Psalm 119:34

Psalm 119:34

“Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.”

The Psalmist here is asking for not only education, but knowledge that allows for a change. This change includes desires, thoughts, actions, and words. The one who knows their needs for understanding, and recognizes their own limits, is the one who will get it. This is so important for Christians to grasp, and is an important mark of someone who is saved.

Psalm 119:33

Psalm 119:33

“Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.”

Knowing what God’s word says is not enough. We need to grow in wisdom so we can apply it to our lives. This is a major way in which Christians grow in spiritual maturity. Becoming wiser in living out the Word of God in our everyday lives demonstrates that God’s Holy Spirit is in us. This is the fruit that Jesus describes in Matthew 13 in the parable of the sower.

So how do we get to this point? Certainly through prayer and bible study, but also through having our lives overlap with those who are most mature in the faith. This is why the local church is so important. The local church is like an assurance of salvation co-op, but isolation from fellowship is extremely dangerous, and makes living out the “one another” commands in scripture virtually impossible.

Do you feel like you haven’t been growing? Then try to intentionally spend time with those who you see as more wise than you. You will become very much like the people you spend the most time around. And if you are wise, you’ll seek those who are more mature than you, with an interest to understand what they understand.

Psalm 119:32

Psalm 119:32

“I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!”

When our hearts are set free from the cramping constraint of trouble and anxiety, we’ll use our freedom for energetic service to the Lord. Our desires expand to eternal ones when we truly consider the truth of the gospel, and the personal implications for us each day. We have been given far more than we deserve. The creator of all things has set His affection on us, and is working all things out for our spiritual good. Therefore, we have nothing to fear, and no need for worry. We can run, because our hearts have been enlarged, and our eyes fixed on the reality of our salvation.

Psalm 119:31

Psalm 119:31

“I cling to your testimonies, O Lord; let me not be put to shame!”

There is a cost to following Christ. This is a concept seen throughout scripture, and church history proves that it is true. In our day, a watered down gospel has been offered, with promises of your best life now, with no suffering, perfect health, and abundant wealth. And if you simply take a few seconds to ponder not only your own life, but the lives of every single Christian in the history of the world, these ideas are utter nonsense.

Obedience to the Lord will undoubtedly lead to suffering, difficulties, and trials. Clinging to His word is much harder than the default action of clinging to our selfish desires. The cost of taking up our cross and following the Lord is great. We will make decisions that seem bizarre to the world, and engage in conversations which are awkward. But, those costs are much more valuable eternally than being but to shame by fear of man and a love of the world.

Psalm 119:30

Psalm 119:30

“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me”

Those who truly know the ways of the Lord, desire to know Him more, and love Him better. This knowledge and love must be connected to His word though. Knowledge and love outside of His word will not result in an accurate faithfulness. In other words, we’ll be faithfully thinking, saying, and doing things that aren’t aligned with Christian truth.

Setting God’s rules before us simply means that we put them in the front of our minds as a guide of our conduct. We make them the aim of our life. This again takes work to understand His word, and humility as we ask for help from other, more mature saints. Much learning can take place by observing and listening to other believers who are wise.

Psalm 119:29

Psalm 119:29

“Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law.”

One of the most spiritually dangerous places in the world is the American Bible Belt. Inoculation to the gospel, the self-help gospel, and the health and wealth gospel all are very popular. However, these are all false ways that we are supposed to put far from us. But, how are we to know what’s true? These things all sound good, and often have bible verses woven in.

We need to ask the Lord to teach us His law. Studying God’s word in the context of the entire whole of scripture as well as the entire passage is extremely important. Pulling individual verses out of context to suit our needs is very common, and many popular teachers today do this.

Here is a quick test to see if what you’re being taught is true. If the “Christian” church or the “Christian” teacher you follow promises a better life now with no suffering, you need to run away as fast as you can. This is not a concept found anywhere in scripture, and what you are being fed by this person is simply false.

Psalm 119:28

Psalm 119:28

“My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!”

“Melts” is better translated “weeps.” Therefore, what is being conveyed is an overflow of tears from the soul. Every authentic believer understands this because we’ve all been there. An overwhelming sense of our own sin. And if you have come to Christ for any other reason, you’ve been sold a gospel that’s man-made.

Thus the need for the second part of this verse. We must be strengthened according to God’s word. Turning to the great hope we have in Christ, through repentance and faith, is a must. Wallowing in self-pity and despair because of our sin is not what the Lord calls us to do. Turning to Him, putting our hope in Him, and depending on Him is what our sin should drive us to do.

Psalm 119:27

Psalm 119:27

“Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.”

The Psalmist is petitioning God for a deeper grasp of the practical meaning of His word. Blind obedience is not ideal. Following the Lord because we know His ways are better brings him glory, and us satisfaction.

This is not a request to better understand prophecies and mysteries not revealed in God’s word. The precepts referenced are the everyday steps taken to live out scripture. Notice the importance of chewing on these ways of the Lord. Mediation on tiny bits of God’s word can be very fruitful, and gives us the proper perspective of our smallness and His bigness.

Psalm 119:26

Psalm 119:26

“When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes!”

These ways could be the right steps desired to be taken in obedience, or the wrong steps being lamented. Either way, the Psalmist is pouring out his heart, and acknowledging his need for the Lord. He asks to be taught, and shows humility. This is important for us, even if we’ve been walking with the Lord for a while. We still need to learn. We still need to be taught, and we will not “arrive” at a point where we know enough.

Psalm 119:25

Psalm 119:25

“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!”

There is no hope outside of Christ. Our souls groan with the desire for something more, but there isn’t anything or anyone who can satisfy us other than God in Christ. Despair, depression, and disappointment are very powerful. We all are prone to it, even Christians. Even more reason to depend totally on the Lord, specifically on His word.

Preaching His word to ourselves is a very practical way to battle the 24/7 spiritual war. Notice how often you listen to your own thoughts. It is almost constant. And, if we are not preaching to ourselves, and reminding ourselves of God’s word, this can be very harmful spiritually. If we are not vigilant, the voice we hear will be filled with unbelief, pride, and selfishness. This inherently breeds a fear of man. But, God’s word provides an eternal perspective, and declares His bigness and our smallness. With His word comes a humility and dependency on Him, and not on ourselves. This gives life and is what the Psalmist is talking about in this verse.