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Summary: Do we rely on God in our service to Him? Or do we try to do things on our own? Here the psalmist gives us a template of how we must know and understand that we rely on God... that we will fail on our own, and we must go to God and ask Him to equip us and


November 9, 2011

Oak Park Baptist Church – Wednesday Bible Study Series

Psalm 119:33-40 (ESV) – 5 of 22

As we come to this passage (33-40) we find the psalmist asking God to provide several things for him… but not for his edification, but to equip Him to be the leader God wants him to become. The first thing the psalmist asks for in this section is found in v.33…

33Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.

The word ‘statutes’ here represents the Hebrew word khoke (HOKE) which represents things written by God but they are NOT direct references to the specific Law of God but they hover around the SPIRIT of the Law, not necessarily the letter of the Law!

The psalmist asks God to “Teach me…” and this is a direct request TO God for His intervention into the life of the psalmist… so that he can serve God in a more rich and fulfilled manner.

Teach…the Hebrew word yah-rah which means to teach or point out information, but lends itself to ‘showing one the way’… pointing them in the right direction. Almost a sense of ‘show me’ how it’s done Lord…

The ‘way’ of your statutes… deh-rek which means path or road, but also lends itself to a specific direction on the road… instead of take I-55 it would mean take I-55 SOUTH…

But in this context this is not referring to a direction on the compass, but the direction of the life of the individual, which are their manner of living, their habits, the ways of their life… quite literally the COURSE of their life.

So what the Psalmist is asking of God is for God to point out to him… to guide him in the manner God would want him to live, to point out the manner in which he should be living… so it is not only WHAT, but HOW…

After the psalmist request, he gives an attitude of confirmation on his part that promises his personal action on what God reveals to him… He says that he will ‘keep’ it to the end… the word translated as ‘keep’ is the Hebrew word nhat-zar which means: to preserve, to observe, to guard with fidelity. It references something that is to be kept close, and it also indicates that the psalmist desires to become a watchman of what he learns from God so that he can teach it to others…

34Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.

In this verse we see the psalmist continue his requests to God, he says “Give me understanding…” Now this actually one Hebrew word bene’ that means to receive perception or understanding about a matter, and the implication is that it is being given FROM one with understanding TO one without understanding…

The psalmists request here is a confession of his lack of perception or discernment when it comes to the Law of God… He is asking God to give him this discernment… and his request is for a purpose… He admits his shortcomings and need of God’s intervention in the fact that he lacks understanding and he asks for that understanding because…

He wants to observe and adhere to the Law God has set forth… the words here in this verse are ‘keep’ Hebrew shaw-mar’ which is similar but is actually a different word that is translated as ‘keep’ in the previous verse…

This particular word that is translated as ‘keep’ means to take heed, to beware of, to keep oneself guarded, to keep or pay heed to something or someone… a sense of preservation

Then the palmist also uses the same word he had used in the previous verse which is the Hebrew word naht-zar’ but this time it is not translated as ‘keep’ but it is translated as ‘observe’ … a sense of being fully committed to guarding an observance and use of a thing... of keeping a thing close to the heart. The context of the verses gives us a clear indication of the psalmist’s desire and that is to become a truly committed guardian of what God allows him to discern or perceive.

This is made even MORE clear with the last words of the verse ‘with my whole heart…’ this phrase carries with it a sense of TOTALITY and while translated as ‘heart’ the word here is the Hebrew word ‘lehv’ which represents the ‘seat of the emotions’ for the Hebrew person. This is often translates as ‘bowels’ to give the picture of a person’s INNERMOST parts!

In Western society, when we speak of the ‘seat of emotions’ we use the metaphor of the heart to illustrate… but this was how the Hebrews related this concept when the psalmist was living… this is more of Mediterranean basin concept…but the ‘heart’ is a good alternate metaphor, thus this is why it is translated as ‘heart’ in this passage!

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