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Psalm 119: An Introduction

by | May 1, 2018 | Blog, Prepare for Gathering, Worship

“That’s too much!” It was all I could think to say. And, it was true.

My girlfriend (now wife) and her family had surprised me with a present for my birthday – a Mel Blanc Lithograph that hangs in my office today.

The picture wasn’t priceless, but it was pricey, and I had wanted one for a long time. So, when I unwrapped my present that October, I remember being overwhelmed with gratitude and so happy to have been given such a remarkable gift.

Perhaps you have a gift that stands out like that in your mind. Maybe you recall the joy and excitement of that moment when you received a gift you will always remember.

Some gifts are treasures to us in ways that are hard to fully express.

The Psalms speak of God’s Word as a gift of great value (Psalm 19:10). Repeatedly, The Psalms describe God’s Word as a treasure given for our joy  The Blessed One of the Psalms meditates on it day and night (Psalm 1). By describing God’s Word as valuable and reminding us that it is useful, The Psalms paint God’s Word as central to our lives as followers of Jesus.

More specifically, Psalm 119 reminds us both that God’s Word is a treasure and that we find great joy in our humble obedience to what it says. Scattered throughout the 22 sections of this Psalm are prayers for the grace to obey coupled with the hope that our obedience allows us to experience this joy our hearts crave. Psalm 119 is careful to remind us that our obedience doesn’t merit this joy, but it is the gateway for our experience of it. The writer of this Psalm wants us to remember the value and pursue the usefulness of God’s Word.

Since God’s Word is valuable and useful, The Longest Psalm was written to be remembered. Each line of the twenty-two groupings begins with the same Hebrew letter. All so that we will find great joy as we humbly obey God’s Word.

Charles Spurgeon said this about Psalm 119

This sacred ode is a little Bible, the Scriptures condensed, a mass of Bibline, Holy Writ rewritten in holy emotions and actions. [T]his Psalm, like the whole Scripture which it praises, is a pearl island, or, better still, a garden of sweet flowers.

My hope is that this series would cause us to share Spurgeon’s affection for Psalm 119. I want us to see both that God’s Word is a gift to us and that great joy is found in our humble obedience to Him.


The Bible Project: Psalms – There are some great resources about The Psalms in general on this site. The Intro Video is worth your time to be sure.

The Treasury of David – This is CH Spurgeon’s classic resource on the Psalms. It’s rich even if the language is a bit dated.

Psalms – Derek Kidner – This is a good commentary for reading and studying the Psalms.

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