I once tried to memorize Psalm 119. I think I actually made it to around verse 64 before I gave up. That was years ago, so I can’t recite it now, but I’m sure it’s tucked away in an archived file in my brain somewhere!
This psalm is unique, in that it consists of 22 sections, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and each verse in the section begins with that letter. We don’t see this in our English translations. The theme of the psalm is clear: the value and supremacy of the Word of God. Scholars believe the content was written (most likely by David) over a period of time and assembled together later in the acrostic form. I love how this commentator describes it:
The sections and verses are not like a chain, where one link is connected to the other, but like a string of pearls where each pearl has equal, but independent value.
A string of pearls…such an apt description!
In reading it this morning, I made a quick list, writing down one or two things from each section about the value of the word of God in a believer’s life. A person who reads, studies, meditates, believes, and acts on the truth of God’s Word can experience the following.
1 – God’s Word brings blessing (v. 1-2)
2 – God’s Word keeps us from sin (v. 9-11)
3 – God’s Word reveals wonderful things (v. 18)
4 – God’s Word strengthens us (v. 25)
5 – God’s Word produces reverence for God (v. 38)
6 – God’s Word gives us an answer for our enemies (v. 42)
7 – God’s Word gives us hope (v. 49)
8 – God’s Word brings God’s favor (v. 58)
9 – God’s Word gives us discernment and knowledge (v. 66)
10 – God’s Word gives us understanding and keeps us from being ashamed (v. 73,80)
11 – God’s Word brings comfort (v. 81-82)
12 – God’s Word brings delight in our afflictions (v. 92)
13 – God’s Word makes us wiser than our enemies, and gives us more insight than our teachers (v. 98-99)
14 – God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, keeping us from the enemy’s snares (v. 105-111)
15 – God’s Word sustains us, keeps us safe, and teaches us a proper fear of God (v. 116-120)
16 – God’s Word gives us understanding and teaches us to hate sin (v. 125-128)
17 – God’s Word keeps sin from having dominion over us (v. 130)
18 – God’s Word shows us what is pure, true, and righteous (v. 140-144)
19 – God’s Word causes us to experience the nearness of God as we meditate on it (v. 148,151)
20 – God’s Word revives us (v. 154-159)
21 – God’s Word gives us peace, and nothing will cause us to stumble (v. 165)
22 – God’s Word causes us to praise Him, and it is God’s way of coming after us when we go astray (v. 175-176)
That’s an amazing list, and I barely scratched the surface. Whenever you doubt the power of God’s Word, read this psalm. It will encourage you to cling to God’s Word as your only source of truth, inspire you to study it more deeply to dig out the treasures that God wants to reveal about Himself, and motivate you to align your life to its precepts more fully.
P.S. My favorite section is verses 97-104. What’s yours?