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Monday, June 4, 2012

Psalm Sunday

It's been a while but I haven't forgotten! I hope you haven't either!

It's Psalm Sunday! Each Sunday I'll continue posting the next step of the Psalm Journey until it is completed. To read any Psalm in full, click on its name. To read other Psalm Sunday posts, click 'The Psalm Journey' tab above. Below I've provided one verse that stood out for one reason or another, and then do a brief reflection on the psalm. 

Palm 119! The longest Psalm of all, so I figured it should be its own week.

When I pulled up the Psalm to study, I discovered it's an acrostic. I think I knew that at one time, but I had forgotten. However, that also helped me decide how I was going to structure this. I'm responding to each section of the acrostic as a whole, just as I would respond to a whole Psalm.

I've decided to copy and paste the Psalm here, and my responses are in bold.

א Alef

How happy are those whose way is blameless,
who live according to the Lord’s instruction!
Happy are those who keep His decrees
and seek Him with all their heart.
They do nothing wrong;
they follow His ways.
You have commanded that Your precepts
be diligently kept.
If only my ways were committed
to keeping Your statutes!
Then I would not be ashamed
when I think about all Your commands.
I will praise You with a sincere heart
when I learn Your righteous judgments.
I will keep Your statutes;
never abandon me. 

I love how the Psalmist is humble enough to say "if only my ways were committed"!
Makes me relate to this segment very much. I know God wants me to obey and
follow Him, but I often fail and must rely on His grace and promises to aid me.

ב Bet

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping Your word.
I have sought You with all my heart;
don’t let me wander from Your commands.
I have treasured Your word in my heart
so that I may not sin against You.
Lord, may You be praised;
teach me Your statutes.
With my lips I proclaim
all the judgments from Your mouth.
I rejoice in the way revealed by Your decrees
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts
and think about Your ways.
I will delight in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.

Pretty sure this goes for young women as well! God, give me a studious heart for the Truths available only from You, and guard and guide me that I may not sin against You.

ג Gimel

Deal generously with Your servant
so that I might live;
then I will keep Your word.
Open my eyes so that I may contemplate
wonderful things from Your instruction.
I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide Your commands from me.
I am continually overcome
with longing for Your judgments.
You rebuke the proud,
the ones under a curse,
who wander from Your commands.
Take insult and contempt away from me,
for I have kept Your decrees.
Though princes sit together speaking against me,
Your servant will think about Your statutes;
Your decrees are my delight
and my counselors. 

"I am a stranger on earth; do not hide Your commands from me" This is very in keeping with the theme of this blog! After all my pen name is Singing Pilgrim on here because it's to remind me that I am just passing through this world, and should be rejoicing in Him on the Way. I hope He keeps my eyes open.

ד Dalet

My life is down in the dust;
give me life through Your word.
I told You about my life,
and You listened to me;
teach me Your statutes.
Help me understand
the meaning of Your precepts
so that I can meditate on Your wonders.
I am weary from grief;
strengthen me through Your word.
Keep me from the way of deceit
and graciously give me Your instruction.
I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set Your ordinances before me.
I cling to Your decrees;
Lord, do not put me to shame.
I pursue the way of Your commands,
for You broaden my understanding.

Broadening our understanding so that we can grasp more of Him is what He gives to His friends. (John 15) A trait of God is that He reveals His thoughts to man (Amos 4:13)

ה He

Teach me, Lord, the meaning of Your statutes,
and I will always keep them
Help me understand Your instruction,
and I will obey it
and follow it with all my heart.
Help me stay on the path of Your commands,
for I take pleasure in it.
Turn my heart to Your decrees
and not to material gain.
Turn my eyes
from looking at what is worthless;
give me life in Your ways.
Confirm what You said to Your servant,
for it produces reverence for You.
Turn away the disgrace I dread;
indeed, Your judgments are good.
How I long for Your precepts!
Give me life through Your righteousness.

 Yes! Help us to turn away from what isn't yours. I feel so blessed to know what the psalmist doesn't yet, that Jesus is the Way, and He gives us life through His righteousness at the cross!

ו Vav

Let Your faithful love come to me, Lord,
Your salvation, as You promised.
Then I can answer the one who taunts me,
for I trust in Your word.
Never take the word of truth from my mouth,
for I hope in Your judgments.
I will always obey Your instruction,
forever and ever.
I will walk freely in an open place
because I seek Your precepts.
I will speak of Your decrees before kings
and not be ashamed.
I delight in Your commands,
which I love.
I will lift up my hands to Your commands,
which I love,
and will meditate on Your statutes. 

Yes, salvation has come!  He is our faithful love! Let us seek your precepts, the very thoughts of your holy mind, the words of your holy lips, and live on them.

ז Zayin

Remember Your word to Your servant;
You have given me hope through it.
This is my comfort in my affliction:
Your promise has given me life.
The arrogant constantly ridicule me,
but I do not turn away from Your instruction.
Lord, I remember Your judgments from long ago
and find comfort.
Rage seizes me because of the wicked
who reject Your instruction.
Your statutes are the theme of my song
during my earthly life.
Yahweh, I remember Your name in the night,
and I obey Your instruction.
This is my practice:
I obey Your precepts. 

Let me so follow you, let me always remember you.

ח Khet

The Lord is my portion;
I have promised to keep Your words.
I have sought Your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to Your promise.
I thought about my ways
and turned my steps back to Your decrees.
I hurried, not hesitating
to keep Your commands.
Though the ropes of the wicked
were wrapped around me,
I did not forget Your instruction.
I rise at midnight to thank You
for Your righteous judgments.
I am a friend to all who fear You,
to those who keep Your precepts.
Lord, the earth is filled with Your faithful love;
teach me Your statutes. 

What discipline the psalmist has! God give me more discipline and may I always be a friend to my brothers and sisters "those who keep Your precepts."

ט Tet

Lord, You have treated Your servant well,
just as You promised.
Teach me good judgment and discernment,
for I rely on Your commands.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep Your word.
You are good, and You do what is good;
teach me Your statutes.
The arrogant have smeared me with lies,
but I obey Your precepts with all my heart.
Their hearts are hard and insensitive,
but I delight in Your instruction.
It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I could learn Your statutes.
Instruction from Your lips is better for me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

"It was good for me to afflicted so that I could learn Your statues". Help me and my readers remember that the purpose of this life is not happiness or worldly success, but holiness and knowing you (which are intimately connected). Help us thus be thankful for that which is not easy but according to your sovereign nature and your scriptures is for your good.

י Yod

Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding
so that I can learn Your commands.
Those who fear You will see me and rejoice,
for I put my hope in Your word.
I know, Lord, that Your judgments are just
and that You have afflicted me fairly.
May Your faithful love comfort me
as You promised Your servant.
May Your compassion come to me
so that I may live,
for Your instruction is my delight.
Let the arrogant be put to shame
for slandering me with lies;
I will meditate on Your precepts.
Let those who fear You,
those who know Your decrees, turn to me.
May my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes
so that I will not be put to shame.

God, you know how this exactly fits what you are teaching me now! I praise your sovereignty, how you decided this week I would study what I'm studying in different locations and also it would be the week I do Psalm 119! God, you are amazing. I love you.

כ Kaf

I long for Your salvation;
I put my hope in Your word.
My eyes grow weary
looking for what You have promised;
I ask, “When will You comfort me?”
Though I have become like a wineskin dried by smoke,
I do not forget Your statutes.
How many days must Your servant wait?
When will You execute judgment on my persecutors?
The arrogant have dug pits for me;
they violate Your instruction.
All Your commands are true;
people persecute me with lies—help me!
They almost ended my life on earth,
but I did not abandon Your precepts.
Give me life in accordance with Your faithful love,
and I will obey the decree You have spoken.

"like a wineskin dried by smoke" What imagery! The psalmist is talking of the agony of waiting. But we know that waiting on the Lord is good and a righteous work.

ל Lamed

Lord, Your word is forever;
it is firmly fixed in heaven.
Your faithfulness is for all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands firm.
They stand today in accordance with Your judgments,
for all things are Your servants.
If Your instruction had not been my delight,
I would have died in my affliction.
I will never forget Your precepts,
for You have given me life through them.
I am Yours; save me,
for I have sought Your precepts.
The wicked hope to destroy me,
but I contemplate Your decrees.
I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but Your command is without limit.

God is bigger than all of which we conceive. God, give me a heart to meditate on your word and the revelations you give to man. You are so generous to love us and include us in your plans. I love you.

מ Mem

How I love Your instruction!
It is my meditation all day long.
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
for they are always with me.
I have more insight than all my teachers
because Your decrees are my meditation.
I understand more than the elders
because I obey Your precepts.
I have kept my feet from every evil path
to follow Your word.
I have not turned from Your judgments,
for You Yourself have instructed me.
How sweet Your word is to my taste—
sweeter than honey in my mouth.
I gain understanding from Your precepts;
therefore I hate every false way. 

This is interesting because it sounds kind of arrogant... but the psalmist is probably just being truthful. Wisdom is from the Lord, so if you mediate on the Bible, and pray, the Spirit should open you to wisdom.

נ Nun

Your word is a lamp for my feet
and a light on my path.
I have solemnly sworn
to keep Your righteous judgments.
I am severely afflicted;
Lord, give me life through Your word.
Lord, please accept my willing offerings of praise,
and teach me Your judgments.
My life is constantly in danger,
yet I do not forget Your instruction.
The wicked have set a trap for me,
but I have not wandered from Your precepts.
I have Your decrees as a heritage forever;
indeed, they are the joy of my heart.
I am resolved to obey Your statutes
to the very end.

You do give us life through your word! You do give us a lamp unto our feet! Be the joy of our hearts!

ס Samek

I hate those who are double-minded,
but I love Your instruction.
You are my shelter and my shield;
I put my hope in Your word.
Depart from me, you evil ones,
so that I may obey my God’s commands.
Sustain me as You promised, and I will live;
do not let me be ashamed of my hope.
Sustain me so that I can be safe
and always be concerned about Your statutes.
You reject all who stray from Your statutes,
for their deceit is a lie.
You remove all the wicked on earth
as if they were dross;
therefore, I love Your decrees.
I tremble in awe of You;
I fear Your judgments.

The psalmist wrote this without doing it from the perspective of having the indwelling Holy Spirit in Him, helping Him even when He is with the evil ones. Not that I'm saying we shouldn't flee bad influences when we are weak, but the Spirit helps us draw near to God in every situation.

ע Ayin

I have done what is just and right;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
Guarantee Your servant’s well-being;
do not let the arrogant oppress me.
My eyes grow weary looking for Your salvation
and for Your righteous promise.
Deal with Your servant based on Your faithful love;
teach me Your statutes.
I am Your servant; give me understanding
so that I may know Your decrees.
It is time for the Lord to act,
for they have violated Your instruction.
Since I love Your commands
more than gold, even the purest gold,
I carefully follow all Your precepts
and hate every false way. 

We are so blessed to live at a time when we know of God's salvation and His righteous promise. We are partakers of this amazing blessing!

פ Pe

Your decrees are wonderful;
therefore I obey them.
The revelation of Your words brings light
and gives understanding to the inexperienced.
I open my mouth and pant
because I long for Your commands.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is Your practice toward those who love Your name.
Make my steps steady through Your promise;
don’t let any sin dominate me.
Redeem me from human oppression,
and I will keep Your precepts.
Show favor to Your servant,
and teach me Your statutes.
My eyes pour out streams of tears
because people do not follow Your instruction.

Yes God, steady our steps and do not let any sin dominate us. You are our redeemer, and let us love Your name.

צ Tsade

You are righteous, Lord,
and Your judgments are just.
The decrees You issue are righteous
and altogether trustworthy.
My anger overwhelms me
because my foes forget Your words.
Your word is completely pure,
and Your servant loves it.
I am insignificant and despised,
but I do not forget Your precepts.
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
and Your instruction is true.
Trouble and distress have overtaken me,
but Your commands are my delight.
Your decrees are righteous forever.
Give me understanding, and I will live.

My heart knows this cry and this feeling, relying on the Lord.

ק Qof

I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord.
I will obey Your statutes.
I call to You; save me,
and I will keep Your decrees.
I rise before dawn and cry out for help;
I put my hope in Your word.
I am awake through each watch of the night
to meditate on Your promise.
In keeping with Your faithful love, hear my voice.
Lord, give me life in keeping with Your justice.
Those who pursue evil plans come near;
they are far from Your instruction.
You are near, Lord,
and all Your commands are true.
Long ago I learned from Your decrees
that You have established them forever. 

Have you cried out to God? You can place it all in His hands and trust Him, no matter the burden.

ר Resh

Consider my affliction and rescue me,
for I have not forgotten Your instruction.
Defend my cause and redeem me;
give me life as You promised.
Salvation is far from the wicked
because they do not seek Your statutes.
Your compassions are many, Lord;
give me life according to Your judgments.
My persecutors and foes are many.
I have not turned from Your decrees.
I have seen the disloyal and feel disgust
because they do not keep Your word.
Consider how I love Your precepts;
Lord, give me life according to Your faithful love.
The entirety of Your word is truth,
and all Your righteous judgments endure forever. 

You are compassionate and life giving, with faithful love! You are truthful and just, your love endures forever! I love you, Lord.

Sin/ שׁ Shin

Princes have persecuted me without cause,
but my heart fears only Your word.
I rejoice over Your promise
like one who finds vast treasure.
I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love Your instruction.
I praise You seven times a day
for Your righteous judgments.
Abundant peace belongs to those
who love Your instruction;
nothing makes them stumble.
Lord, I hope for Your salvation
and carry out Your commands.
I obey Your decrees
and love them greatly.
I obey Your precepts and decrees,
for all my ways are before You. 

The psalmist has zeal for the Lord, huh? Awesome! I want to burn with passion and love for Him, to give all willingly for Him, for He is too worthy for less.

ת Tav

Let my cry reach You, Lord;
give me understanding according to Your word.
Let my plea reach You;
rescue me according to Your promise.
My lips pour out praise,
for You teach me Your statutes.
My tongue sings about Your promise,
for all Your commands are righteous.
May Your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen Your precepts.
I long for Your salvation, Lord,
and Your instruction is my delight.
Let me live, and I will praise You;
may Your judgments help me.
I wander like a lost sheep;
seek Your servant,
for I do not forget Your commands.

"I long for Your salvation, LORD" "I wander like a lost sheep" O, darling brother or sister, don't you see that this is a Psalm of anticipation of our dear Lord Jesus and the gospel? How blessed we are! --This humbles me and shows me how grateful I should be that the Lord chose to create me for the time in which He did so, so that I can be one with Him and know Him through the sacrifice of the cross.

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