Updated: Apr 29, 2020
“Deal bountifully with your servant” the writer proclaims. I love how the writer boldly asks for a blessing, but comes to God in humility as he uses the phrase, “Your servant.” He demonstrates that he believes God blesses His people in big ways and he recognizes his total dependence on God. I would also like us to notice the reason he asks for blessings: “that I may live and keep your word.” This a wonderful God honoring prayer. It reminds me of Solomon, who could have asked God for anything, but asked Him for wisdom. God was very pleased with Solomon’s prayer and blessed him richly for it. I imagine He blessed the Psalmist as well. Next, in verse 18, he writes “open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from your law.” He recognized without God’s work in the enlightenment, he couldn’t see. The idea that is being portrayed here is the removing of a veil, or a covering. It’s not the Word of God that needs changing. It was the Psalmist eyes that needed to be opened. There are wondrous things from the Bible but we can often only see them with God’s help. I don’t know about you but there have been many times I have set down to study and it felt like I was reading Chinese. It wasn’t until I read, re-read, and prayed for wisdom and guidance or sought out help from trusted sources that I was able to understand certain passages. Sometimes prayer is my last step, when it should be my first. Prayer is so important when it comes to Bible study. It’s good at times to seek out commentaries, etc. But it is so vital to wrestle with God in prayer and ask, “open my eyes that I may see.” It reminds me of Jacob when he was wrestling with the angel back in Genesis 32:22-31 and he says, “I will not let go until you bless me!” Do not let go when studying seems hard. Hold on and keep fighting for understanding. It is so worth it in the end! Moving on, next in verse 19 he writes, “I am a stranger in the earth,” and in verse 19 we have somewhat of the same request we saw in verse 18, but it’s said for a different reason. He wants to know and keep Gods word because He recognizes the earth is not his home. It seems as though he is thinking to himself, “all these people around me are living for things I don’t want to live for, I just want to live to glorify God.” Ever felt like that? I know I have. I once felt as if everyone around me was asleep and I had finally woken up to the truth. Until I started meeting other Christians. It was lonely and still lonely at times, but God provided comfort as He always does, especially through women like you in this group! He goes on to say, “My soul breaks for longing for your judgments.” His soul longed for God’s word because he realized he is a stranger on earth. Those who feel totally at home in this world often to do not get excited about the Word of God. But those of us who feel like strangers daily, who realize our real world is in heaven, rely deeply on these words. In verse 21 he states the “Lord rebukes the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.” He mentions the Lord rebukes the proud. The scary thing is that pride can present itself differently among people. It is important to remember that this is something we still struggle with even if we are Christians. I think as Christians we need to be careful not to become too “proud” in our walks with Christ. I have seen people get to a point in their walks where they stop learning and growing because they feel they have all the knowledge they need. Or who constantly study and teach on the same passages over and over and leave out other books of the Bible. Or are very quick to point out the error in others while totally blind to their own. We absolutely do not need to be perfect in order to teach and spread the Gospel, but we must remember that Christianity is a life-long journey and we are still life long-learners. A key component in not erring from the commandments of the Lord is to be constantly searching in humility, studying with an open heart, and applying even when it is uncomfortable. Moving on in verse 22, the writer pleads with the Lord to remove reproach and contempt from him. I looked those words up and reproach means: “to express disapproval or disappointment” and contempt means, “a person is beneath consideration or worthless.” In the next part of the verse he shows how and why these things should be removed, “for I have kept your testimonies.” When we are covered by the blood of Jesus, and striving to keep the testimonies of the Lord, we can boldly approach Him and ask for a request like this. He will provide, but there will still be times when others look at us with reproach and contempt. Moving on in verse 23, we see the psalmist demonstrating how to overcome being gossiped about while living the godly life. He writes, “Princes also sit and speak against me, but your servant meditates on Your statutes.” It is easy to become obsessed with what people are saying about us, but so much freedom is found when we leave that burden on the Lord and decide to meditate on and trust Him to handle it instead. Many people will live for approval, but it’s been said, “if you live for the approval of others, you will die by their rejection.” Thriving off compliments, hoping people will say nice things about you, will only fulfill you for so long. Many people live for this, they long for it and if they are spoken ill of by other people, it crushes them. I know because, I used to be one of them! But notice the writers attitude: even in the midst of a bad place of being misunderstood and spoken ill of, he understood that God’s word is able to lift him up and he places his trust in God to handle it. At the end of this stanza, he finds his delight and counsel in the Word. Let us do the same. Are you delighting in the Word this week? Let’s see those handwritten and marked up Scriptures in the comment section!
When I write out verses, I think back to the Old Testament when the Kings had to write out their own copy of the Law (Deut 17:18). I wonder how long that would have taken? Yet I find myself struggling to write out a few a week haha! Remember, if you stick with us, at the end of this, you will have written 176 verses!
Don't forget about our new Psalm 119 tool that helps you work through these verses! You can print it here.
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