WISE LIFESTYLE CHOICES
Lord, make Your Word my delight even further.
Read PSALM 119:1–24
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.
9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.
17 Be good to your servant while I live,
that I may obey your word.
18 Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
19 I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times.
21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
those who stray from your commands.
22 Remove from me their scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.
23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.
24 Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors.
- Psalm 119:1 This psalm is an acrostic poem, the stanzas of which begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet; moreover, the verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on His law day and night.’ (Ps 1:1,2)
Psalm 119 expands on the first of two ways of life that Psalm 1 presents: the way of the righteous leading to blessing and the way of the wicked leading to destruction. In the first of 22 stanzas, the psalmist expresses his desire to walk in God’s way (or law) unreservedly (a whole heart) and sincerely (an upright heart), for this ensures God’s favor (1–8). The term ‘law’ or torah means ‘direction, instruction’. The first stanza refers not to legalistic obedience but to a lifestyle that delights in and follows the way God has stipulated for us: like the idea of traveling with Jesus on the road of discipleship and absorbing His instructions.
The second stanza (9–16) focuses on the psalmist’s efforts to stay on God’s path. He ensures that his way aligns with God’s (9b); he seeks God wholeheartedly (10); he stores up God’s Word in his heart (11); he recounts aloud God’s rulings (13); he meditates on God’s instructions (15); and remembers God’s Word (16). Such a lifestyle does not happen by accident; it must be planned, desired, and regulated. A difficult, yet delightful, choice.
The third stanza (17–24) is a prayer in which the psalmist asks God to be good to him (17), to provide insight (18) and not to hide his commandments from him (19). In Mark 4:1–34, Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God. Although He uses puzzling language (parables), the truth about God’s kingdom is not meant to be hidden. Jesus wants people to come to Him and listen but as we have seen, it requires insight to grasp the meaning of Jesus’ teaching. The psalmist’s prayer is thus appropriate for those who want to walk in the way of Jesus as His disciples.
Consider how you can follow Jesus more intentionally. What steps could you take to follow Him more closely and love Him more deeply?
Lord, Your commandments provide the parameters within which we should operate. Keep us focused on them.