Summary: Psalm 119 (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Psalm chapter 119 verses 1-176.
Some say that this Psalm was written in a similar time as we live today.
• It was a time of religious scepticism.
• Many people doubted whether there was a God.
• Other people were jumping from one religious fad to another.
• It was a time when profanity ran rampant. It was a wicked and sinful period.
The psalmist was possibly a young man who lived in this hostile environment:
• We do not know the name of the man who wrote this psalm,
• Although the writer refers to himself many times throughout the Psalm.
• As you read the psalm, it becomes clear that he lived in an environment hostile to faith;
• And the things of God and that he faced daily rejection, slander and great opposition.
• But when he is confronted with this opposition;
• He tightens his grip on the Word of God. He never turns loose of it
A Father and his small son were out walking one day;
• When the lad asked how electricity;
• Could go through the wires stretched between the telephone poles.
• “I don’t know,” said his father.
• “I never knew much about electricity.”
• A few blocks farther on, the boy asked what caused lightning and thunder.
• “That too has puzzled me,” came the reply.
• The youngster continued to inquire about many things,
• None of which the father could explain.
• Finally, as they were nearing home, the boy said,
• “Dad, I hope you didn’t mind me asking all those questions.”
• “Not at all,” replied his father.
• “How else are you going to learn!”
• I hope we are going to learn this morning as we look at this Psalm:
• A special psalm:
A unique psalm:
• It is special Psalm in many ways; many of you probably know that;
• It is the longest Psalm (176 verses), & not surprising that it is the longest chapter in the Bible.
• It is also an acrostic Psalm;
• That means it follows the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
• If it were written in English it would start ‘A, B, C, D…..etc until Z.’
• Because it is Hebrew it reads ‘Aleph, Beth, Gimel…..untilTaw’.
• In most editions of the English Bible,
• The twenty-two sections (which each has eight verses) of this psalm
• Are headed by the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet;
• e.g. ‘Aleph, Beth, Gimel, etc’.
• In the Hebrew Bible, not the English;
• Each verse in each section also begins with the same Hebrew letter.
• e.g. All the verses in the "aleph" section (verses 1-8);
• Also begin with the Hebrew letter "aleph."
• This was probably done to help the readers memorize and meditate on God's Word.
• e.g. Preachers today often use illiteration (ill: person, place & problem).
(c). All but five verses mention the Word of God in one way or another.
• So if you get bored you can scan the passage and try to figure them out.
• Although if you really want know see me afterwards (84, 90, 121, 122, and 132)
• In fact ten different words are used to describe the word of God;
• ‘Word, law, saying, statutes, way, commandments, path, testimonies, precepts, judgements’
• Each of those ten names indicates what the word is;
• And how we should respond to it.
(d). God is referred to in every verse.
• If you scan the psalm just note how many times the words ‘you’ or ‘your’ are used.
• And also note how many personnel references are recorded; such as ‘I’ and ‘me’.
• The main point of the this Psalm is not just about the ‘word’;
• But the relationship between people and God through the word!
• The very last verse of the Psalm is a good illustration of this.
• Quote: verse 176:
“I have wondered away like a lost sheep;
come and find me,
for I have not forgotten your commands”.
The aim of the Bible (and therefore this Psalm):
• Is not just that you may know about God.
• It is that you may know him personally.
Obviously we are not going to look at the Psalm verse by verse:
• Time will not allow;
• Ill: Preacher & watch ‘Hit me again, I can still hear him!’
• I want this morning to divide it under three headings;
• And pull out some, to select a few verses to illustrate a particular point.
• But of course at home you can read it through in its entirety!
• Ill: Gospel gems calendar ‘For greater blessing read the chapter’.
(A). What the Bible Is.