which of the two are more noble? Both are occupied: a. The Princes in speaking evil, b. The Servant in meditating upon God's statutes. The Princes of this world have sat in judgement on the Son of God: "..the wisdom of God (is Jesus Christ, see ch.1:24).. which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory" (1 Cor.2:7,8). The unbelieving world has treated our Lord Jesus Christ like this, will they treat His followers any differently? Are we willing to be known as His 'disciples'? Think of the attitude of the 'disciples' in the Acts: "....And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word..." (Acts 4:29). This is no prayer for deliverance from their enemies, but a prayer that the Lord might give them even more zeal to continue their positive Christian service in witness for Him.

2. HUMBLE COUNSELLORS:

verse 24 : GAM = "Also".. (Thy testimonies..)

The positive attitude is continued in this verse with this conjunction of 'determination'...Gam/Also....! The believer is undaunted and fearless, because strengthened and encouraged by the Lord. But let us remember what we read in 1 John 2:13 about the 'young men' who were able to overcome the wicked one. It was because they abode in the Word and the Word abode in them that they were strong and able to stand and resist. This section ends with this positive thought: "Thy testimonies also are my delight, and my counsellors". Verse 16 spoke of this same attitude. He will keep me, as I keep myself in the love of God!

Division Two : verses 25 - 48 : STRENGTH FOR THE WEARY

d

4 : DALETH = A DOOR

This word means :"Door" in the Hebrew, which appears to have been the most ancient form of this letter. Its numerical value is = 4, which speaks of Universality. The spiritual significance of this letter seems to be that of 'entrance', 'giving entrance', or 'opening up the way' - something which includes and excludes. The way we are in seems blocked, we are at a 'dead-end', emotionally we may be at 'wit's end', deeply depressed and discouraged. "Daleth" will help us 'discover' the way to being quickened, restored and encouraged.

VERSES 25 - 48: STRENGTH FOR THE WEARY.

Section Four. verses 25 - 32 : GOD'S WORD QUICKENS AND RESTORES

1. EARTHBOUND!

verse 25 : DAH- VAK = "..(my soul)...CLEAVETH.(or clings).."

"..my soul cleaveth unto the dust...". What a discovery to make! Indeed, how much value do we attach to the things of this earth? Do we 'theorise' about the Christian life, and yet 'live' for this earth, rather than for the Lord Jesus? What are indeed our priorities? Do we 'cling' to some kind of idol that we cannot 'let go'? We have tried so hard to 'get free' from this thing, this particular weakness or temptation, but to no avail. We are depressed about it. Romans 7:18 is right when it says : "..for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not...". Well might we echo the cry : "...quicken thou me...". That quickening is in the Life of Christ, lived out in us. Have we surrendered to Him, have we come to Him?

2. CONFESSION FIRST!

verse 26 : DEH-RECHI = "...my way..."

"..I have declared my ways...".

Have we told Him all? Our failures, our vain efforts? Our struggles and defeats? Have we left anything unconfessed? Are we willing to judge the root-cause of our defeat? Confession is not only that I tell the Lord my faults, but that I accept myself as I really am, without any pretence and without any excuses. This is a necessary lesson we must learn : "..teach me...", continues our verse. Teach me the plaque of my own heart. He "..is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude verse 24).

3. WE MUST BE TAUGHT AND UNDERSTAND BEFORE WE CAN TALK TO OTHERS.

verse 27 : DEH-RECH = "....the way (of your precepts)..".

In verse 26 the Psalmist asks to be 'taught' because he is conscious of his ignorance. He lacks experience of many things. Now he asks : "...make me to understand...". To be taught is not enough, we must also grasp and understand what we have been taught, otherwise our knowledge is simply 'theoretical'. We can have an intellectual 'grasp' of the Bible, have knowledge, but lack the wisdom ( that comes from experience) to be able to impart that knowledge to others. In order to be able to : "..talk of His wondrous works", we must have inwardly 'digested' the truths of God's word. Too many assume they are teachers because they possess a certain amount of Bible knowledge. But there is something lacking in their 'talk', their 'teaching'. Before what I say to others can 'grip' them, it must have gripped me first. Paul says to Timothy : "..But continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them". (2 Tim.3:14).

4. BEWARE OF SELF-OCCUPATION:

verse 28 : DAH-LAPH = "...(my soul)..drops..(melteth).."

There is nothing more disheartening and discouraging than to be occupied with oneself. Our spirits will begin to wilt and 'droop'. Something has happened to us, and we just wonder : "Why me?" We cannot understand why the Lord has allowed this. We begin to sulk. We become depressed and burdened with 'heaviness'. In Romans chapter seven the personal pronouns I, me, myself are repeated 47 times. I ask you, with whom is the man in that chapter occupied? The capital letter "I" is repeated 28 times! There is your answer. He is occupied with 'self'. Let us then follow the Psalmist in his prayer : "strengthen thou me according to thy word..". Occupation with Christ, with the word of Christ will get us out of our depressions!

5. BEWARE OF HYPOCRISY:

verse 29 : DEH-RECH = "..the way (of lying)..".

Of course, I can refuse the 'truth' about myself! But that is a form of dishonesty before the Lord, as well as before others. Have you never felt like a 'hypocrite' when you have talked about your spiritual experience with others and that same day you had been unfaithful to the Lord? We can hide our own spiritual destitution from others, but why try to hide it from Him? The Psalmist appeals to the law. But we know that the law can only condemn me and make me see even more my own wretchedness. But no, it is grace we need : "..and grant me thy law graciously..". It mat seem strange to find these two here joined together : law-grace! The literal Hebrew rendering is : "and favour me with your law..". If Jehovah 'favoured' His people by giving them a written revelation of Himself in the 'law, of the ten commandments", then how much more have we been 'favoured' in Christ by being shown God's wonderful grace of forgiveness of all our transgressions and grace to do His will! If the law shows me what I am by nature apart from Grace, then grace shows me what I have become in Christ : "accepted". So then, it is no longer I, but Christ. Let us be occupied with Him then!

6. DETERMINATION:

verse 30 : DEH-RECH = "..the way (of your truth)...".

It is up to us now! There must be a choice! God does not do for us what we can do for ourselves! We can stay in our depression and keep on sulking and murmuring and get more and more depressed. But we need not. "..I have chosen the way of truth..." : is his decision! Spiritual advance and growth is not automatic! It demands our co-operation, an action of our will. "Wilt thou be made whole..?" The prodigal son said: "I will arise and go to my father..". Here is the conviction that God's word shall govern our lives : "thy judgments I have laid before me". We have that same expression of determination in Psalm 16:8 : "..I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved". Have you made that decision yet?

7. DEVOTION:

verse 31 = DAH- VAKT = "..I have clung...".

What a wonderful contrast with verse 25! There he was 'clinging' to the dust. Here in verse 31 the same verb is used "dahvak", but now he is seen clinging to the word : that which testifies of what God is and what he should be. Here is true devotion : clinging to the Lord. That is what Barnabas exhorted the believers at Antioch to do : "he..exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord"(Acts 11:23). The determination of verse 30 is here continued. "..O Lord, put me not to shame..", need never be the prayer of the New Testament believer. But we are assured that "whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed". (Rom.9:33)

8. DEPENDENCE:

verse 32 : DEH-RECH = "..the way (of your commands)..".

The Authorised Version here makes us think that the Psalmist is 'striking a bargain' with the Lord : "I will.. when You..". But a better rendering is : "..I will run the way of Your commands for You shall enlarge my heart". Here we have the Lord's enabling. It is because everything depends upon Him strengthening us! How dependent indeed we are upon Him for our daily walk. What a wonderful change in his soul has been wrought since verse 25, where we saw him cleaving to the dust, so terribly 'earthbound'. But now he is soaring! He is able to run, because his heart has been 'enlarged', given increased capacity. "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31). May our prayer be: "..Draw me, we will run after Thee..".

h

5. H E = A WINDOW OR LATTICE.

The significance of this letter is not certain but many scholars think it means "Window", or "Lattice"? In any case it carries the meaning of 'letting in the light'. Its numerical value is five. The number 5 suggests man's weakness, because a man with only one hand, that is with only five fingers cannot do much. We have therefore the idea of weakness. But a further thought is of Grace meeting this weakness. The letter "He" occurs twice in JHWH = Jehovah, and this helps us to understand that God in His grace is meeting, and has met, man's utter inability and helplessness. In Arabic the letter ‘He’ is used in asking a question: "Hal?"

Section Five : verses 33-40 : GOD'S WORD MEETS OUR WEAKNESS

Here then is a desperate need! Only God can meet our need! But we must go to Him and trust Him implicitly, and let Him do the work that we cannot do. "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly"(Rom.5:6).

1. MY NEED: TO BE TEACHABLE

verse 33 : HAYAHRANNI = "...Teach me..."

Man is totally ignorant of his true and desperate condition as a sinner. That is why the Holy Spirit must convict of sin, open our eyes so that we may 'see' our need! The first thing required of a sinner is his total capitulation, his recognition that he is lost and helpless. The Holy Spirit insists upon the surrender of our 'self-will'. The capacity to will, to make decisions, remains, but must from now on be under the control of the Holy Spirit. Notice the five-fold prayer from a man who is conscious of his helplessness. ( Remember that the letter He is the fifth letter of the alphabet:

1. verse 33 :"..Teach...and I shall observe it......."

2. verse 34 :"..Give understanding..and I shall keep."

3. verse 35 :"..Make me to go....I delight..........."

4. verse 36 :"..Incline my heart....................."

5. verse 38 :"..Stablish thy word unto thy servant..."

All these verses express his desire to be taught, to receive 'light' and illumination from the Lord. Let us therefore not be wise in our own eyes, or think we know better than the Lord, but repeat with the Psalmist" : "Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes...."

2. MY NEED: A CONTRITE SPIRIT:

verse 34 : HA-BEENI = "..make me understand..."

The desire to be teachable goes together with a contrite spirit! We should take a humble position before the Lord. Our intellect is certainly not to be set aside. The Holy Spirit's activity is to renew our 'understanding' and our 'mind' (Romans 12:2). Even though our intellect must be engaged, yet we must realise that the heart must be involved first of all. In spiritual matters the Bible tells us that we 'think' not with our brains (intellect), but with our heart as the centre of our total being. This is figurative language of course. So when our human, sanctified spirit is taught, our whole heart becomes engaged in the observing. Putting teaching we have received into practice is a question of the heart and the will. And notice it is the whole heart that is engaged in this : "..yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart". This emphasises concentration. The Holy Spirit is our divine Teacher : "..But you have an unction from the Holy One, and you know all things...", "..And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ...." (1 John2:20; 5:20).

3. MY NEED: CONCENTRATION.

verse 35 : HA-DAREKNI = "..Cause me...."

The need for concentration has been noticed in the previous verse. Here this thought is continued : "..Make me to go in the path...". It is my duty to keep yielding myself to the teaching of the Spirit, and present my members as instruments of righteousness unto Him. We are no robots programmed to go through certain motions automatically. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.."(Phil.2:13). There is always God's side first but also most definitely man's side and responsibility. If HE is going to 'make me go...', I must make it my 'delight' to do His bidding!

4. MY NEED: A YIELDED HEART:

verse 36 : HAT-LEBI = "..Bow (or incline) my heart..."

Are we really sincere and determined about following the Lord, doing His will, obeying His WORD? By nature we are all rebels, only thinking of ourselves and doing our own will. That is the reason why he prays : "not to covetousness" . Now that we are born of God and have His Spirit dwelling within, we need to be 're-schooled', i.e to be taught His will. Now we can see the need for this prayer : "..Incline my heart...".

5. MY NEED : A SINGLE EYE

verse 37 : HA-GAH-VAR = "..Turn away..."

"The heart is often led astray by the eye", is no understatement! If in verse 36 we have a positive request ("incline my heart"), in this verse we have a negative request : "..turn away mine eyes..". How quickly we are defiled by a 'look'! How quickly we are distracted by what our eyes observe, how quickly deviated from the Lord's way for us : "..quicken thou me in thy way..". Here again, the Lord will not do for us what we must do for ourselves. The apostle Paul tells us : "..make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof"(Romans 13:14). Someone has said that it is the 'second look' that is sin! He meant, that when you walk in the street and you see an unclean thing, a pornographic picture, you cannot help that. But when you stop, or turn to look again, that is deliberate! By turning , or stopping to look again we are actually making provision for the flesh.

6. MY NEED : STABILITY

verse 38 : HA-KOOM = "...Make rise (or establish, confirm)"

There must be a fixity of purpose in our hearts. "For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed"(James 1:6). "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph.4:14). The more we are 'rooted and

grounded' in the Word of God the less vulnerable we shall be to deception. There is no excuse for ignorance of the Word. The Lord Jesus clearly said that we must 'watch and pray' lest we be deceived. It is therefore the responsibility of every believer to read and study the Word, so that he might be well-grounded and well-established in the Word of God. "..thy servant, who is devoted to Thy fear..": is the motivation for seeking to be established in the Word of God. We do not want to grieve the Lord, nor the Holy Spirit. And the fear of the Lord also means that if we disobey then we should certainly fear the 'discipline' that must inevitably follow, because we are children of our Father.

7. MY NEED : TO FEAR THE LORD ONLY

Verse 39 : HA-GAH-VAR = "..Turn away...."

If we fear His Word, that is, respect it and obey it, we need not fear anyone or anything else. HE will be with us. No doubt, those who do not fear God and deny even His existence, will ridicule us and mock us and reproach us! It is not easy nor pleasant for the believer to realise that if he wants to be faithful he may not be popular. There is definite 'reproach' attached to being a disciple of Jesus Christ. This may be a 'healthy' 'fear'! May be he asks here that he might not suffer reproach for adhering to the Word of God. But reproaches for righteousness sake are to be rejoiced in. The literal rendering from the Hebrew is : "Turn away my shame which I fear...". The Psalmist may have thought of the possibility that he might commit some evil act, some unfaithfulness, that would bring shame upon the name of the Lord as well as to himself, and so he beseeches the Lord to keep him from this. A similar thought is expressed by the apostle Paul in Phil 1:20 "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also, Christ shall be magnified in my body". What Paul feared was that because of the pressures put upon him by the enemies of the Lord, he might in some measure deny the Lord's claims, dishonour the Lord. This is indeed a prayer we would do well to pray daily!

8. MY NEED : TO REALISE MY NOTHINGNESS

verse 40 : HIN-NEH = "..Behold.......!"

This whole section of eight verses has brought before us our own nothingness and helplessness. This should not be a temporary and emotional feeling, but our constant realisation! In this verse we have the sense of need expressed again : "..quicken me in Thy righteousness..." . This is a confession of conscious weakness, and the need for being quickened and strengthened with might by His Spirit in our inner man.

To have said : "I have longed for Thy Promises...", would be quite human, but he says : "I have longed for Thy precepts". We remember from the Introduction that the significance of the word "precept' is : a charge given to us by God for which we are responsible. We must always remember that privileges are inseparable from responsibilities. We have committed unto us a charge from the Lord, like Timothy, to whom Paul says : "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee, keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us". (2 Timothy 1:13,14). It is the Holy Spirit who helps us in our weakness and helplessness, to strengthen us in order to walk in obedience to the Word of God.

v

6. : V A V = A HOOK OR A NAIL.

The shape of this letter in Hebrew is like that of a nail. The use of a nail is to 'join' things together.

This letter therefore is what is called a copulative conjunctive. The English equivalent would be the word 'and’ which always joins a series of ideas. The letter therefore 'connects' things together. In the old testament this letter 'vau' occurs more than 15000 times! The numerical value of 'vau' is = six (6), which in the Bible is the number of ‘man', and it stresses man's limitation in contrast with God's infiniteness. We get the idea of what is 'individual'.

An interesting use of the letter is found in Daniel 5:25 "...(Mene, mene, tekel..) U(Pharsin).." = 'and' (U). Literally in the Hebrew we read : "..A Mina, a Mina, a Shekel and Half-Minas...". The Chaldean "Upharsin" is translated into English by "..and divided it", (or: finished it). It is interesting that in several verses in the Old Testament we have the "Nail" mentioned as a type of the Lord Jesus Christ and His work of redemption and salvation Isaiah 22 : "And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house. And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father's house.....In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off; for the Lord hath spoken"(vss.23,24,25). Some commentators see Eliakim here was a foreshadowing of Christ. Zechariah 10:4 "Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together". This verse speaks of the House of Judah 'out of him', would come He who is the corner-stone, He who is the 'nail' on whom all Hope hangs.....

Section Six : verses 41 - 48: THE WORD OF GOD LEADS TO VICTORY.

A. THE PRAYER verses 41-44:

1. FOR FULL SALVATION

verse 41 : VA-BANI = "..Let come to me..."

In the previous section we saw the writer's helplessness and nothingness and his desire for 'quickening'. This section, through the significance of the letter vav as superscript, stresses the fact that Jesus, having identified Himself with helpless and needy man, is man's only salvation. This is what the Psalmist realizes: his constant need for mercies and salvation. For the Christian it is the same, we have been saved and we are being saved. We have experienced God's grace and mercy, and we continue to need His mercies every day. The psalmist in these verses fears lest in any degree the Lord would withhold His favour from him. This is a needless fear for the true Christian. We may become unfaithful, but He abides faithful, He cannot deny Himself. In 'salvation' we have become 'identified’ with the Lord Jesus Christ, and as long as we realise our constant need of Him, and abide in Him, we shall experience 'victory' over Satan and sin and self : ''...according to Thy word..". In 1 John 2:14 we see that the young men were able to overcome the wicked one by the fact that they were made strong through the Word that abode in them.

2. FOR VICTORY OVER SATAN:

verse 42 : VA-GAH-NAH = "..I will answer...."

Here we are told who is the one the Psalmist wants to answer! "..him that reproacheth me..". The verb 'reproach' in the Hebrew has the sense of 'scorn', 'to carp', to reproach'. We all know that Satan is described in the Bible as 'the accuser of the brethren' (Rev.12:10). Satan uses human beings also to inflict scorn on their fellow-men. Unbelievers may scorn and mock the believer, or ask him 'tricky' questions. The verse continues to tell us that only because the Psalmist 'trusts in Thy Word..' will he be able 'to answer'. Here then is another secret of victory over the enemy: "...But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts: and be ready always to have an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear". (1Pet.3:15).

3. FOR TRUTH THAT OVERCOMES:

verse 43 : VA-LA = "..And not (deliver the word of truth)"

His desire has been to be able to 'give his testimony' even before those who oppose him and scorn and ridicule him. He dreads the possibility that for some reason he would not have a 'word to answer' : "..the word of truth out of my mouth". Only daily experience of fellowship with the Lord and study of His Word will prepare us to be His 'witnesses". Sin in the life would take away our testimony. Sometimes, even when out of fellowship with the Lord we may try to cover up and continue to 'testify', but there is no power, no conviction. Our opposers may even say : "..Your actions speak so loud that I cannot hear what you say".

4. THAT I MAY TRIUMPH ONLY THROUGH HIM:

verse 44 : VA-ASHAMARAH = "..And I shall keep..."

The verse begins with a 'vav' which may also be inserted 'by way of explanation; or "If...then...". Here the Authorised Version has translated : "..So...". "Nothing more effectually binds a man to the way of the Lord than an experience of the truth of his word, embodied in the form of mercies and deliverances. Not only does the Lord's faithfulness open our mouths against his adversaries, but it also knits our hearts to his fear, and makes our union with Him more and more intense. God's grace alone can enable us to keep his commandments without break and without end". So, because He strengthens and quickens and enables us, we can 'keep' His 'law' in the form of Christ's commandments for us today.

B. verses 45-48: THE PROMISES:

1. PERFECT FREEDOM IS TO BE HIS SLAVE: --

verse 45 : VA-ATHALACH = "..And I will walk...(at LIBERTY)"

Am I stating a contradiction? Is to be His slave really perfect liberty? Yes, indeed. Ask all those who have totally submitted to His blessed will. What joy! What perfect liberty not to do our own will, as before, but His will. Free at last to do His will. Free from the bondage of the will of the flesh, from self-will! "For I seek thy precepts...". It is as we search the scriptures that we shall find this secret of 'perfect liberty'. It is at the end of Romans chapter seven that we see a soul cry out in bitterness : "O wretched man that I am who shall deliver me of the body of this death?" He is miserable, because he is under the tyranny of sin and self. But he discovers the secret:

" ..Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord". Have we yielded to the Lordship of Christ yet?

2. MY LIPS ARE HIS':

verse 46 : VA-ADABARAH = "..And I will speak..."

Delivered from the bondage and tyranny of sin and self, now we can yield to our new Master: the Lord Jesus Christ! There was a time, in our unregenerate days, when Psalm 12:2-4 might have been applicable to any one of us : "..with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; "our lips are our own: who is Lord over us?" I hope that my reader can say : "..my lips are HIS". What do we use our mouths and our lips for now? Surely our verse helps us : "..I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.." Think of the apostle Paul, how he stood before king Agrippa, before Festus and Felix, and gave a ringing testimony to his faith in the living God (Acts 26 etc).

3. MY HEART IS HIS' ALSO:

verse 47 : VA-ASHTAGAG = "..And I will delight myself.."

It is a very good habit to have our hearts and thoughts occupied with the Lord and His word, the moment we awake in the morning. Many believers know the joy of keeping regular 'quiet time' with the Lord and His word. Do you? It is not easy to find time each day for this. Many believers have totally disorganised lives, they 'wander' aimlessly through each day and feel dissatisfied as they seem to accomplish nothing really positive. Do you feel like that? Have you organised your life? You will always recognise a spiritual and fruitful believer - his life-style is an organised life-style. "..My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and I will look up"(Psalm 5:3). Many men of God in the Bible 'got up early in the morning" to do what the Lord required of them. Of the Lord Jesus we read that He 'got up a great while before day to pray". This is indeed the secret of the 'victorious life', a life of prayer and study of the Word of God.

4. MY HANDS AND MY BODY ARE HIS':

verse 48 : VA-AHSAH = ".. And I will lift up (my hands)"

It is entirely appropriate that this section of eight verses should end with 'folded hands' lifted up to the Lord in total dependence, relying on Him for victory in daily life. Nothing less than total surrender of our will to the Lord Jesus and submission to Him as His 'slaves', yielding our lips and our mouths and our hands to Him, is required so that we might realise His victory in our lives.

Division Three : verses 49 - 72 : OUR IMMENSE SPIRITUAL RICHES.

i

TSADDI = WEAPON

This letter in the Syriac language means "Weapon". The root idea of the letter is from 'zakar'= 'to remember' (compare the name 'Zachariah' = zachar- 'remembered', 'iah'-of Jehovah ). The Hebrew letter 'TSADDI' is very close in pronunciation and is the first letter in the word for 'Rock'='Zur" in Exodus 17:6. There it has the meaning of 'sharpness', like the 'weapon' we are discussing in connection with the letter 'Zain'. It is interesting that in Numbers 20:8 the word for "Rock" in Hebrew is "Sehlag" and this comes from the root meaning : 'Elevation' (or "Height"). In Numbers 20 it is typical of Christ 'raised from among the dead and exalted. The numerical value of this letter is : Seven (7). What then does this letter suggest to us? That we must 'remember' our immense spiritual riches!

Section Seven: verses 49-56 : GOD’S WORD SHOWS US OUR SPIRITUAL POSSESSIONS

1. PRECIOUS PROMISES:

verse 49 : ZA-KAR = "...Remember...(the word.)...".

It is the Psalmist who asks the Lord to 'remember' His word! The Lord has given precious promises. Some one has tried to count all the promises given in the Bible and has found more than 30.000 of them! Precious Promises! We have this interesting word in Isaiah 62:6 "..ye that are the Lord's remembrancers, keep not silence..". The best 'basis' for prayer is the solid promises of God. Remind God of what He has said! "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance"(Rom.11:29). "According as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us by glory and virtue..Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,..."(2 Peter 1:3,4). The Psalmist is saying in effect : "This is the 'word' and these are the 'promises' 'upon which Thou hast caused me to hope..". How wonderful that the Bible gives us hope in afflictions (v.49), and comfort (v.50), even in troubles (vss.51-53), and it gives joy (54-56). God is always faithful to His promises!

2. POSSESSING OUR POSSESSIONS:

verse 50 : ZA-AT = "..This...(is my comfort)...".

The question is whether we have appropriated and do appropriate these exceeding great and precious promises! This 'appropriating' is by faith: we thank the Lord for every promise the Holy Spirit brings before us in our daily reading. We see something similar in Romans 6:11 where Paul says : "..Likewise RECKON ye also yourselves to be dead..". It is not the 'reckoning' that makes the fact, but I am to reckon 'in view' of the fact. I 'appropriate' in view of the fact every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ are put to my account by the Father. It is therefore in the appropriating that we experience the '...comfort in my affliction..." . It is when we thank the Lord for His promises that we experience what the Psalmist affirms : "...for Thy Word has quickened me..". Notice, here is no prayer for deliverance FROM the affliction! But although the affliction remains, the comfort is there so that we may be able to bear it, and be victorious in it.

3. NO PROMISES FOR THE PROUD:

verse 51 : ZEHDEM = "..The proud...(have had...).."

By the 'proud' are meant the unbelievers! They cannot understand the quiet confidence of the believer and therefore ridicule him. Ridicule is a powerful weapon Satan uses against believers, to make them doubt the promises of God. But we should not be surprised by this ridicule. The apostle Paul tells us : "..All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution"( 2 Tim.3:12). The natural man 'receiveth' not, cannot understand, the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him" ( 1 Cor.2:14). So let us arm ourselves! If the enemy seeks to make us doubt the promises of God, let us not give him one inch! It is the purpose of the enemy to 'decline us from the law (the Word) of God..", but with the Lord's help his efforts will only strengthen us, and make us more determined to trust the Lord and realize His promises.

4. REMEMBER!

verse 52 : ZA-KARTI = "..I remembered (thy judgments..)".

We forget so quickly! In verse 49 he said he would remember! In this verse he repeats it. It is like saying: "..let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Col.3:16). There is no victory possible without that Word abiding in us. We must constantly use the 'sword of the Spirit", which is the Word of God (Eph.6:17). We should learn practical lessons from Jehovah's 'judgments of old', when He dealt with His people Israel. "..Now all these things happened unto them as examples: and they are written for our warning, upon whom the ends of the world are come" See (1 Cor.10:11). In Romans 15:4 we read : "..For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope". This then is the 'comfort' we read of in our verse!

5. PITY THE PERISHING WITHOUT PROMISES:

verse 53 : ZALGAHPAH = "..Hot zeal (Horror hath taken hold)"

No true believer can remain unmoved when he sees the crowds in the streets and cities of this world 'without hope and without God'. Can we be so indulgent with our own safety and the blessings we have received that we remain indifferent to the end of those who deliberately "...forsake the (thy) law.."? The word for 'horror' is better translated "hot zeal" of compassion for these lost souls.

6. BELIEVERS HAVE REASON TO SING:

verse 54 : ZAHMERT = "..(my) songs...."

We do not have to wait till we get to heaven in order to 'sing'! This verse speaks of our 'pilgrimage.....He has put a new song into our mouths, even praise unto our God (Ps.40:3). We have indeed many reasons to be joyful and to sing on the way to the Father's House. Happy the heart that finds its joy in the 'statutes' of God. Remember that 'statute' means: a divine direction to obtain our obedience. What joy there is in obeying Him!

7. BLESSED INSOMNIA!

verse 55 : ZA-KARTI = "..I have remembered (thy name).."

We all know periods in our spiritual experience which are comparable to 'nights', when things are dark and we are restless and long for the 'morning' to dawn. Whether they are literal nights, and we suffer from real 'insomnia', or other kinds of 'nights', let us remember the Lord's NAME. The name stands for the Person. How many wonderful names does our heavenly Father have, and our blessed Lord and Master Jesus Christ. There are whole books written about the significances of these names! And every name brings comfort and encouragement. "They that know Thy NAME will put their trust in Thee" (Ps.9:10). "The NAME of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it and is safe" (Prov.18:10). So the pilgrim is enabled by the Holy Spirit to sing along his pilgrim path day by day, and even in the night he can sing when he remembers what the Lord is to him.

8. LET US NOT LOSE WHAT WE HAVE

verse 56 : ZA-AT = "..This (I had, because I kept...)".

The literal translation is : "This was done to me because" . What is it he had? The comfort he has spoken of in the previous verses no doubt. Is he looking back now and saying : "I HAD this once, but now!! Is he speaking of a past experience? This I had, because I kept thy precepts! But here is a warning for us. Let us not lose what we have. We can have this sense of His Presence daily, this comfort of His companionship on our pilgrim pathway, this joy in Him and in obeying Him. Let us not grieve the Lord or the Holy Spirit, but seek His fellowship. Then we shall discover our immense spiritual possessions!

x

8. C H E T H = A FENCE (Fenced in - Intimacy).

The shape of this letter in the Phoenician monuments, and the Hebrew coins, resembles a hedge, and therefore its name probably signifies a 'fence', from the Arabic root HAT: to surround, to gird. The pronunciation of this letter is a harsh gutteral. It is often interchanged with the letter "HE". The numerical value of this letter is : eight (8), and therefore reminds us of 'resurrection'.

Section Eight : verses 57 - 64 : THE WORD OF GOD TRANSFORMS INTO HIS IMAGE.

1. I AM HIS AND HE IS MINE:

verse 57 : GHEHLEKI = "..My portion....".

We had Precious Promises in the previous section. Here we have a precious portion. The Hebrew has literally : "My portion is Jahweh...". We are not talking about blessings, or promises, but about a person now! Him! Many Christians are so occupied with the blessings that they forget the Blesser, and likewise many are so enthralled with their spiritual 'gifts', that they ignore the giver! In the previous section the Psalmist counted his 'blessings", but here he revels in the vision of the Blesser. Psalm 73:25 expresses it beautifully : "Whom have I in heaven....?" (but Thee, is added in the A.V., but not in the original), "and I have no desire on earth beside You".

2. HE IS GRACIOUS

verse 58 : GHAHLAT = "..I intreated..." (thy favour...).

The verse actually says in the Hebrew: "I intreated Your face..." (not 'favour' as in the A.V.). He was longing for the very Presence of the Lord. Again it is the Person who is the object here as in verse 57. Does not all this have a bearing on the very letter "Cheth" above this section which stands for 'intimacy', our being 'fenced in with Him'? Does not all this speak of 'fellowship'? The presence of the Lord is indeed the highest form of His favour. We often sing : "There is a light that shines on me, The light of Jesus' face, Oh, what a glory thus to be, the object of His grace". That about expresses what we have in this verse. His presence brings with it the 'favour' we seek. The verse continues in the Hebrew : "..favour me according to Your word" Now this is a petition which the Christian need not pray. We do not have to ask God to be favourable unto us, for He has abundantly shown His favour. Paul says : "To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made usaccepted in the beloved" (Eph.1:6). "By whom also we have acess into this grace wherein we stand..."(Romans 5:2). The Psalmist asks nothing beyond what God has revealed:"...according to Your word...".

3. TRANSFORMING MEDITATION

verse 59 : GHAHSHAVT = "..I thought (mused) on.."

In this verse we can all think back to how it was that God showed His mercy and grace to us in Christ and accepted us in Him. Let us follow the sequence:

a. "I mused on my ways.." : The arrest and conviction of the Holy Spirit.

b. "and turned my feet unto Your testimonies" : Conversion: the sinner makes a complete turn, judges his past.

c. The third step I shall consider in the next verse.

We must not stop at 'self-examination', though that is necessary in its time. But we turn to HIM, the object of our faith and the bestower of grace and mercy. "Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established" (Prov.4:26).

4. NEVER PROCRASTINATE!

verse 60 : GHOOSHT = "..I hurried (made haste).."

To 'procrastinate' means to waste time, to defer action, to postpone. Continuing the sequel I started in verse 59: c. The Hebrew has : "..I hurried and delayed not to keep Your commands..". Of course a sinner cannot be saved by keeping His commandments, but in this sentence we find an important principle that forms part of a true conversio - total submission to His word, capitulation. There must be obedience to the word of 'repentance'. Now, what is true at the beginning of our spiritual lives is also true for the continuation of them. Never put off till tomorrow what you must do today. Prompt obedience is the secret of true spiritual growth.

5. SATAN SEEKS TO ROB ME OF THE SENSE OF HIS PRESENCE

verse 61 : GHEHVEL = "..The cords (of the wicked encircle)".

Here is an attempt made by the enemy to stop the progress of the believer. He uses all sorts of 'devices' to this end. The world may rob me of my JOY in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin may rob me of the sense of His PRESENCE and peace. Satan seeks to hem me in, to 'surround' me and cut me off from enjoying the fellowship and communion with the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul says that we should not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. The Lord Jesus says : "..hold on to what you have, so that no-one will take your crown..". Satan cannot make us lose our salvation, or eternal life, but he can rob us of much that makes up that 'crown'. To counteract this strategy of the enemy, the believer should occupy positively himself with the Word of God : "..I have not forgotten Your law".

6. BLESSED INSOMNIA!(see verse 55)

verse 62 : GHEHTZE = "..at midnight (lit.'at the dividing)"

When all is quiet at last, God can speak. Job knew about this when he said : "For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed. Then He openeth the ears of men...."(Job 33:15,16). Paul and Silas : "..at midnight ..prayed and sang praises unto God, and the prisoners heard them.." (Acts 16:25). Of king Ahasuerus we read : "On that night could not the king

sleep...."(Esther 6:1). Then things were brought to his notice which he had previously ignored, and consequently he sat matters straight. So insomnia, or sleeplessness, can sometimes be a hidden blessing. In any case, it is always a good habit when we suffer from sleeplessness to praise and pray. "I will rise to give thanks unto Thee..."

7. MAKE FRIENDS OF GOD'S CHILDREN -

verse 63 : GHEHDER = "..a companion I am..."

It has sometimes been said : "Shew me your friends, and I will tell you who you are..".

The Bible gives this warning : "Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.."(1 Cor.15:33). Proverbs 18:24 has this precious encouragement : "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother...". Let us attach ourselves to that "Friend". What a Friend we have in the Lord Jesus! As we seek the fellowship of the Lord Jesus, remembering that the 'theme' of this section of eight verses is 'fellowship', we shall also seek the companionship of all those that fear Him. How can two walk together except they be agreed!

8. THE TRANSFORMING VISION

verse 64 : GHEH-SEDK = "..Your mercy..(or favour)".

This section began with the emphasis on 'mercy' and 'favour' (verse 58), and now it rightly finishes with the same thought. How we need His continuing mercy day by day. Grace is seen in that He gives us what we do not deserve, mercy is seen in that He does not give us what we deserve. He therefore fills our vision from the beginning to the end of this section of eight verses. It is a transforming vision! He is my portion; He is so gracious; He is my Friend....indeed the earth is full of Your mercy.

u

9. T E T H = SNAKE?

The meaning of this letter is uncertain. It is generally thought to signify "a serpent". (Arabic:"TET"), to which it has a resemblance in figure in several Phoenicio-Shemitic alphabets. Others make it something like : "rolled or twisted together", from the Arabic root "TIH", or perhaps it is the Egyptian "TôT" = hand. Its numerical value is Nine (9). It may signify 'Opposition' whilst there is Goodness present. For instance: TABAEL = "The Goodness of El", which was the name of the opposing king in Isaiah 7:6.

Section Nine : Verses 65 - 72 : THE WORD OF GOD STRENGTHENS IN ADVERSITY.

1. LETS COUNT OUR BLESSINGS!

verse 65 : TOHV = "..Good, goodness, kindness of God..."

" good You have done with Your servant..", is the literal rendering in Hebrew. When you feel depressed count your blessings! We often sing that hymn : "Count your blessings...name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done". This is an excellent therapy for discouragements. In verse 67 he speaks of having been 'afflicted'. He has learned that even when the Lord deals with us in discipline we can give thanks and say afterwards : "You have done good with Your servant". Jacob saw this in his experience. In Genesis 42:36 he says : "...all these things are against me". In chapter 45:27 "the spirit of Jacob their father revived..", and in chapter 48:15 : : "...God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day..". Jacob realises the "nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness...". This verse is an answer to the prayer he prayed in verse 17 : "..Deal bountifully with Thy servant...", "..Thou hast dealt well with Thy servant". Can you look back and thank the Lord for everything?

2. GOOD MAY BE THE ENEMY OF THE BEST:

verse 66 : TOHV = "..Good..(judgement teach me..).."

He prays for 'discernment" (judgement). Sometimes this may signify a 'spiritual sense of smell', or 'taste' ; but here it has the sense of taste for judgement, discernment, reason. Paul prays for the Philippians in chapter one verse 10 : "..That ye may approve things that are excellent", or as the N.I.V. puts it : "..so that you may be able to discern what is best.....". For the believer it is not a question of refusing sin or sinful things, but of discerning what is profitable and constructive, and what is not. Good judgement and knowledge are essential for spiritual growth. Hebrews 5:14 "But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil". Now this kind of spiritual discernment does not come to us 'automatically' as we learn from the verse in Hebrews 5. It comes with 'practise'. That is why the writer begins this verse 66 with : "..Teach me...". Are we willing to be taught?

3. DISCIPLINE RESULTS IN EXPERIENCE

verse 67 : TEHREM = "..Before...(I was afflicted)..".

God has been dealing with him (verse 65), and now he can give thanks! Let us take encouragement from these words in Hebrews 12:5 : "..My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you. Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and He punishes everyone he accepts as a son...". How many parents there are today, even Christian parents, who do not 'discipline' their children according to the Scriptures. They think that it is unkind to punish a child and to correct it, or to give it corporal punishment when necessary. This is of course "Freudian Philosophy", but not Biblical instruction. In fact it is a lack of love that does not correct and guide a child when it goes wrong, or when it must be compelled for its own sake. The result of the discipline the Psalmist had accepted was that he could say : "Now I have kept Your word...". Had there previously been resistance, or rebelliousness on his part? The necessary discipline that had followed had brought forth that peaceable fruit of righteousness, and for this he is thankful. Can we thank the Lord for discipline?

4. ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD

verse 68 : TOHV ATA = "..You are good, and kind...."

God can never do anything that is not 'good' and beneficent! He is good in His essential nature, and therefore whatever He does must be good! Do we doubt this? Romans 8:28 gives us these wonderful facts about God's Unfailing Purpose:

a. "all things work together for good = Beneficent.

b. "all things work together for good = Active.

c. "All things work together for good = Inclusive.

d. "all things work together for good = Harmonious.

It is God's purpose to conform us to the image of His Son. His discipline in our lives has this one aim: to make us more and more like His Son.

5. EVIL IS ALWAYS PLOTTING

verse 69 : TAH- PHALU = "..Have forged against me..."

Here we have the first mention of the adversary. It is in connection with verses 69 and 70 that we see the need for the enabling of the Word of God by strengthening us in adversity, as the title over this section pointed out. Satan is called "the accuser of the brethren", as well as "a liar from the beginning". Those who are his 'children' of course bear the same characteristics and are said in this verse to '..have forged a lie.." against the godly man. Let us never be surprised when this happens to us. However, if they are occupied with forging 'lies', let us who love the Truth be occupied with the Word of God. The verse here helps us as it continues: "...I will keep Your precepts with all my heart..."

6. SPIRITUAL CHOLESTEROL KILLS!

verse 70 : TAH- PHASH = "..without feeling (fat as grease)".

"Without feeling, like fat, is their heart", is the literal translation. A fat heart, is a slow heart, that might finally be brought to a halt and die. Cholesterol is a killer for the body as well as for the spirit! Believers are certainly not children of the evil one, but unfortunately they may sometimes be 'like' the unregenerate in their behaviour. For instance, there are believers who are never on time, who are always late at the meetings for prayer or bible-study or edification or worship! Do you know about them? They lack spiritual energy. It seems that the round of meetings is a real burden to them. They go through the motions, but their heart is not in it. They need our prayer that they may be revived and energised and healed from their spiritual 'fat heart'. May we be characterised by a fervent spirit, serving the Lord whole-heartedly!

7. THE HIDDEN BLESSINGS OF AFFLICTION

verse 71 : TOHV- LI = "..For my good (I was afflicted)".

The writer to the Hebrews tell us : "..No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Chapter 12:11). This is not easy to accept, especially when we are actually going through a trying period in our lives. The apostle Paul had learned to glory in his infirmities! He could say that when he felt utterly weak, then he was made strong by the strength of the Lord. And so it is always. The Psalmist also sees the positive side of affliction : "that I might learn Thy statutes..." . Nothing is lost in the school of Faith in which we are all enrolled as believers. And this thought leads me to the last verse of this section:

8. THERE IS NO GAIN BUT BY A LOSS

verse 72 : TOHV- LI = "..Better to me (the law of Your mouth)

To say "There is no gain but by a loss", means that in order to gain 'spiritually' we must be willing to 'lose' first. This principle is explained by the apostle Paul in the Letter to the Philippians : "...But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ (Chapter 3:7,8).

In this verse 72 we have contrasted : a. thousands of gold and silver, and b. the law of Thy mouth. The Psalmist chooses the law, i.e. the Word of God. What do we choose? Remember in the introduction I said that the meaning of the word "Law" is: a divine instruction concerning our conduct and our character. The root meaning is "to guide". The writer would sacrifice anything, like gold or silver, if only he might have the guidance of God in his life, if only he may know the will of the Lord for every step of the way! I summarise this section as follows:

verse 65 : What God does is good,

verse 66 : What God teaches is good,

verse 67 : When God afflicts it is for our good,

verse 68 : God is good.

verse 72 : God's word is good.

To know this is to be best armed for the fight in a day of adversity and opposition.

Division Four : Verses 73 - 96: SPIRITUAL MATURITY THROUGH DAILY MEDITATION

y

10: Y O D = HAND

Without any doubt, the meaning of this letter is 'hand'. In Phoenician and Samaritan writing, as well as on the coins of the Macabees, this letter presents the figure of a Hand rudely drawn. In the Aethiopic language it has the name of yaman (i.e. 'right hand'). The letter is called "Yod", from the Hebrew word " Yad" which means = Hand. This is seen in the shape of the letter which looks like a hand pointing from right to left. The Hebrew language is written from right to left (like the Arabic language).

The "Yod" is also the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, like our English 'i'. In the Greek the letter Jota (which is printed the same way as the English 'i' except it has no dot on the i), it is also the smallest letter. Do we not have an important lesson here to remember? The hand of man, man himself is so very insignificant in spite of all his boastfulness. Nevertheless, with his ten fingers on his hand, and his ten toes on his foot, he is responsible to God. We have then the idea of responsibility in this letter, the numerical value of which is ten (10). We all remember what the Lord Jesus said in Matt.5:18 "For verily I say unto. Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled". The Lord was referring to the letter 'Yod' of the Hebrew alphabet, which in the Greek "Jota" is spelt with a T. It therefore becomes : JoT. The letter 'Jod' is spelt in Hebrew simply: JD. Thus the letter is made up, written from right to left: Daleth - Jod. We have already learned that "Daleth" means : "door". So the two letters together spell this thought: A Hand is pointing to the Door. The Lord Jesus is the door into salvation for poor sinners. The tittle is seen in the Hebrew letter "Beth", which means : House. Under that letter I pointed out that the letter has a 'foundation' line which protrudes a little and this looks like a little 'edge'. This little 'edge' is called the Tittle, and it is this which keeps the house from being swamped. Taking all this together we get this message: The Father's 'house' will never pass away, it stands firm, and is superior over whatever man tries to achieve.

Section Ten Verses 73 - 80 : THE WORD OF GOD SHOWS ME MY RESPONSIBILITY

1. NO EVOLUTION, BUT CREATION!

verse 73 : YAH- DAK = "...Your hands....".

In Isaiah 43: 6,7 we read the following : "..bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth. Even every one that is called by my name : for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him ; yea, I have made him". It is clear from this that the Bible teaches creation, not evolution.

a. As to our spirit......God says : I have created him,

b. As to our body .......God says : I have formed him,

c. As to our soul........God says : I have made him.

Job adds to this : "..Thine hands have made me, and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.."(10:8). Let God be true, and every man a liar. Let me study: The Circulatory System, Plasma, The Nervous System, The Brain and indeed the Eye... : "..give me understanding ...", and I will know that God created me, and that I am a responsible intelligent human being answerable to Him.

2. THOSE WHO ARE GENUINE

verse 74 : YAHREHK = ".. They who fear You (reverence)"

Here we have the encouraging influence coming from a tried but steadfast believer. Others can see how he has come through trials, and perhaps intellectual doubts: he becomes to them a source of gladness. The apostle Paul speaks of this in Philippians 1:14 : "Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly". They had seen how Paul could rejoice in the midst of persecution and trials, and how he '...had hoped in the word of the Lord". How do others see you and me? What kind of an example or influence are we in our surroundings? Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are an influence for good or for bad. We are therefore forcibly reminded of our individual responsi-bility to be a help and blessing and not a hindrance. If we are 'genuine' and sensitive to the Holy Spirit's guidance, we shall be an encouragement to many.

3. WE MUST BE POSITIVE

verse 75 : YAHDAGT = "..I knew (perceive, am aware).."

Speaking about being an 'influence' for good in our surroundings, here we have it more precisely expressed in the way I have headed this verse: We must be positive! Negative influences are destructive and a hindrance to the progress of the saints. First we must be positive in our attitude towards the Lord and the ways in which He deals with us : "...in faithfulness hast Thou afflicted me...". How emphatic the writer is : "...I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right...". What He decides is for our good! Once we are sure that His way is best for us, we can accept it and be happy in it. Think of Paul again in prison writing to the Philippians (ch.1:14). Satan is baffled by such believers! He cannot handle that kind of attitude! Now follow five "let’s...."

4. LET HIS KINDNESS ENFOLD YOU

verse 76 : YAHINI = "...Let be (I beg You, Your mercy..).

The Lord gives 'grace' and helps in time of need. When we need strength and enabling for the tasks He gives us, His grace is abundant. However, should we fail, or come short, then His mercy is there to lift us up. He restores and set us upon our feet and encourages us to start again! Like the Psalmist we can pray this prayer : "Please let Your mercy be for my comfort..."(Literal rendering). We are so vulnerable, so frail, so weak, so insignificant! He knows our frailty and that is why we need Him to enfold us in His arms. What comfort to a little child it is to be in his mother's arms enfolded after he has fallen.

5. LET HIS MERCY COMFORT YOU

verse 77 : YABOHNI = "...Let come to me (Your mercies)"

Here a 'visitor' is invited who is expected to bring what we so desperately need at the moment. There has been failure. I have failed in my responsibility. I am conscious of defeat and am discouraged. I hesitate to come to Him, but He is already 'on the way' to me to lift me up and comfort me. Notice He brings 'tender' mercies! Let me quote the words of a saint (G.Horne) : "The mercies of God are 'tender mercies' they are the mercies of a father to his children, nay, tender as the compassion of a mother over the son of her womb. They 'come unto' us, when we are not able to go to them. By them alone we 'live' the life of faith, of love, of joy and gladness. And to such as 'delight' in His law, God will grant these mercies, and this life; He will give them pardon, and, by so doing, He will give them life from the dead".

6. LET HIM KEEP ME HUMBLE

verse 78 : YABOHSHU = "...Let be ashamed (the proud).."

Let me repeat this question once more: What kind of people are we? What kind of impression do we give to others? What kind of influence do we spread around us? Positive? Are we like the Lord Jesus? Or are we rather 'superior', rather haughty, rather obnoxious? Do we give others cause to 'oppose' us in any way? The Lord Jesus Christ could say : "They hated Me without a reason.."(Ps.35:19; 69:4; John 15:25). How then could those 'proud' who deal perversely, be made 'ashamed'? Surely, when they find no real reason to criticise or condemn us for anything inconsistent, or anything repugnant in our lives? When they see our good works they must give glory to God! "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven"(Matt.5:16).

7. LET HIS WINSOMNESS CLOTHE ME

verse 79 : YESHEEVLI = "..Let turn to me (fearers of You)".

This certainly is a Christ-honouring prayer! We do not seek to attract people to ourselves, but to our Lord Jesus. But our lives must therefore be 'winsome'. This winsomness is what the early Christians displayed at Jerusalem : "they had favour with all the people". There are believers whose lives are upright, whose doctrine is absolutely correct and transparent like ice, but sometimes unfortunately just as cold. It is a cold kind of correctness, there is very little that is warm or attractive about them. Not so these Spirit-filled believers at Jerusalem. We are responsible to proclaim Christ by our lips and by our lives. He should be manifested in our lives, and that is what makes others who 'fear Him turn to us', and walk in fellowship with us.

8. LET MY HEART BE TRUE

verse 80 : YAHI = "..Let (my heart be blameless).."

This seems to be the 'Keyverse' of this section. What a prayer this is! Here is the literal rendering : : "Let my heart be blameless in Your statutes so that I may not be ashamed". There are the 'perverse' in verse 78. Yet might there not be a measure of 'hypocrisy' in any one of us? Pretending to be so pious and 'spiritual' on the outside, yet not totally yielded to the Lord Jesus? It is only when the Holy Spirit fills us and directs and guides us that we shall be kept 'blameless' and not be ashamed before our own consciences, nor ashamed before the world's scrutiny, nor one day ashamed before the judgement seat of Christ.

k

11 : K A P H = THE PALM OF THE HAND

This eleventh letter of the alphabet signifies: a wing. Or it may also signify 'the hollow of the hand: i.e. palm. And this figure is found in the Chaldee alphabet. Its form in the Hebrew alphabet is like the curve of the hand between the forefinger and the thumb: representing the palm of the hand. Its numerical value is twenty (20). When it is prefixed to a word it has the meaning of 'likeness', as, like as, as if. (This is similar to Arabic). It will not be far-fetched to suggest that we have here the idea of security (In Isaiah 49:16 we read : "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me...."). In the palms of His hands we are secure!

Verses 81 - 88 : THE WORD OF GOD FOR MY SECURITY

ONLY HE CAN REALLY SATISFY

verse 81 : KAH- LATAH = "...Is being consumed (for Your..)".

This whole section speaks of danger from enemies! Verse 81 :"My soul faints.."; verse 83 "I am become like a bottle in the smoke.."; verse 84 "..them that persecute me"; verse 85 :"The proud have digged pits for me"; verse 86 :"They persecute me..."; verse 87 :"They had almost consumed me..". Conscious of being under attack from the enemy, the writer seeks refuge with the Lord and His Word. His only hope is in the Lord, and so it is for you and me. We cannot help ourselves, nor can anyone else help us, that is why we have this pathetic cry : "My soul is being consumed for Your salvation..." (literal rendering). It is good to realise day by day what we sometimes sing in a hymn : "Now none but Christ can satisfy." Have we found this secret yet?

WE MAY FAIL, HE NEVER WILL.

verse 82 : KAH- LAU = "..Fail (do my eyes for Your word)".

Do we discern a note of impatience? "When wilt Thou comfort me?" Had he not been hoping in His word? (v.81). Why does not the Lord act quickly? "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick" (Prov.13:12). Do not let yourself be discouraged by appearances. Peter said: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise..". We sometimes want to limit the Lord to our time. Sometimes we cannot 'see the reason' for such and such a thing. But we should leave everything in His hands. He is never too late. We must learn to persevere in faith and hope and the study of His word, and take our eyes off our circumstances.

I AM NOTHING

verse 83 : KEE = ".. For (I am like a wineskin..).."

He is really exhausted. The strain and stress have been unbearable. Of course Satan's strategy is to wear us out! It was by the constant nagging of Delilah that Samson's soul was 'vexed unto death' (Judges 16:16). She wore him out. It is necessary for us to get to this 'end of ourselves', to despair of our own self-sufficiency. When we get to the end of our own resources, then we realize that our Father's full giving is only just begun. When we feel 'empty' like a bottle in the smoke, and our spiritual energy seem shrivelled up like a wineskin, when we realise our own 'nothingness', then we are ready for His fulness to be revealed on our behalf. How do you see yourself?

I FEEL HAUNTED

verse 84 : KAH- MEH = "..As what (or Like unto what?)".

"How?", "When?", he is so full of questions in this verse. Is he complaining? He certainly seems impatient. Does he say : "Lord, when are You going to deal with these 'enemies'?" Of course it is not "christian" to ask for the execution of our enemies, but rather pray for their salvation. But just for the moment, let us not forget that this Psalm 119 gives us the expressions of the Faithful Remnant of Israel during the Great Tribulation. We can understand therefore that they are just wondering 'When' will the Lord come to deliver them? Our enemies are not of flesh and blood, but wicked spirits of darkness and spiritual powers. The day of their judgement is certainly getting near and they know it. That is why we see in our days such a world-wide manifestation of occult and demonic powers. Yes, we are under attack. Yes, we are engaged in a spiritual warfare, and therefore should put on the whole armour of God, and resist, having done all: to stand, and not fail or falter. The Lord is our strength and our security.

THE BATTLE CONTINUES

Verse 85 : KAH-RAHLI = "..They have dug for me...".

Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 1:6 : "God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you". But that moment has not yet come for the New Testament believer waiting for the Coming of the Lord Jesus. For the moment we must accept what the Lord Jesus said : "In this world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.." (John 16:33). The apostle Peter says : "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings ; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy"(1 Peter 4:12,13).

ALL WHO WILL LIVE GODLY WILL SUFFER PERSECUTION

verse 86 : KOL = "..All (Your commandments..)..".

It is good to remind ourselves that His word and His promises are faithful. It is commendable to suffer persecution because we want to remain faithful to Him and His word. Is this our intention and determination? The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy what we quoted at the head of this verse in 2 Timothy 3:12. In this verse we have:

a. The intention to live godly : "..All that will live godly".

b. The secret power for godly living : " In Christ Jesus...".

c. The cost of godly living : "..shall suffer persecution".

ACCOUNTED AS SHEEP FOR THE SLAUGHTER

verse 87 : KAM-GAT = "..In a little while..(Almost

The Psalmist says : "They had almost consumed me upon the earth...". Yes, even believers are not spared any 'tribulations' or any sufferings. No doubt, when you or I are passing through a very difficult circumstance, Satan may insinuate that the Lord has forgotten us, that He does not love us any more. The apostle Paul helps us in those circumstances when he writes to the believers at Rome who were also being persecuted. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?.....Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:35,37). Satan may use circumstances to sow doubts in our hearts. But why should we doubt? Is not God for us? Did not God give up His Son for us? Did not God justify us? Did not Christ die for us? and does not the Lord Jesus intercede for us always? We have nothing to fear. We are absolutely secure.

MORE THAN CONQUERORS

verse 88 : KA-GHEHSEDAK = "..By Your mercy (give me life)".

"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"(Romans 8:38,39). What does it mean to be 'more' than conquerors? I quote from the writings of another : "It may be that we do not 'conquer' at all, but we do more: we wrest from defeat values that could never be gained by 'conquest' : Enduring tribulation, we gain Hope which is not put to shame, Bearing persecution, we are demonstrating the meaning of true godliness. Suffering hunger, we are proving that man does not live by bread alone, but this is only possible "through Him that loved us - through His grace". Jesus was crucified through 'weakness', and yet the Cross released the greatest power to save!

l

12. L A M E D = AN OX-GOAD

The name of this letter has the same meaning as "Malmed" : a goad (e.g. ox-goad). This is the form this letter has on the Phoenician monuments. It also has various other meanings when prefixed to other words. Then it means: to, towards, unto, even to, into, as to with regard to, on account of, concerning, about, of, on behalf of, for, etc. etc. A tremendously versatile letter indeed! An Ox-goad is a stick with a prick, by which the ox is directed. All the above meanings I have given indicate giving 'direction'. It is in teaching that the teacher gives direction to the pupil. The Talmud, which is a book of Jewish traditional teaching means: instruction. Right in the centre of the word Talmud, you can see the two consonants of LaMeD. The numerical value of Lamed is thirty. This letter has therefore the significance of 'teaching us to go on to maturity".

Verses 89 - 98 : GOD'S WORD HELPS ME TO MATURE SPIRITUALLY

WE ARE SURE OF HIM AND HIS WORD

verse 89 : LO-GOH-LAHM = "..Forever (O Jehovah Your Word)".

In the first three verses we find words that indicate 'stability' : 'settled' (v.89); 'established' (v.90); 'continue' (v.91). Growing in the knowledge of God and His will gives stability to our walk. We must go on to 'maturity' in our spiritual lives, and for this the Word is our daily food. "..Thy Word is settled....." , and that Word settles the believer and makes him steadfast. Today the Word of God is under attack and so is the believer who believes it to be the absolute standard for his daily behaviour and conduct. Are we convinced that the Bible is indeed the breathing of God, God speaking to us, His 'inspired' Word? The Bible is an incomparable and unique Book. Dear friends, read it, study it, meditate upon it, memorise it, ruminate it, and your will grow in spiritual maturity.

JESUS NEVER FAILS

verse 90 : LA- DOHR = "..to (every) generation...".

The writer is convinced of the certainty of God's Word from the endurance of the heavens in verse 89. Now he assures us the same from his consideration of the foundation of the earth. The New Testament tells us concerning the blessed Person of the Lord Jesus Christ that He is : "...the same yesterday, and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). The Lord Jesus has said :"..Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away"(Matt.24:35). This is the solid rock on which we stand, the right foundation for our spiritual maturity. Nothing can shake either the Person of the Lord or His precious Word. "...You founded the earth and it stands still..." is the literal rendering from the Hebrew. What God does endures! Someone said : "Every time you set your foot on the ground remember the stability of God's promises...". This is a nice way to continue on our pathway to maturity,

IF ALL ARE HIS SERVANTS, WHY NOT ME?

The N.I.V. strangely says :"..Your laws endure to this day , for all things serve you"

verse 91 : LA-MISH-PAHTAK = "..according to Your judgements..".

"They continue this day" is the translation here. But this is surely not the meaning. The 'they' in our verse are no doubt the 'word' in verse 89, and 'the earth' in verse 90!! It is these: word, heaven and earth which are all His servants! If the Lord maintains and sustains these 'inanimate' things, is He not able to sustain us? But also if the earth, heaven, the universe, hail, rain, the storm, the wind, the lightning, the thunder and the snow are all His servants, then how much more should you and I as redeemed and intelligent creatures be His Servants. These elements function in their appointed place "according to Your judgements..", and are in this way an example to us all as members of the Body of Christ. We also have a special place where God has set us in the Body of Christ in order to function according to His will. Are we conscious of this and ready to fulfil our functions?

A CRISES SHOWS WHAT WE REALLY ARE

verse 92 : L0-LEH = "..Except..."

The psalmist had been through some affliction and come through. He therefore speaks from experience and looks back with gratitude. It was the Word that had sustained him in those trying circumstances. How different is the experience of the Psalmist from that case described by the Lord Jesus in the parable of the sower : "..they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection"(Luke 8:14). Circumstances may show up our superficialities, or demonstrate that we are rooted and grounded in Him and His Word. Let us then daily delight in the reading and study of His Word.

LET US REMEMBER!

verse 93 : LA-GOH-LAHM = "..Never (will I forget..)..".

When once we have experienced the truth of the Word of God in a particular circumstance or trial, we never forget! It is also a very good resolution to make! Another thing he never forgot was that when he passed through his trial and was so conscious of his own weakness, that then the Lord had quickened him. It is through the Word of God that we get this quickening in our spirits. "..To be strengthened with might by His Spirit in our inner man.."(Eph.3:16). His words are spirit and life.(John 6:63), and His words are words of eternal life (John 6:68).

I AM NOT MINE OWN, BUT HIS!

verse 94 : LAKA - ATA = "..I am Thine..."

He does not say: "Save me, and I shall be Thine", but he asserts that he belongs to the Lord and needs saving still! The Hebrew is emphatic here : "I AM Yours!" We used to sing in our youth : "Jesus saves me now, Jesus saves me now, Yes Jesus saves me all the time, Jesus saves me now!" Perhaps you ask how we can keep on asking to be saved when we have already been saved? The Psalmist says : "I am Yours - save me; for I sought Your precepts". Of course the Old Testament saint knew nothing of what has been revealed to New Testament believers concerning the redemption of our bodies. They knew about soul/spirit salvation, but not about glorified bodies! Paul describes this 'final' salvation in chapter eight in the Letter to the Romans : "..we are waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (verse 23). Peter calls this : "..the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.."(1 Peter 1:5). "Salvation" therefore is a term which has a large meaning. There is 'salvation' from/out of circumstances. This is what Paul refers to in Philipp.2:12 : "..work out your own salvation with fear and trembling ". Peter contrasts temporal deliverances in their circumstances with the salvation of the soul, when he says : "..Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.."(1 Peter 1:9).

WHAT CAN MEN DO UNTO ME?

verse 95 : L0-KAH-VAH = "..For me waited (the wicked..)..".

Here we have a practical example of the salvation from circumstances we have been talking about in the previous verse! Here is the enemy : "..the wicked have waited for me, to destroy me...". Certainly the Psalmist was looking to the Lord for salvation. But this had nothing to do with his soul's salvation. Satan has a well-developed strategy which he has acquired over thousands of years of being an active adversary and tempter of the saints. He and his servants the demons often have to withdraw temporarily from their victim but will renew their attack at a more strategic moment : "..they waited for me to destroy me...". Let us not be deceived! If for the moment we have some respite from his attack, this is only a temporarily lull in the battle, to make us relax. How do we overcome the powers of darkness? "..I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one...I write to you....because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one" (1Jn.2:13,14 ). These verses give us the secret : we can only overcome the enemy through the Word of God and when that word is living in us and we live by it every day. If this is true of you and me then we can say in the words of Hebrews 13:6

" The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. what can man (or devil, or demon) do to me?"

O, THE WIDENESS OF GOD'S MERCY!

verse 96 : LA- KOHL = "..To all (perfection I have seen

To everything here on earth there is a limit, an end! Even the best of men are still sinners. Even the most perfect in this world still fall far short of God's perfection. That is why the Psalmist has to say: "I have seen an end of all perfection...". Even to our growing into spiritual maturity, and knowing Him there is no end! He is the infinite, we are finite. Paul had this desire to know Him: "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death" (Phil.3:1). The apostle John writes to the fathers : "..ye have known Him that is from the beginning....". He repeats this statement twice because there really is no end to knowing Him. But they had grown from little children, to young men and now they were fathers. Here was indeed a growing into spiritual maturity. "Your commandment is exceeding broad...", continues the writer It is the same when we climb a high mountain, the higher we get the more the view increases. On the top the panorama is breathtaking! So it is with the Word of God. It is an inexhaustible ocean of grace and wonders, a mine of jewels. There is no limit to the amount of confidence we can put in the Lord Jesus and His precious Word! "Let us go on unto perfection.." (Hebr.6:1), and unto spiritual maturity.

Division Five : Verses 97 - 120: THE IMPORTANCE OF BIBLE STUDY

m

13 : M E M = WATER (OR SOURCES)

Verses 97 - 104 : THE WORD OF GOD IS LIVING WATER.

THIRST FOR THE LIVING WORD

verse 97 : ME-H = "..O, how......!" (I love Your law..").

The Bible for Christians is the word of God. It is for us the standard to which we refer. We do not test the Bible by our experience but we test our experience by the Bible. Have you noticed how the writer of this Psalm is continually referring to the Word in its several aspects? It does seem that he knew 'his bible' as far as it was then revealed and written down. Do you know your Bible? For the Psalmist the Word of God was the final word. Is it for you my dear reader?

The so-called 'higher critics' have the audacity to doubt many passages of the Bible, to undermine its authority. There is no doubt that in order for the Christian to be strong spiritually he simply must study the Bible. He must decide to set aside time for this study, just as he is willing to set aside time for any project he really wants to do. Do you always carry a copy of the Word with you? Not necessarily your study bible, but a small pocket edition, so you have it handy when you are asked questions about your Christianity? When you reason with anyone, do you base what you say on the Scriptures? What a wonderful verse this is in fact. Let us read it again together: "O how I love Thy law! it is my meditation all the day".

THE BIBLE IS OUR ABSOLUTE STANDARD FOR CONDUCT

verse 98 : ME-AH-YAVI = "..than mine enemies...".

The Bible has always been under attack from the enemy of our souls. We are under attack as Christians today and are being continually challenged about our faith in that 'old-fashioned book!! I want you to be sure of this, it is not intellectual suicide to believe in the Bible! What we must do is to investigate the evidences for and against the Bible, for against Jesus Christ, and weigh the pros and cons. The result will show that the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible is altogether what He claimed to be and that the Bible is worthy of our entire trust. We must then make the decision, and be willing to make an honest and total commitment to God. The Psalmist is not arrogant when he says: "You make me wiser than mine enemies...", or later in verse 99: "I have more understanding than all my teachers..". What do these two verses really mean? First of all in our verse he is faced with enemies. They are not believers. They reject the Word, the Bible. They say that other books like the Vedas and the Koran are also inspired, so what is so special about your Bible? These are people who reject the Bible outright. You and I therefore as Christians have knowledge of things that others who are not Christians do not have. The natural man (or the man without the Spirit) does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him..." (1 Cor.2:14)

READING THE BIBLE GIVES SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE

verse 99 : ME - KOHL = "..than all..."(..my teachers)".

The teachers mentioned in this verse are not the teachers in the biblical sense: "...Christ..gave some pastors and teachers..." (Eph.4:11). The psalmist speaks of ordinary teachers, not spiritual gifts. It is these teachers who, unless they are Christians, are totally void of spiritual intelligence in the Biblical sense of the word. If therefore the writer says that he is wiser then his own teachers, he is speaking of spiritual wisdom, for there is another kind of wisdom. This is what James says, (Jas.3:15,17): "This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish....But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy...". Such wisdom from above is not acquired simply by our own intellectual abilities, but is a gift from heaven.

THIS WISDOM NEVER MAKES PROUD

verse 100 : ME- ZAH-KEHNUM = "..than the ancients.."

The ancients in this verse are men of long experience. We must not think that these ancients are the same as our New Testament elders. An ancient in Israel was simply a wise old man with long experience. An elder in the New Testament is a brother in Christ, who has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. It is possible of course that even a present-day older brother is not as spiritually wise as a younger brother, but the older brother certainly has more experience. As to wisdom in the sense of spiritual intelligence coupled with spirituality, this is not always necessarily connected with age or long experience. To come back to our verse then. If the Psalmist "had been taught to observe in heart and life the precepts of the Lord, and this was more than the most venerable sinner had ever learned, more than the philosopher of antiquity had so much as aspired to know. He had the word with him, and so outstripped his foes; he meditated on it, and so outran his friends, he practised it, and so outshone his elders". (Spurgeon, The Psalms).

IT GUIDES ME IN THE RIGHT WAY

verse 101 : ME- KOHL = "..From every ...."(evil way

Here is the practical side of this wisdom: it refrains us from every evil way..! In verse 11 we saw that what kept him from sinning was that he hid the Word of God in his heart. Someone has well said: "If the Word does not keep you from sin, then sin will keep you from the word". We need God's Word every day to guide and direct our steps. The Israelite of old was also deeply impressed with the importance of having that Word before his heart and thoughts all day long. Here is what we read in Deuteronomy 6:7,8,9 "..These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates". Good, sound advice for the believer in Christ today!

IT KEEPS ME FROM WANDERING

verse 102 : ME-MISH-PAHTAK = "..From your judgements.."

Another wonderful result of abiding in the word, and the word abiding is us, is that the Word will preserve us from going astray. "I have not departed from thy judgements" is the testimony of the writer. The Word of Christ should dwell richly in us (Col.3:16), so that we 'henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive..."(Eph.4:14 ). The secret is that we stay close to the Lord Jesus. He has the words of eternal life. It is so easy to deviate and to be distracted and deceived. "Thou hast taught me", continues the verse. We stay close to the Lord so that He may teach us. "Take time to be holy, speak oft with your Lord", is what we often sing. Do we really take time to be with Him, and to listen to His voice and so be taught what He wants us to do?

THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING IS IN THE EATING

verse 103 : ME-H = "..How..."(sweet are Thy words..).

Is the writer of these words the same as the one who wrote : "O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in him..?" (Ps.34:8). To experience the sweetness of honey you have to taste it. "He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even that what is bitter tastes sweet" (Prov.27:7). When our hearts are full with other things, with worldly things, then we have no appetite for the Word. It is a good thing when we are hungry enough to accept every bitter thing put before us by our God and Father. Surely this is the result of reading and absorbing the Word of God. It makes us pliable in His hands, docile and willing for His will. For His will is always sweet, good and acceptable and perfect.

IT WILL INFLUENCE MY SENSE OF VALUES

verse 104 : ME-PIK-KOODEEMAK = "..Through Your precepts.."

"I hate every false way...". This is the result of the daily renewing of our minds by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit uses the Word of God to form our thoughts, to give us a completely new set of values. What we loved before in our unconverted days, we now hate. The Holy Spirit teaches me what are true priorities, what are true values, what is really important and of value to the Lord Jesus Christ. However, to hate what is false, is characteristic of the new life we have received as Christians, but that is not the sum-total. There is also the positive side: to delight in that which is good. Paul says: "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man..." (Romans 7:22). The ultimate secret is of course that it is not even sufficient to delight in the law of God, but to be able to do it. Paul found that in him, as a regenerate believer in the Gospel he had sin dwelling in him. He struggled hard to make his 'flesh' do the will of God, but failed. He so much wanted to please the Lord, but he found he had no strength of his own. But then he discovered the secret: not in his own strength, but "through Jesus Christ our Lord". And so Paul capitulated and surrendered himself totally to the Lord.

n

14: N U N = FISH

The name of this letter in Syriac, Chaldee and Arabic, denotes 'A Fish', which appears to have been intended by its original form. In the Phoenician alphabet its common form is this. Its numerical value is Fifty (50). Some have seen the idea of continuity in this letter and its meaning, others see in it the meaning of "strength and energy of the fish being able to go against the current".

Verses 105 - 112 : THE WORD OF GOD GIVES DIRECTION

IT IS LIKE A LAMP

verse 105 : NOOR (or NEER) = "..a light (lamp to my feet)".

The idea of giving direction is seen at once in this wellknown verse. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path". We all realise that we need help and direction in our Christian life and walk day by day. How do we get this help and direction? Only through the Word of God. For our bible study we always need spiritual illumination, light given by the Holy Spirit so that we may see things as He sees them. The only light in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle was the light shed by the Lampstand, which is a beautiful type of the activity of the Holy Spirit. Israel in the wilderness was guided by a cloud during the day time, and by a pillar of fire during the night time. This again is a beautiful symbol of the Holy Spirit's activity. We could say that a lamp is needed during the night-time, and the light of the sun during the day. We need both! The difference in Hebrew between 'lamp' and 'light' is small: Noor = Lamp; Oor = Light, just a simple 'n'. The 'path' is the course we take, when our feet actually execute our brain's directions. In every sense we are dependent upon His help, to direct our feet in His path, and then daily during times of prosperity (day) and times of adversity (night) we need the Light that His Holy Spirit gives us.

IT HELPS ME MAKE DECISIONS

verse 106 : NASAVAT = "..I have sworn...."

"I have sworn, and I will perform ....". This sounds very much like making a vow. The Psalmist is also very sure of himself: "...I will perform..". There is only one Man who could ever have rightly have pronounced such words, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. "Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me) to do thy will, O God" (Hebr.10:7). And then : "..I have finished the work which thou gavest Me to do.."(John 17:4). I do not believe that it is right for a New Testament believer to make a vow. Unless we have not really understood the plague of our own hearts, we would not dare trust ourselves to be able ever to perform what we have promised. It is better to tell the Lord that we love Him truly, and want to please Him, but that we need Him to help us. "For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out", (Romans 7:18). "...it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good pleasure"(Phil.2:13).

IT HELPS ME ENDURE

verse 107 : NAGAHNAHT = "..I am afflicted.."

The word for 'affliction' (anah) here is the same as in verse 67, (see the verse),literally "depressed". The writer feels very much afflicted. Does he think he is afflicted beyond his ability to endure? We have a wonderfully comforting promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13 : "There has no temptation (or affliction) taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it". Just because we are Christians does not mean that we will be spared the afflictions and sicknesses and troubles like others. But God understands and gives us grace to bear and to endure. The Psalmist prays: "..give me life by Your word..". He does not know about that abundant life that Jesus Christ came to bring and to manifest, for that Life is the Life of Jesus Christ Himself. The New Testament believer is indwelt by the Lord Jesus, that is why we can say "Christ is my life" (see Gal.2:20). "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even thought refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed". (1 Peter 1:6,7).

IT HELPS ME OFFER PRAISE

verse 108 : NADAHVAT = "..free offering (of my mouth).

"Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God"(Psalm 50:23). A Christian is the only human being who can really SING and be heard in heaven. It is the redeemed who have every reason to sing. Even in the Old Testament we read of saints offering praise to Jehovah. How much more should we, New Testament believers, obey the encouragement in Hebrews 13:15 "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess His Name". When should a believer sing? On every possible occasion. Paul and Silas were able to sing praises even while suffering physical pain: "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them"(Acts 16:25). Where should Christians sing praises? Wherever they find themselves. Why should believers sing praises? Because it glorifies God, and it is a testimony to others. Praises from the lips of redeemed persons are simply the fruit of the Holy Spirit's activity. Can He use your lips? Also in meetings when the Assembly gathers together?

IT HELPS ME FACE LIFE EVERY DAY

verse 109 : NAFASHI = "..my life (is continually...)".

The Hebrew word Naphesh or Nephesh can be translated: soul, breath, body, creature, or simply life. The Hebrew text here has : "..My life is in my palm continually...". The life here encompasses everything I am and do each day. My total being: me! The believer is always practically in the very jaws of death! We have countless spiritual enemies in the powers of darkness. The verse is an hebraism signifying a condition of extreme danger. Paul knew that 'in every city bonds and imprisonment awaited him. His attitude was expressed as follows: "None of these things move me, I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus"(Acts 20). As someone has said: "Paul could look tribulation, or persecution, or sword in the face; and, while he 'carried his soul/life continually in his hand', in true Christian heroism in the most exalted triumph of faith, he could say in the name of himself and his companions in tribulation - "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors". Paul also said : "I die daily...". But like the Psalmist, so also Paul could say: "O Lord ...teach me Thy ............. judgements" (v.108),..yet do I not forget thy law". He wanted to know what the Lord wanted him to do in every situation.

IT HELPS ME CONQUER EVIL AND SIN

verse 110 : NAHTHANU= "..(the wicked)..have given..".

The fact of being surrounded by enemies continues in this verse. They are scheming and plotting and planning to make the believer stumble and fall. How much indeed we therefore need the Word of God to direct us day by day and moment by moment. The apostle Peter says: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour...Whom resist, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world"(1 Peter 5:8,9). How then can we resist and overcome the enemy? Only by using the Word of God as the sword of the Spirit, and like our Lord Jesus Christ being able to say : "It is written". If we do that, then we can join the Psalmist and give this testimony : "..yet I did not wander from Your precepts". The Lord will keep us, as we stay close to Him.

IT WILL ENRICH ME SPIRITUALLY

verse 111 : NAHGHALT = "I have inherited..."

The enemy seeks to rob us of any spiritual blessing or possession we may have. We have received an immense inheritance in and with the Lord Jesus Christ. The enemy cannot take away our salvation and eternal life we have in Christ, but we can lose our crown and our reward. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God....." (1 Peter 1:3,4,5). This is our inheritance as New Testament believers and it is heavenly, whereas the believers of the Old Testament looked forward to an earthly inheritance. How infinitely more blessed we are therefore! We can echo the words of the Psalmist: "...for they are the rejoicing of my heart". Peter continues in that first chapter, verse 6: "Wherein ye greatly rejoice (i.e. in that inheritance), though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations".

IT HELPS ME DO GOD’S WILL

verse 112 : NAHTAHT = "..I have bowed...."

We are back at verse 106 where he makes this solemn vow: "..I have sworn, and will perform...". But in this verse 112 it seems there is an noticeable 'advance'. He is not so very confident of himself, for he has learned to bow his heart before the Lord. There is no self-will or self-confidence any more. His heart and his entire being is in the hands of the Lord. As long as he remains in those hands he will be able to do the Lord's statutes. Remember, a statute is a divine direction to obtain man's obedience! The Lord is faithful until the end.

S

15 : S A M E C H = A SUPPORT

The name of this letter denotes a prop, or a support, to which this letter answers in form in the Phoenician alphabet. We remember that the Ephraimites pronounced this letter Samech (Judges 12:6) like a 'sh' instead of an 's', and were consequently put to death. From this incident we have learned that we should not insist that everybody should be obliged to pronounce our 'shibboleth' the way we do it! The numerical value of this letter is Sixty (60).

Verses 113 - 120 : THE WORD OF GOD FOR OUR SUPPORT

IT GIVES SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT

verse 113 : SEH-GAPHEEM = "..vain thoughts...".

Notice the contrasts in this verse: Hate - Love! These are very decisive expressions. He certainly has deep convictions! The writer to the Epistle to the Hebrews was longing for his readers to grow in spiritual discernment. He said: "...strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil"(Heb.5:14). Instead of 'vain thoughts' the Hebrew also allows us to translate it "divided": i.e. a divided heart. Actually, the French Bible has this 'doubles de coeur' = double hearted. James gives us this warning about a divided heart: "..he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does" (Jas.1:6,7,8). This kind of attitude is hateful to the Psalmist. Is it also hateful to you, my dear reader?

IT ACTS LIKE A SHIELD OF FAITH

verse 114 : SITHRI = "..(Thou art..)..my covert..."

Here we have the defensive attitude expressed in the words "thou art my hiding-place". There are times when we should flee from the evil one and temptation. Then there is the offensive attitude when we need our shield of Faith. The Lord is both to us: covert and shield. The Lord protects us during the day from the sun, and during the night from the moon (Psalm 121). The literal translation of Isaiah 59:19 is : "When comes like a flood the foe, the Spirit of Jehovah shall make flee against him..", or JND translation : "When the adversary shall come in a like a flood, the Spirit of Jehovah will lift up a banner against him". These verses certainly show that those who "..hope in Thy word...", do not hope in vain!

IT HELPS ME STAND AND RESIST

verse 115 : SOOROO = "..turn away ..(O evildoers..)".

So, having put on the complete armour of God, the sword of the Spirit and the shield of Faith, we must now stand against the artifices of the devil. "Depart from me, ye evil-doers", says the writer. We are able to say the same in the name of the Lord Jesus. "Resist the devil and he will depart from you", is the promise we can claim. It is not enough just to hate vain thoughts, but we must also hate evil in any form. In this verse we find the only mention in this long Psalm of this intimate expression "my God". He has this intimate fellowship with the Lord and wants to do His will, and keep His commandments. It is only in the measure that we give ourselves to do His will, that we shall be able also to resist evil and evildoers.

IT HELPS ME TO REMAIN STANDING

verse 116 : SAH-MACHNI = "..hold me up..".

Verse 116 and 117 carry the theme of this section of eight verses: 'uphold me', 'hold me'. The Word of God gives us the support we need day by day to live the Christian life. "So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10). What a wonderful promise for us to lay hold of! He who gives life, also sustains it. We are 'kept by the power of God"(1 Peter 1:5). Indeed, all our springs are in Him. Our sufficiency is of God. If we trust in His precious Word we will never be put to shame.

IT WILL SAVE

verse 117 : SAH-GADNI = "..hold me up...".

I remember in my childhood standing on the ice of a canal that was frozen over. How slippery it was and how difficult it was to stay upright without falling. How good it felt when my father was there beside me holding me up, helping me take my first strides on my skates! The strong hand of my father was there to support me. There is first of all the sense of weakness we may feel, and then the realisation that there are slippery paths before us, full of dangers and pitfalls. Our safety depends every moment upon the upholding power of our Lord and Saviour. "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms, He will drive out your enemy before you". (Deut.33:27).

IT GIVES ME VICTORY THROUGH JESUS CHRIST

verse 118 : SAH-LAHT = "..You have trampled...".

Is this a prophetic view of the future victory of the Lord Jesus Christ when all His enemies will be made His footstool? (Ps.110:1). The Cross of Calvary is the greatest display of Christ's victory over the powers of darkness. For the time being this victory has not yet been universally manifested because God is merciful even to enemies, even to those who 'err from His statutes'. He wants them to repent and therefore 'delays' that final day of judgement. However, mark the character of those mentioned in this verse: "they err from God's statutes". Not in their minds as it were through ignorance, but in their hearts and through obstinacy. They deliberately err from God. They are like those who once said: "We will not have this Man to reign over us". They say: "We desire not the knowledge of Thy ways". (Job 21:14). They are justly called in verse 19 'the wicked'! "There deceit is falsehood", is another way of saying : "..evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived..."(2 Timothy 3:13).

IT SHOWS ME WHAT SIN REALLY IS

verse 119 : SEEGUM = ".. (like..)..dross...."

Today there are those in the so-called Christian profession, who have the 'form of godliness but deny the power thereof.."(2 Tim.3:5). Paul says : "From these turn away". It is said of Israel: "Son of man, the house of Israel is become dross to me....Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because ye are all become dross...I will gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and will lay you on and melt you" (Ezekiel 22:18-20). We are living in the last days, possibly the 'last hour' before Jesus comes to take His Bride home. These are days of apostasy and departure from the faith. We must therefore 'try the spirits whether they are of God..' (1 Jn.4:1). We shall be able to discern these false spirits only when we know what the Word says. "Therefore I love thy testimonies" is the positive attitude taken by the Psalmist. We do well to follow his example!

IT WILL KEEP ME FROM SIN

verse 120 : SAH-MAR = ".. (my flesh..)..has shivered...".

What do you think of this : "My flesh trembleth for fear of Thee...?" Is our loving heavenly Father to be 'feared'? We think that as Father He will overlook sin, He will not punish sin in believers. He punishes the wicked, yes. But believers who are His own dear children? It is a totally false supposition that our God and our Father does not have to be 'feared'. Meditate on the following verses: "Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us purify ourselves from every pollution of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in God's fear" (2 Cor.7:1). "...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God Who worketh in you both the willing and the working according to His good pleasure"(Phil.2:12,13). "And if ye invoke as Father Him Who, without respect of persons, judges according to the work of each, pass you time of sojourn in fear...."(1 Peter 1:17). "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear". (1 John 4:18). The above verses prove that believers should have a 'healthy fear' of the Father, just as a child who loves his father also fears the just punishment he deserves when he acts in disobedience to his father's will. We also 'fear' to grieve and sadden someone we love very much. "I am afraid of Thy judgements..", says the Psalmist. With the help and the support the Lord gives us through His precious Word, we can experience victory over our spiritual enemies, avoid pitfalls and dangers, avoid being deceived by false teaching, and it will keep us sensitive to His will and Word to obey it in our daily lives.

Division Six : Verses 121 - 144: IN THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD

i

16 : AIN = A WELL (AN EYE/VISION).

Verses 121 - 128 = THE WORD OF GOD IS A WELL OF REFRESHMENT

We have a divine Teacher.

PRINCIPLES FIRST, NOW PRACTICE

verse 121: GAH- SAHT = "...I have done ..."

We must have an unaccusing conscience in order to be able to echo what the Psalmist claims for himself: "I have done what is righteous and just....". It is not enough to know that we have been justified by faith, now we must live just lives. Principles are to be translated into practice. John says :"For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God".(see) 1 John 3:20,21). What verse 20 says is in fact this: that if I am conscious that I have failed putting into practice what true love really is toward my brother or sister (see verse 17,18), how much more does God know my failure! Unless I confess and rectify this situation, I cannot count on His answering my prayers (verse 21,22). The writer here is confident that the Lord will not leave him to his oppressors. We also may have this confidence in the Lord's tender care day by day.

IN CHRIST I AM SECURE

verse 122 : GAH - RAV = ".. be surety..."

This is a true expression of confidence! He prays that the Lord might be his surety. We know that the Lord is our surety! Although we may be very conscious of our many failures and short-comings, we also know that HE has settled all our debts and borne all our weaknesses in His body on the cross. In the words of the apostle Paul, we hear Christ say to the Father:"...If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account..."(Philemon vse. 18). We will always remain debtors to His love. Jesus takes our place in the presence of our God and Father when Satan comes to accuse us. The Lord Jesus is there our 'surety' and our precious 'advocate', and no accusation against us will stand. "Let not the proud oppress me...", no doubt this refers also to our accuser, the adversary, the devil. We can be confident that no one can "..lay anything to the charge of God's elect. for ..It is God that justifieth"(Rom.8:33).

THERE IS NEED FOR PATIENCE AND SUBMISSION

verse 123 : GAH-YINI = "..Mine eyes....."

Here we have the true meaning of the 16th letter: Ain! In both Hebrew and Arabic it means 'Eye'. The writer says that his eyes fail. Sometimes when you have looked at an object for a long time, your eyes 'fail' and become tired and dim. The Psalmist had been weeping, and waiting, and watching for the help of the Lord to come to his rescue. His faith was tried. How wonderful to know that if our eyes 'fail', the Lord never fails, nor do His eyes fail! Trials and testing teach us patience, and give us experience. When we feel we have waited so long, let us remember the Lord Jesus in Psalm 69:3 "...I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mind eyes fail while I wait for my God". "For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.."(Hebrews 12:3). Take courage then, dear brother, dear sister: "..For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.."(Hebrews 10:36).

THERE IS NEED FOR COMPASSION

verse 124 : GAH-SAH = "..deal (with)..."

The writer is conscious of his weakness, slowness to grasp the Lord's instructions, and pleads for 'mercy'. The French version calls this 'goodness' or 'kindness'. No doubt we are all conscious of our need for His kindness and patience with us. Psalm 103 is wonderfully encouraging here: "..The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him, For He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.."(verses 8,13, 14). Our place before Him is that of a servant. This is indeed our privilege. How gracious of the Lord to calls us His friends: "..Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you"(John 15:15). "..and teach me thy statutes....", continues our verse. How wonderful to know that He will daily teach us the lessons we need, so that we may grow in our spiritual lives.

THERE IS NEED FOR INSTRUCTION

verse 125 : GEH-VEDAK = "...Your servant....."

Continuing in his place as a servant he asks for 'understanding' of His 'testimonies'. That is, he wants to grow in his understanding of what the Lord is and what he ought to be day by day. We all need that daily spiritual intelligence in order to discern the will of the Lord. But in order to know His will we must be willing to accept the conditions: "..Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will". (Romans 12:1,2). Three times now we have seen the repetition of the word "servant' in this 16th section: verses 122, 124, 125. It is the position an inferior takes. It is also the position a pupil takes in relation to his teacher. We do well to remember that we shall remain 'pupils needing to learn' all our lives. Unless we are taught ourselves we shall never be able to teach others.

THE NEED FOR COMMUNION BETWEEN MASTER AND SERVANT

verse 126 : GEHTH = ".. (it is)..time...".

The Lord as "Jehovah" is here addressed. One of the first things we must learn as pupils in the school of the Spirit of God is to recognise and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If we read of the Lord Jesus' wonderful condescension in calling us His 'friends', nevertheless He is Lord. In John 13:13 we read :"..Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am....". Here then we see clearly that on the one hand He invites us to a wonderful and precious intimacy with Him, as One with His friends, but this intimacy should never degenerate into a kind of mere familiarity with Him. If He calls us His brothers, we do not therefore call Him our "Brother"!! Today we see this idea of levelling out and of equalising. Jesus is reduced to a mere "superman". He is addressed in the same way that we address a beggar, and 'inferior. There is very little respect and reverence with regard His Person . Let us by all means enjoy this precious communion with Him, but ever remember Who He is..

NEVER COMPROMISE

verse 127 : GAL-KEN = "...Therefore...."

Here we have a resolution based upon an observation. The pupil is learning fast! He has found that in total submission to his divine Teacher he is growing more and more in understanding of divine things.

"Have I an object, Lord, below,

Which would divide my heart from Thee;

Which would divert its even flow

In answer to Thy constancy?

Oh, teach me quickly to return,

And cause my heart afresh to burn!"

(N.364 "Spiritual Songs)

We are in fact repeating in modern language what the Psalmist is saying: "..I love thy command-ments above gold; yea above fine gold". We cannot compromise the precious word for gold, even for fine gold, or whatever could be compared to something precious which would usurp that Word in our affections. We have made the discovery that His Word is more precious than anything else, that is why we 'love' it. Notice the Psalmist does not say that he is always faithful in keeping it, but he loves it. That is where we must commence also!

HE DOES ALL THINGS WELL

verse 128 : GAL-KEN = "..So............"

Again the sentence begins with the same word in the Hebrew which we have rendered: 'Therefore", or "So". It still speaks of a conclusion. The Psalmist is very intense in his expressions here. Notice the word "All" is repeated three times: 'all thy precepts', 'all things', 'every false way'. It is a very good thing to be absolutely convinced about things the Bible teaches. Paul writes to Timothy: "But you keep on in what you learned and were assured of, knowing from whom you learned.....".(2 Timothy 3:14). The apostle Paul was assured about many things. For instance in Romans 8:28 he writes: "But we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to purpose". Further in verse 38 he says :"..For I am persuaded...". Do you have strong convictions? Are they based on the scriptures? Now we can see both the reason and the necessity for bible-study, that we might be established in the Word. Let us then submit to our divine Teacher, the blessed Holy Spirit.

p

17 : P E H = MOUTH

The name of this letter probably signifies: a mouth. The numerical value of this letter is : eighty (80). Our mouths are used to testify for and of the Lord, as true believers. Our Christian witness is rendered both by our lips and by our lives.

Verses 129 - 136 : THE WORD OF GOD GIVES POWER FOR TESTIMONY

We have a divine textbook:

THE MORE I LEARN, THE LESS I SEEM TO KNOW

verse 129 : PEH-LEHUT = "..(are) wonderful....."

The Bible is a marvel and a miracle. Sixty-six books, written by more than forty writers over a period of 1500 years, in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, yet one spirit permeates the whole: the Holy Spirit Who inspired the 'theme'. The publishers of the Gideons International have the following written in the front of their Bibles: "..The Bible reveals the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of the ungodly, and the happiness of believers. Its teaching is holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, its prophecies are certain and its decisions immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practise it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, armour to protect you, food to sustain you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller's map, the pilgrim's stay, the pilot's compass, the builder's plan, the soldier's sword, the shepherd's staff, the sailor's anchor and the Christian's charter. It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet. Here, Paradise is restored, Heaven is opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand Subject, our good its design, redemption its plan and the glory of God its end. It is given to you here in this life, it will be opened in the judgement, and is established for ever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour and condemns all who trifle with its sacred contents. Come to it with awe, a storehouse of food, a paradise of glory, a rose of rare fragrance, a river of joy, a life-giving fountain, a wheel with sixty-six spokes (books) each leading to Christ, its centre and hub. These sixty-six books form a splendid library, all in one cover, which can be carried in the pocket It is the masterpiece of all literature; it is published in more languages, and is loved and read by more people, than any other book". Seeing that I could not write anything better, I am glad to quote the above. The more we read it, the more we want to read it. The more we understand it, the more we realise our ignorance and need for more knowledge. It is an inexhaustible Textbook. Yes, indeed we can echo the words of the Psalmist:"Thy testimonies are wonderful...!"

THE BANE OF SPIRITUAL INTELLECTUALISM

verse 130 : PEH-THAGH = "..the entrance of ..."

The word translated 'entrance' may also be rendered: 'opening', 'open and perspicuous statement', 'declaration', sometimes even 'to illustrate'. The Bible has limitless applications to limitless circumstances. All the spiritual light known in this dark world has come from the word. News from mission-fields show that this word preached to unintelligent and uncultivated minds, often gives an enlargement and elevation of thought, which is the earnest of the restoration of man to his original glory. It is not the 'would-be' intellectual, or the bible-critic and the adept to Higher Criticism, who have 'understanding' because some of them might be completely void of spiritual life. It gives understanding to the 'simple'! This does not mean to the idiot, or the simple-minded, but those who in their own eyes realise their lack of understanding and their utter dependence upon the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Let us listen to what the apostle Paul has to say in 1 Corinthians 3:18,19 :"Let no man among you deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God...".

WE OPEN OUR MOUTHS AND HE WILL FILL THEM

verse 131 : PEHI = "..my mouth....".

Here then we have the true meaning of the 17th letter of the alphabet! We open our mouths either to speak or to eat or drink. The Psalmist says that he 'panted with his mouth'. What does 'panting' mean? The dictionary says among others: it is 'to yearn for, or after a thing'. Here is a believer who just longs for the Word of God. Do we have that kind of hunger and thirst after the living Word when we awaken in the morning? Psalm 87:7 reads: "All my springs are in Thee ".Or: "All my fountains are in You".(NIV). Nothing else or less can satisfy our spiritual hunger and thirst than the precious word of God. "As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, God. My soul thirsteth for thee: my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is. I stretch forth my hands unto thee; my soul thirsteth after thee as a thirsty land".(Ps.42:1;63:1; Ps.143:6).

ALWAYS PRAY BEFORE READING AND STUDYING

verse 132 : PAH-NAH = "..Turn...(to)...".

You will remember from my 'Introduction' that we find no mention of any of the synonyms of the Word in verse 90,122 and verse 132! The Psalmist has been concentrating on the preciousness of the Word and his need for studying it in order to understand it and so be able to render his testimony. Here he is on his knees! How necessary indeed it is to pray. Bible study should always be accompanied with prayer, otherwise we risk becoming too theoretical.Yes, we all need His favour and mercy day by day. Sometimes we do not feel like reading the bible, or study it. Often, whilst reading, our thoughts wander and we take nothing in. Often we have forgotten next day what we have read the previous day! His mercy is especially for those who are conscious of all this weakness. However, think of a colander we may use in our kitchens. If there is some dirt in it, the water will no doubt pass through it and nothing of the water remain in it, but the colander is cleaner! The same applies to us: we may feel that we have profited nothing from reading the bible one day, and yet, never forget: the water of the Word has 'passed' through us and we are definitely the cleaner for it!

THE FIRST LESSON: PRACTICAL HOLINESS

verse 133 : PAH-GAMI = "..my steps...".

It is true to say that if the Word 'dominates' me and my actions, then sin cannot 'dominate' me. The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 6:12 "..Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires". Practical holiness can only be experienced as we obey the Word of God, and submit to the Holy Spirit's instructions. "If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand"(Psalm 37:23,24). One of the first lessons we learn in the Christian life is indeed that the Lord our God is holy, and therefore He wants us to be holy in our behaviour. "Be holy, because I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16). The prayer in our verse: "order my steps in thy word", is our responsibility to pray constantly. And the verse in Psalm 37 is the answer from the Lord: "..He will make our steps firm".

SECOND LESSON: DELIVERANCE FROM OF SIN IN ANY FORM

verse 134 : PAH-DAHNI = "..redeem me...."

Deliverance is here sought from what wordly and ungodly men and women can do to us. We all need deliverance from the fear of man, from the opinions of men, from the fashion of this world, from worldliness.The Hebrew verb can also be translated:’ cut me loose', or 'set free from servitude'. This is helpful, for we can so easily become the 'slaves' of men, and the way the world does things. We perhaps like to be 'popular' with our unbelieving friends. But the Christian dare not compromise. We do not want to be 'obnoxious' with superior airs, yet neither do we want to lose our testimony by pleasing the world. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself warns us that He has come not to bring peace , but a sword, with regard our family relations. He says :" a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.."(Matthew 10:35,36).If therefore, in the words of this verse :"..we will keep His precepts..", we must decide: Whom shall we please? The Lord Jesus, or the world, or ourselves? Deliver us dear Lord from anything that would 'dominate' us.

THIRD LESSON: OUR PERFECT ACCEPTANCE BEFORE GOD

verse 135 : PAH-NAK = "..Your face....."

How blessed to know that "..by faith we have access into His favour in which we stand...." (Romans 5:2). Yes, indeed, we are accepted in the Beloved (Eph.1:6). A friend tells the following story: "One morning on the farm, I saw the strangest looking lamb: it had six legs! and the last two were hanging helplessly as though paralysed. But when the farmer caught the lamb the mystery was explained. The lamb did not originally belong to the ewe that now cared for it. The ewe had had a lamb which was bitten by a snake and died. This lamb that I saw was an orphan and needed a mother's care. But at first the bereft ewe refused to have anything to do with it. She sniffed at it when it was brought to her, then pushed it away, as if saying: "That is not our family odour". The farmer skinned the lamb that had died and very carefully drew the fleece over the living lamb. This left the hind-leg coverings dragging loose. Thus covered, the lamb was brought again to the ewe. She smelled it once more and this time seemed thoroughly satisfied and adopted it as her own". I seems to me to be a beautiful picture of the grace of God. We are all outcasts and have no claim upon His love. But God's Son, the "Lamb of God", has died for us and now we who believe are dressed up in the fleece of the Lamb Who died. Thus God has accepted us in Him. This whole idea is beautifully expressed in the following: "So dear, so very dear to God, More dear I cannot be; The love wherewith He loves His Son, Such is His love to me So near, so very near to God, Nearer I could not be, For in the person of His Son, I am as near as He".

FOURTH LESSON: COMPASSION FOR LOST SOULS

verse 136 : PEH-LEG = "..rivers...(of).."

What a precious verse we have here in the Old Testament! It is an amazing expression of the compassionate heart of the Psalmist for those "..who keep not Thy law". He is so deeply moved for them that he says :"Rivers of waters run down mine eyes..", for them! The NIV is far too general when it says: "Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed". It leaves out completely the pronoun "they", which the Hebrew does show in the word "Shamaru"= "they keep not". When the Lord Jesus came near Jerusalem, Luke 19, we read in verse 41 :"..and (He) saw the city, He wept over it...". On three occasions we se that Jesus wept:

a. John 11:35 = He wept over a household.

b. Luke 19:41 = He wept over a city.

c. Hebrews 5:7= He wept over a lost world.

From this we see that the Lord Jesus is never indifferent to human needs and problems.

Do you have this compassion for the lost, dear reader? Have you ever wept over a lost soul? Have you ever said to the Lord: "Here am I, Lord, send me"? This whole section 17 speaks of God giving us Power in order to testify. The verses 133 - 136 have shown us what is needed for those who would seek to speak to others of Christ: they must live holy lives, and know personally the power of the Holy Spirit in daily deliverance from the slavery of sin, and have the deep assurance of being totally 'accepted' in the worthiness of Christ before God, and have the same compassion that filled their Master. Do we qualify?

x

18 : T S A D D I = A SIDE/ASSISTANCE

The 18th letter of the alphabet is supposed the mean: 'a side'(Deut.31:26), frequently used of the left side! (see 1 Sam.20:25; psalm 91:7). It could mean "at the side of anything", therefore also

'Assistance'. Sometimes it could signify "Adversary" (Judges 2:3). In the Arabic 'sadd' very similar to Hebrew, means 'to turn oneself from anyone', or 'to turn to him the side, not the face, hence 'to oppose oneself to anyone', 'to be adverse to him'.

The numerical value of this letter is :ninety (90).

Verses 137 - 144 : THE WORD OF GOD BRINGS ME NEAR TO HIM

THE SUBJECTS FOR STUDY:

In this section we have:

1. The Divine Teacher: verses 121-128.

2. The Divine Textbook : verses 129-136.

3. The Subjects for Study: verses 137-144.

THE JUSTICE OF GOD:

verse 137 : TSAD-DEEK = "..righteous..."

How wonderful to realise that God's 'righteousness' through Jesus Christ has set me in a place of 'nearness' to Himself! Righteousness is one of God's attributes: He must punish sin, or otherwise He cannot rule over a moral universe and His holiness would be outraged. n Romans chapter 4 and verse 5 we read: "However, to the man who does not work but trusts God Who justifies the wicked his faith is credited as righteousness". As the holiness and righteousness of God's character demand the death of the sinner, our Lord Jesus Christ took your and my place and was 'made sin', that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psalm 85:10). Once more we are taught our complete 'acceptance' before or in Christ, as we saw earlier in verse 135.

THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD

verse 138 : TSAH-VAHT = "..You have enjoined (commanded)".

God's Faithfulness is :

a. Based upon a faithful covenant.

b.Confirmed by faithful promises.

c. Executed by a faithful redeemer.

From the moment that goes back before the foundation of the world, when He sat His love upon you and me, and chose us in Christ, His love has never changed, and will never change! We are so often fickle and changeable, but He loves us just as much now as He did when we first came to know the Lord Jesus as our own personal Saviour and Lord. My dear fellow-Christian, let us encourage one another with these words: "If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself".(2 Tim.2:13).

ZEAL FOR THE HONOUR OF HIS NAME

verse 139 : TSA-MATTHANI = "..(My zeal) has eaten me up".

David, as a prophet, spoke these same words as coming from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ, in Psalm 69:9 :"For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon Me..". We were all indeed by nature 'enemies' and thus brought 'reproach upon the Holy character of God. But the Lord Jesus has born that 'reproach' that 'shame' that 'sin' in His very own body on the cross of Calvary and paid the penalty that we deserved. Blessed Saviour and Redeemer! How can we now show our gratitude to Him? Surely, by being 'zealous' for the honour of His name, by proclaiming His wonderful virtues and character as Saviour to lost sinners! Are we indeed 'fervent in spirit, serving the Lord'? (see Romans 12:11). We are often put to shame by false, but zealous, workers of the devil's lies. Think of the Communists, the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses and their 'zeal'. Paul said a similar thing of the Jews who opposed the Gospel of God's Grace: "..For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge"(Romans 10:2).There is a negative and a positive 'zeal', and Paul explains this in Galatians 4:17,18 "They zealously affect you but not well...", "..But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing...". My dear friend, are you zealous in winning souls for Christ?

THE PURITY OF HIS CHARACTER

verse 140 : TSA-RAPH = "..(Thy word is very)..PURE..".

When something is said to be 'pure' then it means that there is absolutely no mixture, no 'flaw' in it. God hates 'mixtures'. God's Word is very pure, it is absolutely 'perfect', without vanity or fallibility! It teaches and demands purity to be manifested in our daily lives. Because the Word is 'pure', it is also a 'purifier': it cleanses from sin and guilt every heart with which it comes into contact and which receives it. Jesus says to His disciples: "Now ye are clean, by the word which I have spoken unto you"(Jn.15:3). The fact that it purifies endears it to every child of God. A child of God does not wish the Word of God brought down to a level with his own imperfect character, but desires rather that his character and conduct may be gradually raised to a conformity to that blessed word.

HIS GREATNESS AND MY LITTLENESS

verse 141 : TSA-GEER = "..(I am) SMALL (and despised)..".

One of the greatest lesson we ought to learn soon in our spiritual lives is that we are 'nothing' and that Christ is 'everything'. John the Baptist was right when he said: "HE must increase, but I must decrease". In Matthew 5:3 we read :"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of God". This does not mean those with a low I.Q, or the mentally deficient. This poverty of spirit is essentially spiritual, not physical or material! Sometimes material poverty is related to spiritual wealth, (Luke 6:20). There are two kinds of poverty: 1. The destitute beggar. 2. The believer who recognises he has and is and can do nothing of himself, but needs the Lord for everything. It is in fact the 'absence of pride'. A humble believer will show no attitude of 'superiority', he is without 'complexes'. Paul gives great encouragement for believers that have this kind of attitude:" But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence".(1 Cor.1:27-29).

HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS

verse 142 : TSA-DEKTAK = ".. Your righteousness...."

The Septuagint reads: "Thy righteousness is righteousness everlastingly, and thy law is truth". The A.V. expresses the 'perpetuity' (everlastingliness) of the righteousness, but the original expresses also the character of it. God’s righteousness is essentially and eternally righteousness. The expressions here are absolute: there is only this righteousness, and only this truth.(John Stephen).How delightful to join 'Jehovah' Himself in the ascription of praise: ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom" (Hebr.1:8). "Every ordinance of man" is connected only with time. The divine government has a constant reference to eternity, past and to come. "And I heard the angel of the waters say; Thou art righteous, which art, and wast, and shalt be; because thou hast judged thus"(Rev.16:5). Every instance, therefore, of His righteous administration, is that display of the divine character which constrains the adoration of heaven. There may be fragments of truth elsewhere found - remnants of the fall. There may be systems set up with large portions of truth deduced from this law (as English justice). But here alone is it found perfect. How carefully, therefore, we should test by this standard, every doctrine and every teaching.

COMFORT AND VICTORY

verse 143 : TSAHR = ".. Distress...(have taken hold).."

When we are in distress and anguish we need to realise that He is near! The whole theme of this section is His 'nearness'. The little word 'yet' in this verse makes all the difference! The sufferer is not defeated, not in despair! He is delighting in the precious word of God for his comfort, and this will surely lead him on to victory! He may be buffeted, but it will only stimulate him to fight harder and better in the strength of the Lord! So the enemy defeats his own purpose! The more he inflicts distress the more the believer is driven closer to the Lord! This is indeed an enigma for the adversary of our souls! The apostle Paul was such an indomitable soul with his positive outlook on things in the most adverse circumstances, and must have driven the devil often to despair! Listen to Paul's testimony: "Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel"!!! Let us not give one inch of advantage to the adversary! This is indeed real victory.

KNOWING HIM

verse 144 : TSA-DAK = "..The righteousness...".

For the fourth and last time in this section of eight verses we read of 'righteousness'.

We have seen that the Lord is righteous, and that all His acts are acts of righteousness, that His word is righteous. Our pupil in the 'School of the Spirit of God' is learning fast! No doubt it is because he is conscious of his ignorance and he repeatedly asks that he may be given 'understanding'. See verses 34 and 73. The cry for understanding and knowledge is not a cry of the 'little child' in 1 John 2, whose spiritual perception is just blossoming, but the cry of the 'fathers who have known Him that is from the beginning"(verses 13,14). There is no end to this knowing, for our Lord is infinite! The Lord Jesus Christ said to His Father in John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent". In knowing Him there is Life with a capital "L". "Give me understanding, and I shall live", says the Psalmist. My dear friend, do you have LIFE? eternal Life in Jesus Christ?

Division Seven : Verses 145 - 168 : SPIRITUAL RENEWAL

q

19 : K O P H

This letter signifies: 'The head of an axe’, and this agrees well with the form of this letter in the Phoenician and Hebrew alphabets. It is similar to the back of the head. It may mean also "Headship'. The numerical value of this letter is: 100.

Verses 145 - 152 : THE WORD OF GOD IS THE BASIS FOR PRAYER.

THE NEED FOR PRAYER:

verse 145 : QAH-RAHT = "..I cried...."

We might well ask: "Why pray, if God knows everything about our needs anyway?" But our earthly fathers also knew what we needed, yet we would often go to them and ask them something. Just to be able to go to father and talk with him reaffirms every time our father-child relationship. It is not just the asking that is important, but the free and happy interchange between a child and his father that is beautiful. Our Father loves to hear our voice, loves to see us dependent upon Him for everything. The Psalmist is in great earnest:".. I cried with my whole heart..."! This is repeated in verse 146! Here is a man pouring out his soul before the Lord. Prayer is the soul's sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed. It may be as simply as a baby's Cry, as eloquent as a Tear, as silent as a Sigh, as mighty as a Tornado, as strong as Love. It is like the dew of heaven resting on our spirits, a sacred sweetness distilled in our souls, the secret communion of the heart.

"Hear me, O Lord: I will keep Your statutes.." We have a wonderful assurance given to us that our prayers are heard! "..And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will,"He heareth us ", see 1 John 5:14. It does not necessarily say that He answers us immediately, but for the surrendered believer it is enough that the Father has 'heard', He will answer at the right time!

THE SUBJECT OF PRAYER

verse 146 : QAH-RAHTOOK = "..I cried to You..."

Here the prayer is more precise and definite: "save me". If we pray to the Lord to 'save' us it does not mean that we need a second time to be 'saved from the penalty of sin'. It is not this kind of 'salvation' that we are dealing with in this verse! The word 'salvation' (soteria) is used in the NT for:

a) material and temporal deliverance from danger and apprehension.

b) of the spiritual and eternal deliverance granted immediately by God to those who accept His conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus, in Whom alone it is to be obtained.

c) of the present experience of God's power to deliver from the bondage of sin.

d) of the future deliverance of believers at the Parousia of Christ for His saints, a salvation which is the object of their confident hope, etc. (W.E.Vine). As Spurgeon says it so precisely: "Save me from the dangers which surround me, from the enemies that pursue me, from the temptation which beset me, from the sins which accuse me".

THE MOMENT OF PRAYER

verse 147 : QAH -DAMT = " I go before...".

"I go before the dawn of day and cry.....!". Another way of saying would be "I rise before dawn and cry for help". In Psalm 130:6 we read :"My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning......!" This is indeed the secret of spiritual revival: prayer! One is often asked: "When is the best time for prayer and quiet time?". The Bible gives the answer: "In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation". (Ps.5:3). Again in Psalm 88:13 we read: "But I cry to You for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before You..". But what about us? You and me? How seriously do we take this necessity of praying? We do not forget to wash our face, clean our teeth and take breakfast in the morning, yet we leave the house without praying? Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God felt it necessary often to get up a great while before day, and go somewhere quiet in order to pray.(Mark 1:21-35). In the Gospel of Luke it is mentioned seven times that He prayed on different occasions. Can you find those occasions?

THE LENGTH OF PRAYER

verse 148 : QAH-DAM = "...(my eyes ..)..go before the..."

The 'night watches' were specific periods during the night. The nation of Israel knew three night watches:

1. From sunset (about 6 P.M.) to 10 P.M. (Lament.22:19).

2. The 'middle watch', from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M. (Judges 7:19).

3. From 2 A.M. till sunrise (1 Samuel 11:11).

Under the Romans there were four night watches, agreeing with the changes of the Roman guards, each being of three hours' duration, from sunset to sunrise. They were sometimes called 'evening', 'midnight', 'cock-crowing', and 'morning'. See Matt.14:25; 24:43; Mark 6:48; 13:35; Luke 12:38. Did the Psalmist actually start his praying before two o'clock, early in the morning? We know that Daniel prayed three times each day. The Muslims pray five times each day and also are called to prayer just before day dawns.

We can learn something from the 'regularity' of these night watches: we also need a 'regular' time set aside to pray. Prayer is vital in the maintenance of 'continuous revival'. Furthermore, a time of prayer should be followed by :"...meditation of the Word..."

THE PLEA OF PRAYER

verse 149 : QOHLI = "..(Hear ..)..my voice..."

The Psalmist was much less privileged than we are! He didn’t have that wonderful promise given to us in 1 John 5:14 -" ..This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us". To plead on the basis of God's loving-kindness, is equivalent to asking 'in the name of the Lord Jesus', God's gracious gift. Notice what the Psalmist asks for: "..quicken me...". It is precisely because Jesus Christ was 'given' as the Saviour of the world, that all who in true repentance and faith may receive not just life, but 'abundant life', see John 10:10. We need this daily 'quickening' and strengthening with might by His Holy Spirit in our inner man, so that we might experience spiritual 'revival'. We need this 'quickening' in order to stand fast against the wiles of the enemy.

THE REASON FOR PRAYER

verse 150 : QAH- RAVU = "..(they)..draw near..."

Someone has said that Satan trembles when he see the weakest believer on his knees in prayer! The enemy will do everything he can in order to hinder the believer from praying. So he "..draws nigh, that follow after mischief..."! But we can resist him, steadfast in the faith, and he will flee from us! It is prayer that moves the hand that moves the world! James says: "..When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives...."(Jas.4:3). But Jesus says: "..Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you, For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him that knocks, the door will be opened".(Matt.7:7,8,) But we must learn to ask in accordance with His will, and that can only be possible when our own will has been yielded to Him. Those who follow after mischief are characterised by 'lawlessness', they '..are far from Thy law', they are insubmissive, and enemies to God's purposes (Romans 8:7). So as long as we remain dependent upon Him, and maintain sweet communion with Him in prayer, we have nothing to fear from the enemy.

THE COMFORT OF PRAYER

verse 151 : QAH-ROV = "..You are near..."

If in the previous verse the enemies were near to do us mischief, what a comfort we have in this verse when we read that the Lord is near to those who put their trust in Him. Let us always remember what the apostle John says in 1 John 4:4 "Greater is HE that is in you, then he that is in the world". We are more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! Sometimes our faith is weak and we see the circumstances rather than the Lord. Just like Elisha's young man who saw an overwhelming enemy. Then Elisha said: "..Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them...And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw....." (2 Kings 6:16,17). It is the word of God that tells us of His Nearness, but if we do not read it regularly we shall miss this sense of His presence. The Psalmist saw this also and said: "..all thy commandments are truth..."

OUR PRAYERS MUST BE FOUNDED ON THE SURE WORD OF GOD

verse 152 : QEH- DEM = "..(I have known)..of old.."

The Psalmist is sure of God's 'testimonies'. We saw in our 'Introduction' that 'Testimony' is one facet of the Word which shows us what God is, and what we ought to be. He says in fact: "Long ago I learned from Your statutes that You established them to last for ever". (N.I.V.). Knowledge of what God has said and still says through His word is of course of the utmost importance. But knowledge puffs up. Paul knows that and warns about it. But Paul would insist that simply 'knowing' is not enough, he wants Timothy and us to be convinced of what we have learned! See 2 Tim.3:14 "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of....". We must have convictions about the Truth of the Word, and we must be sure about the One Who gave the Word, and also that He answers prayer that is founded on the Word and the Promises He has given.

r

20 : R E S H = THE HEAD/BEGINNING

The name 'Resh' denotes 'The Head' and refers to the form of this letter in the Phoenician alphabet. It follows in fact the outline of the back of the head. It has the significance of "Headship" or "Leadership". The word "Russia" comes from its root, and may mean that Russia is at the 'Head' of the Godless nations!(Ezek.38:2) The numerical value of this letter is = 200.

"Resh" then denotes 'to be at the head', 'at first'. It is interesting to note that the first word of the Bible is in fact "Resh" although preceded by the letter 'Beth', in other words: "In the beginning..", reads in Hebrew: "B’resh-ith" = thus the 'b' stands for our English 'in'. Literally it would read "In the heading..": and is thus a wonderful reference to the true Headship of Jesus Christ. Satan opposes this with all his might. In the end-time he will therefore use "Russia" to collectively with other anti-nations oppose Christ!

Verses 153 - 160 : GOD'S WORD TEACHES US THAT JESUS CHRIST IS

LORD AND THAT HE KNOWS!

verse 153 : RAH = "... Look on (mine affliction)..."

The Psalmist pleads for two things: a. Consideration of his sorrow; and b. Deliverance from it. He bases his plea upon the fact that he has not forgotten God's Law. The want for sympathy is very real here! Let us remember that there was One Who also cried for sympathy and pity in His affliction: "I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none"(Ps.69:20). He was 'abandoned' for our sakes and for our sins, as He was made the victim, the sin-offering, having been made sin for us, that we should become the righteousness of God in Him. Now, as great High Priest He intercedes for us in Heaven, and fully sympathises with our infirmities and weakness, but never with our sin(s). He does 'consider' our afflictions! He knows perfectly well all that happens to us. It is His loving hand that allows things to 'happen' to us. Of Israel it was said: "..I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and I know their sorrows"(Exod.3:7). He is the same today! He does sympathise and He does also deliver! It is for us to be occupied with His precious Word and not to forget it.

HE INTERCEDES

verse 154 : REEVH = "..CONTEND (for my cause).."

Isaiah 63:9:"In all their afflictions He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old". How this verse expresses His tender care and interest in each of His redeemed ones. He is not indifferent to the sufferings and afflictions of His own! He identifies Himself with us in our need(s). It is right for us to pray for quickening, especially as our strength is but small and in affliction we get worn out. "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man"(Ephesians 3:16). The psalmist is very conscious of his weakness. Three times he cries for 'quickening' (vss.154,156,159), whilst he pleads his dependence upon the word of God :" according to Thy word.." "..we have and advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous..". We know we have an 'accuser', but 'he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not'(1 John 5:18).

HE SAVES

verse 155 : RAH-GHOHK = "..Far off ...(is).."

What a dreadful contrast we have in this verse! In the preceding verse we see the psalmist pleading for deliverance which was sure to come, but here there is no hope given of deliverance, but that 'salvation is far from the wicked'. But who are the 'wicked'? Psalm 9:17 gives us the answer: "The wicked shall be turned into hell, (and all the nations)that forget God". So by the 'wicked' are meant all those who leave God out of their lives and reckoning. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His"(Romans 8:9). Yet we read in Psalm 145:18,19 :"the Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him; he also will hear their cry, and will save them". Let us remember dear reader a precious verse in Hebrews 7:25 "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing that he ever liveth to make intercession for them".

HE IS MERCIFUL

verse 156 : RAH-GHAMEEMK = "..your tender-mercies.."

Here is first of all the 'tenderness' of God's greatness, but also the 'greatness' of God's tenderness! His mercies are great and abundant in many respects: they endure for ever; they reach unto the heavens... His mercies are also 'tender' "...his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.."(Lament.3:22,23). Our Father is infinitely patient and long-suffering, slow to get angry, quick to forgive and ready to show mercy. "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy". (Psalm 103:8). Psalm 130:4 says: "But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mightest be feared". It is true that the Lord is always ready to forgive when we have grieved Him in any way, and we confess our sin. The fact that He forgives should not make us careless, but rather create in us a holy 'fear' to grieve Him.We also should ask the Lord daily to 'quicken us' as to our estimation of sin, so that we might hate it. We need to be 'quickened' also in our spirits to love the Lord with a greater and deeper devotion.

HE PROTECTS:

verse 157 : RAVEEM = "....many ....(are)..."

The word of God tells us that we must expect to be persecuted for Christ's sake. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution"(2 Tim.3:12). Here again we find a contrast: the many mercies of verse 156, over against the many 'enemies' of this verse. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken" (Ps.34:19,20). Strange that a godly man like king David, and also our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, should have so many enemies! The disciple cannot be loved, where his Master is hated! "If the world hate you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. They hated Me without a cause....", these are the very words of our Lord Jesus to all His disciples (John 15:18,25). How precious it is therefore to have the assurance: "..greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world"(1 John 4:4). At such times when we are under stress and persecuted it is best to be occupied with the Word of God: "..yet do I not decline from thy testimonies". How blessed we are when we can say with the apostle Paul: "..no man stood with me, but all men forsook me. Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me and strengthened me..." (2 Tim.4:16,17)

HE KNOWS THE REBELLIOUS

verse 158 : RAH-AHT = "...I saw..."

The psalmist is very zealous for the honour of God. He was far more grieved by the fact that so many dishonour the Lord and have a contempt for the word of God, than the fact that he was persecuted by them. God's glory was dearer to him than life itself. Let us remember that we were once transgressors and rebels, and that the Lord loved us in spite of this and saved us. Did not He 'endure the contradiction of sinners against himself'? Did not He, when nailed to the cross by transgressors, pray for them: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do? He was 'grieved' at their sinfulness. How often we see in the Gospels the Lord Jesus 'grieved' at the hardness of men's hearts (Mark 3:5). He had compassion on the transgressors, do we feel that same compassion for lost souls around us? The psalmist said in verse 136 :"Rivers of water run down mine eyes, because they keep not they law". Have we ever wept for the soul of a lost sinner?

HE QUICKENS

verse 159 : RAH (KEN) = "..CONSIDER how I love..."

The psalmist has repeatedly cried to the Lord to be quickened: see verses 5,37,40,88,107,149,154,156,159. It is a felt need for revival! How we need to pray for this ourselves daily: 'revive me o Lord'. Jesus said in John 10:10 "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly". It is this 'more abundant life' that we need. No doubt this will be our experience as we read and study the Word of God and are taught by the Holy Spirit to put it into practice. How often we become apathetic in our spiritual lives, we lack spiritual energy and vigour. Our souls cleave so easily to the dust of this world (see verse 25). We need the Spirit to 'quicken' and revive us. Notice the psalmist did not say :"..how I perform thy precepts...", but how he loved them. We often fail in many ways, but we still love the Word.

HE IS FAITHFUL

verse 160: ROHSH = "..the beginning (head of..) of thy word"

If the word of God is 'truth' from the beginning, then it must be 'eternal truth' in its character and results: like its author, in every particular, enduring for ever. We read in verses 89,90 :"For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven...Thy faithfulness is unto all generations" . This is the rock on which our lives are built. Here is the rock of my confidence. How could we rest our hope on any salvation that did not proceed from the unchangeable mind and word of God. What assurance could we have elsewhere? No, our trust is in the ever faithful One. The Word of God we believe to be entirely inspired, God-breathed. Every word, every jot and tittle (2 Tim.3:16)

s

21 : S C H I N = A TOOTH

This letter may signify 'sensitiveness'. A tooth cuts and tears, it pierces and crushes and pulverises. These different actions may indicate either a positive or a negative process.

It has a numerical value of = 300. In this section we get the ideas of 'persecutions'(v.161), but also of victory and peace. There is to be found 'great spoil' in this precious word of God (v.162).

Verses: 161-168 : THE WORD OF GOD FOR POWER AND PEACE IN

PERSECUTION"

verse 161 : SHEREEN = "..PRINCES have persecuted me.."

We know that Satan is called :"...the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience"(Ephesians 2:2). He is the instigator behind all other 'princes' who have persecuted the 'righteous'. Think of such 'princes' as Pilate, Felix, Festus, Nero, Hitler etc. These men have all abused the authority God invested them with. To be the object of persecution 'without a cause' is to be like the Master. Jesus Christ was persecuted and hated 'without a cause'. The question we must ask ourselves of course is: do I in any way provoke others to 'persecute' me? A Christian can be obnoxious and so incite persecution against himself. But it is Peter in his Letter who helps us accept persecution as we should (1st Peter 2:19,20; 3:17; 4:12-16). Those in high places who abuse their authority would impose their demands unjustly. We have the example of the apostles in the Book of the Acts 5:29, and the right way to react to these 'princes' :"We ought to obey GOD rather than men". They stood in AWE of God, not wanting to grieve HIM, rather than standing in awe of the perverters of justice. Let us be animated by the same spirit :" but my heart standeth in awe if Thy word".

WE HAVE THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

verse 162 : SHOO - SHAN = "I REJOICE at thy word".

We ought not to be ignorant of Satan's devices. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places"(Eph.6:12). Against such 'princes' we must take up the 'sword of the Spirit' which is the Word of God (Eph.6:17). How would we be motivated to take up that sword if we have found no joy in it? The psalmist rejoiced at that word, as 'one that finds great spoil'. We have to get to know that word so that the Holy Spirit can bring it to our remembrance when faced with conflict. When Satan sends his fiery darts against us, we must be able to handle the shield of faith to quench these darts, also by using the Word of God against him: it is written. Bible-study is therefore of the utmost importance for every believer. The degree of my joy in God's word is expressed here as being 'spoil', being the fruit of conflict. We have used the word of God in conflict and carried away the victory and great 'spoil': our spiritual lives have been enriched.

WE MUST STAND FIRM AND RESIST

verse 163 : SHEH-KER = "I HATE and abhor lying..."

This is the attitude of the 'new man' in the language of the New Testament. "These six things doth the Lord hate: yea seven are an abomination unto him:.....a false witness that speaketh lies..." (Proverbs 6:16,19). By nature we hate what God loves, and we love what God hates! (see Romans 7:18 etc.). Are we as Christians sometimes living a lie? Think of David in 1st Samuel 21:2, 13; 27:10! He lived a lie every day for a long period! How miserable he must have been! God was not with him in those days to bless him, even although God protected him in His mercy. Notice the opposites in this verse :"hate....love". The more I love His word, the more I shall hate sin in any form. Let us remember that 'exaggeration' is a form of lying, do we sometimes 'gloss things over', tell a white lie or half truths, or make false excuses? Let us therefore double our energy in studying the word of God, that 'the word of Christ dwell in us richly'(Col.3:16), and so be fitted for spiritual warfare, and be able to resist the enemy, so that he will flee from us. We dare not compromise, or live 'double lives' but we must live transparent lives in the centre of God's will.

WE HAVE PERFECT JOY

verse 164 : SHEH-VAG = "SEVEN times a day do I praise thee".

How often we have been encouraged by that wonderful verse 28 in the Letter to the Romans, chapter eight: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose". This verse is a commentary on the expression here called: 'righteous judgements'. Does not the assurance that God does all things well and justly, give us cause for praising Him? Yes, we have every reason for always praising Him. "Be ye thankful", says Paul in Colossians 3:15. He means that we should always have this attitude of being thankful for everything. In verse 17 Paul exhorts us to utter our thankfulness audibly :" giving thanks to God and the Father by Him..". The expression 'seven times' would perhaps indicate the 'frequency' of the habit. It is like living a life of 'perpetual praise'. Do we give thanks before every meal we take, even if we are having it in a public place, like a restaurant, somewhere? What an opportunity for rendering a 'silent' testimony. This giving of thanks, and praise, is not optional, not as and when we feel like it. It is an obligation, it is God's will :"In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you"(1 Thessal.5:18).

WE HAVE PERFECT PEACE

verse 165 : SHAH-LOM = "Great PEACE have they which love.."

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee"(Isaiah 26:3). Even in the midst of conflict and persecutions the believer can enjoy this inner peace. "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil.4:6,7). Let us remark first of all that the Psalmist does not say: "great peace have they which perfectly keep thy law", but who 'love' thy law. This is the desire of the new nature in us. When we really want to do the will of God we have deep serenity and peace. The verse continues :"..and nothing shall offend them", or better 'nothing can make them stumble'(NIV). Nothing can injure them (Romans 8:28). I must let nothing hinder this peace to rule in my heart. I submit totally to His will and have peace and true happiness. We must neither give offence nor take offence. 'Blessed are the peace-makers'!

WE HAVE PERFECT CONFIDENCE

verse 166 : SHAH-VART = "..I have HOPED (BEEN PATIENT).."

For the believer 'hope' is not something uncertain or doubtful, but sure and certain.

"For we are saved by HOPE; but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it" (Romans 8:24,25). "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost"(Romans 15:13). The 'salvation' we know in the New Testament is both a temporal ( from circumstances), and an eternal salvation of the soul. We also wait for the final salvation of our bodies, and this is the 'blessed hope' of the Christian. When we live daily in the expectation of that blessed hope to be fulfilled in the coming of the Lord Jesus to take us home to the Father's House, we shall want to be found doing His 'commandments'. "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:2,3). We must therefore 'hope' in God, and do what is right. These two must never be separated. The first without the second would be mere presumption, and the second without the first would be mere formalism.

WE MUST BE PERFECTLY OBEDIENT

verse 167 : SHAH-MARH = "..my soul has KEPT.."

You cannot 'keep' or remember what you do not have or learned. The psalmist 'knew' the 'word' and meditated upon it often, no doubt. Do we? How much do we love His word? As someone said :'we must love it better than the wealth and pleasures of this world'. The 'soul' is expressive of the whole personality. He says his whole being kept God's word: spirit and soul and body were under the control of the word! Verses 167 and 168 combined say that the psalmist kept the 'testimonies' as well as the 'precepts' carefully. Remember in the introduction I said that the 'Testimony' is that which testifies of what God is, and of what we ought to be; whereas the 'Precept' is a charge given to us by God for which we are responsible. 'Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey'. Notice the intensity of his devotion to the word: "..I love exceedingly..."! As C.H.Spurgeon remarks:" ..He did not merely store up revealed truth by way of duty, but because of a deep unutterable affection for it. He felt that he could sooner die than give up any part of the revelation of God. The more we store our minds with heavenly truth, the more deeply shall we be in love with it: the more we see the exceeding riches of the Bible the more will our love exceed measure, and exceed expression".

GOD HAS A 'PERFECT PATH' FOR US:

verse 168 : SHAH-MART = "..I HAVE KEPT thy precepts..."

"All my ways are before Thee..", says the psalmist! All our pathway and our footsteps are known by our Father and He 'ponders' them. What a thought!

DIVISION EIGHT : VERSES 169 - 176: CONTINUOUS REVIVAL

A P P E N D I X

(In this 'Appendix' we have a prophetic reference to Israel in their days of 'tribulation'. This is also a time of their spiritual re-birth as a nation).

t

22 : T A U = A SIGN OR A CROSS

This is the last letter of the alphabet. Its numerical value is 400. It comes from a root 'tuh', meaning a 'Sign', a sign in the form of a cross (Ezek.9:4, where it is called a 'mark' :'set a mark...'.). It was a sign in the form of a cross branded on the thigh or neck of horses and camels, whence the name of the letter Tau, which in Phoenician, and on the coins of the Maccabees has the form of a cross. If then the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Aleph which is of Phoenician origin, and signifies an Ox, being derived from its figure in the most ancient alphabet, which represents the rude outlines of the head of an Ox, it points to the Person of the Son of God symbolically. The Ox was offered as a burnt-offering, and is figurative of the largest form of appreciation of the Person of the Lord Jesus. He who was the sacrifice for sin, was nailed to a shameful cross. And thus Psalm 119 comes to a conclusion in this last letter Tau, a cross.

Verses 169 - 176 : THE WORD OF GOD FOR CONTINUOUS REVIVAL.

PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYER:

Verse 169 : TAKAH - REHV = "...let COME NEAR..."

This section also prefigures the 'Repentance of the true Remnant' of Israel in a future day. "The people of Israel acknowledge that they had 'gone astray' (verse 176), (this is indeed their case and is the condition of the whole Psalm, the Law being now written, in desire at least, in their hearts), and gone astray like a sheep wholly lost.The humbled and repentant remnant (and, I repeat, we, when we have wandered from God), look for God's seeking them, for they were upright in heart, mindful of His commandments. This gives the key to the whole Psalm - Israel gone astray, the desire and love of God's law in their hearts, but their circumstances and condition not yet set right by Jehovah's deliverance, but their hearts set right that He may come in His word, and His deliverance being their desire, and His word the ground of their hope".('Practical Reflections on the Psalms' by Mr. J.N.D.)."We are far away from Christian ground here. Nothing makes it more sensible than the Psalms. Neither the Father, nor divine righteousness, is known in them, nor that whole class of feelings, blessed and holy as those feelings are, which flow from them. May we remember we are Christians."(J.N.D.). "Let my cry come near before Thee": is the earnest cry of the heart here. Many had been his cries and supplications (vss.145-152), but now his petition is that they might come near before Him, and that nothing would block the way. We must let nothing 'hinder' our prayers. Married couples are exhorted that they are 'heirs together of the grace of life', and that 'your prayers be not hindered' (1 Peter 3:7) He prays that God would give him understanding, so that he might know how to behave himself whilst in trouble. Our every petition should be urged upon the assurance of His promise.

PERSEVERANCE IN SUPPLICATION

verse 170 : TA - BOH = "..let (my prayer)..come before Thee"

We should therefore pray according to His will, and according to what He has promised in His word, He will answer such supplications. Supplication is asking for myself, whilst intercession is asking on behalf of others.The psalmist is conscious of his own dire need for deliverance. We need constant deliverance every day from sin, self and Satan. God does provide deliverance, see for instance the precious promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13 :"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it".

PERSEVERANCE IN PRAISE

verse 171 : TABAGNA = "..my lips shall BELCH OUT praise..".

This man 'pleads' first (v.170) (see Luke 18:1-8); then 'sings' (v.171), 'preaches' (v.172), 'travails' (v.173), 'longs' (v.174). He has consecrated 'lips' (V.171) and a consecrated 'tongue' (v.172), and 'soul' (v.175), and 'feet' (v.176). In fact his whole spirit and soul and body are for the Lord, and all to be used to praise the Lord. It is very important what we actually use our lips for. Proverbs 10:19 says :"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise". Notice when his lips shall utter praise :"..when Thou hast taught me Thy statutes...". It is those of us who let God teach us by His Holy Spirit who have 'cause' and 'material' to praise Him. When God opens our understanding, He also opens the heart and the lips, so that our mouths may show forth His praise.

PERSEVERANCE IN WITNESSING AND PREACHING

verse 172 : TAGANA = "...My tongue shall SPEAK of thy Word"

"Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul" (Ps.66:16). We ought to be daily witnesses to God's goodness and salvation. Do we ever witness with our lips? Remember Romans 10:9,10 :"...if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation". When we meet with other believers what do we talk about? It is not enough to offer up spiritual praise to the Lord, but we should also 'preach' His word for the edification of others. Are our hearts really overflowing so that our lips speak of Him and His righteous ways? In this way what we say 'ministers' grace to the hearers. There are many believers who never open their mouth in praise in the meeting for worship, nor in the prayer meeting. Are their hearts so empty that they have nothing to say to God? Are they so uncertain that they dare not speak of Him in public? Let all those 'fearful' and timid ones pray this prayer: "Lord, open Thou my lips, that my tongue may speak of Thy word...". Our spiritual priesthood does not only consist in offering up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, but our 'royal' priesthood consists in 'shewing forth the praises of Him Who has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light' (1 Peter 2:5,9).

HE WILL CONTINUE TO HELP

verse 173 : TAH - YADOK = "..Let thine HAND HELP ME.."

Yes, the Lord is willing to help those who come to Him with their timidity and lack of spiritual courage to witness or to confess His name. We may all come to the throne of grace and find grace to help in time of need (Heb.4:16). We need help to keep His word ('..thy precepts..'). When Peter wanted to walk on the waves toward the Lord Jesus and suddenly became conscious of the roaring waves, he began to sink. That very moment he cried to the Lord 'save me'. "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"(Matt.14:30,31). "Thou hast holden me by my right hand.."(Ps.73:23). How we depend on Him for everything! How comforting also to hear Him say to us :" I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, fear not, I will help thee" (Isaiah 41:12,13).

HE WILL CONTINUE TO SAVE.

verse 174 : TAH- AVIT = "..I HAVE LONGED for thy salvation"

The Bible teaches us that there is temporary 'salvation' from, or in, earthly circumstances, and that there is eternal 'salvation' of the soul/spirit which we enjoy even while still on earth, and that there is 'final salvation' of our bodies, which is sometimes called 'the redemption of our bodies' (see : Phil.2:12; 1 Peter 1:9, 5; Romans 8:23). Do we long for that 'final salvation', the coming of the Lord Jesus to take His Bride home? During that 'waiting period' we shall be occupied with His precious word to obey it and walk according to its instructions. ('..thy law is my delight'). This 'longing' and 'delight' mark what is characteristic of Christianity: not merely duty, but delight to do His will! As someone has said :"Duties become privileges, when Christ is their source and life".

It should be our heart's desire to be constantly close to Him: "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee"(Ps.73:25).

HE WILL CONTINUE TO QUICKEN.

verse 175 : TAH - NAPHSHI = "..LET ME SOUL live....."

The psalmist would like his life prolonged so that he can continue to praise God! "For in death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?"(Ps.6:5). It was his desire that as long as he lived he would live for the praise of God! Is that also our desire? The last six Psalms are for the most part throughout the breathings of praise. The close of Psalm 119 is also pervaded with praise. See verses 164,171,172. Unless our souls are daily 'quickened' by the Holy Spirit, our lips will be silent and no praise is heard. We ought therefore to pray that He would grant us, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Holy Spirit in the inner man. (Eph.3:16). We ought to be 'giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"(Eph.5:20). The more we learn about Him and His ways, which the psalmist calls 'Thy judgements', we shall be helped in our praise. A victorious Christian, enjoying abundant life in Christ, is also a singing and praising Christian! This is having the joy of our salvation (vse.174). The psalmist did not know what we Christians have: the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. How much more reason do we have therefore to praise! We can praise God for whatever He does, and wherever He leads us!

HE WILL GUIDE TO THE END

verse 176 : TAH - GAHT = " ..I have GONE ASTRAY....."

Some commentators see in this last section (verses 169- 176) Israel’s regeneration in the future = their spiritual re-birth as a nation. The soul in this verse realises its lost condition; he acknowledges having gone astray ( which is a habitual tendency), and now he looks to Jehovah to be the Shepherd of Israel and seek him ( although Israel has already been touched by the grace which has wrought in them to put into their hearts that desire for His commandments!). This is indeed the 'moral state' of Israel today and in the 'last days' - when in their land, but final deliverance has not yet come. We can also see in it a picture of any 'lost soul', conscious of having gone astray like a lost sheep. (It is a natural human tendency to 'wander and stray’). Only One can save him - the Good Shepherd. But the Good Shepherd must first lay down His life for His sheep. The last letter of the alphabet, as we have seen, is the letter Tau, which signifies 'a sign', or a 'cross'. Only through Christ's death on the cross can there be any salvation for lost sheep.

CONCLUSION:

"I do not think that there could possible be a more appropriate conclusion of such a Psalm as this, so full of the varied experiences and the ever-changing frames and feelings even of a child of God, in the sunshine and the cloud, in the calm and in the storm, than this ever-changing sense of his propensity to wander , and the expression of his utter inability to find his way back without the Lord's guiding hand to restore him. What an insight into our poor wayward hearts does this verse give us!" What a wonderful textbook we have found therefore in this precious Psalm 119.

We have found that the word of God:

  1. Has plentiful resources for our pilgrim path : vss.1 - 24.
  2. and strength for the weary : vss.25 - 48.
  3. In it we find our immense spiritual riches : vss.49 - 72.
  4. and through meditating it we grow into spiritual maturity : vss.73 - 96.
  5. Here we are told of the importance of daily bible study : vss.97 - 120.
  6. for we are all students in God's school : vss.121-144.
  7. Thus we can experience spiritual renewal : vss.145-168.
  8. and the Holy Spirit can maintain us in a continuous spiritual 'revival' to praise God : vss.169-176.