Summary: Lengthy and loaded. Confrontational and convicting. All reasons we very seldom (but need to) spend time in the One One Nine!
119 - Pt. 2
It is long. It is lengthy. It is passed over by those who prefer brevity. It is neglected by those who prefer short and sweet. It is shunned by the Reader's Digest crowd. However, in its great length is also has great depth. Multifaceted. It is rich. It is worth the time it takes to explore. It is the 119. It is the longest chapter in the entire Bible. And before we dig into it, it is important to understand some background. It is comprised of 22 stanzas each being 8 verses long and each verse is two lines long. Each stanza sequentially begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. So there was structure to David's verbosity. He wasn't just shooting off at the mouth.This is thought out and developed. In fact, there is a tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church that King David used this psalm to teach his son Solomon both the Hebrew alphabet and the “alphabet of the spiritual life.”
I mentioned last week that the 119 has at least 3 major themes that run throughout its landscape. The first that we dug into was David's emphasis on the Word. He teaches us that without the Word you can't walk, weather, or war. The Word is absolutely essential and if you have a deficiency of Word you will stumble, surrender and find yourself surrounded.
Just as pervasive as God's Word is in 119 prayer is also unmistakably worked into the tapestry of the teaching. Yes, prayer is the most mentioned doctrine and practice in Scripture. The command to pray is found 250 times in the Bible, and praying specific prayers is mentioned another 280 times. But prayer is so apparent and front in center in 119 that you just can't afford to miss it! David, is repetitive in discussing prayer and he basically talks about three very specific prayers that we should pray. And when you read how many times he repeats these three prayers in 119 you begin to recognize that not only should we pray these these prayers once or occasionally but rather your life should be spent repeating these prayers. (Again won't read them all.)
A. Teach Me.
Psalms 119:12, 33-37, 64, 66, 68, 124-124, 144
12 - Be blessed, God; train (teach) me in your ways of wise living.
The key statement there is wise living. We must be trained. Many of us need to unlearn some unwise living. And we have to be honest enough to acknowledge our lack of wisdom. Either our parents, our friends, our counselors have trained us and taught us things that are unwise . . . buy now, pay later, spend more than you make, engage in gossip, move from one relationship to another. David teaches us to ask God to train or teach us to live wisely.
33-37 - God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—my whole life one long, obedient response. Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot. Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
David connects our teachability to our ability to stay on course! If we aren't learning the lessons that God is teaching on living then we will detour into destruction!
In one statement, David wraps up what would be the greatest testimony any person could ever have. In fact, We should strive for this to be what they put on our tombstone. My whole life one long, obedient response!
David addresses greed and gives us the insight that there is a litmus test that can be used to show us if we are indeed being trained/taught by God. If we are not teachable we will spend our life on loot, toys and trinkets. David knew that if we are in fact being taught we will be able to stay out of that trap. It is easy to see that most of us as Americans are not teachable. We give the most valuable commodity we have (our time/life) in the pursuit of things that don't matter! David says if you are being taught you will give your life for what is important!
64 - Your love, God, fills the earth! Train me to live by your counsel.
66 - Train me in good common sense; I’m thoroughly committed to living your way.
68 - You are good, and the source of good;train me in your goodness.
124-125 - Let your love dictate how you deal with me; teach me from your textbook on life. I’m your servant—help me understand what that means, the inner meaning of your instructions.