3 Introduction The longest chapter in the Bible A psalm about God’s word Intimidating at 176 versesPerhaps you’ve read the whole psalmBut have you spent time trying to understand what the psalm teaches?A psalm about God’s wordAlthough the specifics of God’s law have changed from the OT to the NTOur need for learning His law and obeying it has not changed (2 Tim 3:13-17)A study of this psalm should help us to have a deeper appreciation for God’s word
4 Acrostic poetryIn our lesson on Prov 31, we mentioned “acrostic poetry”An “acrostic poem” is one where each line or verse begins with a specific letter of the alphabet to make a pattern or phraseIn Prov 31:10-31, the pattern formed is the entire Hebrew alphabet in order (one letter per verse)The same pattern is found in Ps 25, 34, and 145Ps 111 and 112 have the same pattern but with one letter per linePs 9, 10, and 37 have the alphabetical order, but with each letter repeated twicePs 119 is also in alphabetical order, but with each letter repeated 8 times
5 Psalm 119 Look at Ps 119 Notice it is divided into 8 verse groupings Notice that each 8 verse group is headed by a Hebrew word (aleph, beth, gimel, etc)Each word is the name of the Hebrew letter that begins each of the following 8 versesBut each word is also a Hebrew word with a meaning of its own(“aleph” means “ox” and is a prefix meaning “strong, mighty”, “beth” means “house”, etc)Understanding the meaning of the word may help us better appreciate and understand each grouping
6 Aleph “ox”The first 8 verses are grouped under the word “aleph” and each verse begins with the letter aleph, א“Aleph” is the Hebrew word for an “ox”, it can also be used as a verb “to tame or learn”When attached to another word as a prefix, it means “strong, mighty”Oxen were used for plowing and haulingVery strong, steady (not over-excitable), but not very fastHow will that help us appreciate and understand verses 1-8?
7 Learning God’s Word Ps 119:1-8 If you walk the way without being defiledThe way is “the law of the LORD”To be undefiled is to be obedient and seek God with your whole heart (v2) (Jms 1:27)To walk the way is to not sin (v3) (1Jn 2:1-7)Knowing what is right does not mean it is easyThe psalmist wishes God would direct his stepsKeep him on the right path until he learns to do right and stay on the pathTo remember the group: picture an ox being trained by a strong hand to follow a given path
8 Beth “house”The second 8 verses are grouped under the word “beth” and each verse begins with the letter beth, ב“Beth” is the Hebrew word for “house”Familiar in place names like “Bethel” (‘house of God’) and “Bethlehem” (‘house of bread’)A house is a place of security and protectionFor children a place to prepare for the world before taking on all the challenges
9 The house of God’s word Ps 119:9-16 How can a child be prepared for life?Not just any life, but a pure, cleansed, secure lifeThe only answer is by spending a lot of time in God’s word (Prov 6:20-24)Learning and loving God’s laws, making a home for them in our hearts (Dt 6:1-9)Not only taking them in, but sharing themValuing them, rejoicing in them, meditating on themAll made easier with the active participation of others (like parents, church members)To remember this group: picture a child at home studying in preparation for growing up and going forth
10 Gimel “camel”The third 8 verses are grouped under the word “gimel” and each verse begins with the letter gimel, ג“Gimel” is the Hebrew word for “camel”; it can also be used as a verb “to treat well”The English word is just a corrupt transliterationCamels were used for travel through unfriendly environs
11 Journeying with God’s word Ps 119:17-24Starts “gimel” as a verb “deal bountifully” or “treat well”God has promised blessings for those who follow Him (Eph 1:3-6) (the oasis)If we’ll travel God’s way (live by His word; ride His camel), we need to look at all the wondersRealize life is a journey, long for the destinationYes, heaven is the last destination, but also long for the nearer destination of knowing and doing God’s willHeb 11:13-16; 1Pet 2:11, 1:17Stay on course no matter who or what (the desert of sin)Remember this grouping: picture yourself riding a camel through a desert
12 Conclusion God’s word contains so much to help us through life We need to be trained and guided by itWe need to be protected and prepared by itWe need to journey through life letting it carry us in the right way and past the dangersAnd as we go, we need to open our eyes and see all the wonderful things God has prepared for us
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