Summary: Lengthy and loaded. Confrontational and convicting. All reasons we very seldom (but need to) spend time in the One One Nine!
119 - Pt. 4
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.”
When we started I mentioned 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. Then in week 2 we dealt with David's instructions on prayer. So I am praying that you have been praying the 3 prayers he said to pray. Teach me! Has He taught you anything this week? Bless me! I don't need to ask you if prayed that because we all have no problem praying that. Protect me! I need God to watch over me and protect me from me and my enemy! I don't want to squander my blessing so I need knowledge and protection! Then last week we dealt with the theme of praise found in the 119. We discussed the "when" of our praise and said that even if it is midnight we should be praising. When did Ruth go to Boaz and get his attention? She laid down at his feet at midnight and it startled him. Her advance at midnight got his attention. If some of you would begin to praise at midnight it might just get God's attention! Have you gotten His attention this week with midnight praise? We need to get the ratio right 7 to 1! We talked about the "why" of praise. We praise because it is what we are created to do. We praise as an overflow of our life. Your mouth will not overflow with praise if your life doesn't overflow with praise. Finally we dealt with the "how" we praise. We should be willing praisers. No one should have to crank us up or work us up. When we operate from the reference that He is worthy and the reverence that when we gather He is in the room we become willing and attentive worshippers.
So now let's move to a section of the 119 that I wished I hadn't noticed. I wish David had not written three of the verses that he writes. I mean come on David you have written enough just leave this part out. But he didn't and by including these thoughts he teaches us a very important lesson and point of perspective by trying to teach his son how to navigate life
David had certainly endured some hardship up to this point in his life. Overlooked by his own father. Overlooked by the king. His father-in-law desired to kill him. His wife despises him. His best friend dies. He loses a child as judgment. His own son tries to orchestrate a mutiny against him. His history marked by bloodshed. He is unable to fulfill what he considers to be his lifelong dream and instead must simply resource an accomplishment he will never be able to enjoy. David was no stranger and in fact is the perfect person to speak to us on the concept of affliction. Of all the life lesson's he felt compelled to teach his son he could not gloss over, leave out or sugarcoat the reality of and experience of affliction.
David makes three very direct and powerful statements about pain and affliction. Let's break each of these statements down and learn today.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.
David is very clear . . . before affliction was introduced into the equation of his life he was wandering astray. As soon as pain was mixed in his attention was arrested and the hurt caused him to once again become obedient and compliant to the Word. Would to God that we were obedient and compliant before affliction but for most of us, including David a man after God's own heart this isn't the case! Anyone here ever discipline your child only to notice they are inclined after the discipline to obey better than they did before the discipline?