Thursday, January 2, 2014

Guide for Psalm 119

Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! 
Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. Psalm 119:5-6

photo credit 
For the next 22 days, my youth girls and myself will be reading through Psalm 119. Sounds like a long and tedious task, but dividing a reading plan from the stanzas is quite easy. Here's a guide to getting the most out of the longest Psalm!

From my NLT Study Bible:
This Psalm is a Hebrew acrostic poem; there are twenty-two stanzas, one for each successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each of the eight verses within each stanza begins with the Hebrew letter named in its heading. Psalm 119 combines elements of wisdom, lament, praise, thanksgiving, and confession. Eight Hebrew words are used frequently, translated as "instructions," "laws," "words," "regulations," "statues," "commands," "decrees," "commandments," and "promises." Together, these words encourage love for and obedience to God's instructions, as found in the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:14-17). The expression of deep commitment to these instructions unifies the psalm.

Aleph - Psalm 119:1-8
God the author of these instructions, commands that his followers live by them. The psalmist prays to be given the grace to live by that revelation.

Beth - Psalm 119:9-16
The psalmist is determined to pursue purity and encourages the cultivation of wisdom through God's principles (119:9) and instructions (119:10-16).

Gimel - Psalm 119:17-24
Like a foreigner in hostile territory, God's servant needs God's guidance.

Daleth - Psalm 119:25-32
Though the poet feels anguish and sorrow, he entreats the Lord to revive him because he wants to obey the Lord. Sufferings and death may result from the Lord's chastening, but his instruction revived the weary soul.

He - Psalm 119:33-40
As a student, the poet asks his teacher, God, to renew life and transform disgrace into righteousness.

Waw - Psalm 119:41-48
The Psalmist prays that God's word would continue to be the source of his love and salvation.

Zayin - Psalm 119:49-56
The psalmist asks God to remember his word as the psalmist also remembers God's word and his name. Remembrance expresses devotion.

Heth - Psalm 119: 57-64
The psalmist seeks God's favor and unfailing love. Although surrounded by evildoers, He remains a loyal servant to the Lord.

Teth - Psalm 119:65-72
The psalmist describes himself as a penitent sinner who gratefully accepts the Lord's discipline.

Yodh - Psalm 119:73-80
In this prayer for comfort and compassion, the psalmist commits himself to the Creator, who has afflicted him. He wants God to pay his enemies for the wrongs they have done. He also prays to receive the gift of life. He not only prays for himself but also considers the whole community of the godly, asking that God's answers to prayers would encourage them.

Kaph - Psalm 119:81-88
The psalmist is worn out from waiting for the Lord, but His hope is in God's future rescue.

Lamedh - Psalm 119:89-96
The stability of God's wisdom gives understanding. God's word provides order and framework for living, even under pressure from adversaries.

Mem - Psalm 119:97-104
The instruction and wisdom of God through his word are far superior to the best that human teachers can offer.

Nun - Psalm 119:105-112
The psalmist's devotion to God's word comes from within his being and guides his external life.

Samekh - Psalm 119:113-120
The psalmist declares his hatred of evil and his love for God and his ways.

Ayin - Psalm 119:121-128
The servant of the Lord strains to endure the evil around him. He boldly petitions the Lord to rescue Him immediately.

Pe - Psalm 119:129-136
The psalmist prays earnestly for God to speak to him as he suffers from his adversaries.

Tsadhe - Psalm 119:137-144
God is righteous, and his word is right and just, especially on contrast to the deceptions of the wicked.

Qoph - Psalm 119:145-152
The psalmist prays to the Lord at night. Although God God appears to be distant, he is nearby.

Resh - Psalm 119:153-160
The petition for life can be found throughout Psalm 119 but it is concentrated in this stanza.

Shin - Psalm 119:160-168
The psalmist looks beyond his adversaries to the peace of God. The perspective allows him to praise God throughout the day.

Taw - Psalm 119:169-176
God's servant petitions the Lord one final time; he still feels like a lost sheep.

Not only is this an easy guide to follow, but you will also learn the Hebrew alphabet. I am excited to uncover the wonderful truths found in Psalm 119. May you be greatly blessed and filled with the Spirit of God as you seek God's promises through this iddy-bitty and powerful Psalm.

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