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Summary: Psalm 119 (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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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

Ill:

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:

(a).

• 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.

(b).

• It is also an acrostic Psalm;

• That means it follows the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

Ill:

• 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!

Ill:

• 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.

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