Psalm 119: A Tribute to the Word of God
“ Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
( Psalm 119: 11 KJV)
There may not be a better tribute to the Holy Scriptures than the one that is provided in Psalm 119. Every verse in Psalm 119 exalts the Word of God and the God of Word. This psalm has been called the “Mount Everest of the Psalms” and every verse mentions and exalts God. In these one hundred seventy-six verses, all but five verse reference the Word of God. In this psalm the writer expresses his appreciation for the goodness, mercies, severity, faithfulness, righteousness, and character of God, and in so doing stands in awe of the Word of God (Psalm 119:161). The writer of this psalm is unknown, although many claim that David was the original writer, however, ultimately the writer of this great chapter is the Holy Spirit, as all Scripture is inspired of God (2 Tim. 3:16). The composition of the one hundred seventy-six verses can be broken down into twentytwo sections, with each section beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and each section having eight verses.
In this great tribute to the Word of God there are at least ten words that are used to describe the Word of God, and numerous commentators have pointed out and defined these terms. (1) Testimonies are defined as “beyond, farther, all along, to bear witness.” They are styled as testimonies because they are solemnly declared to the world. (2) Commandments mean “to command, order, or ordain.” Jehovah's commandments are given with authority and lodged with us as a trust, providing for us the boundaries of obedience and submission to divine charges. (3) Precepts are defined as “to take notice or care of a thing, to attend, have respect to, to appoint, to visit.” These precepts constitute the
Continued on Page 5
‘A Minute with the Minister’’
Jeremy Thornton JEREMY THORNTON (cont.)
is defined as “to discourse, utter one's sentiments, speak consecutively and intelligently. Any and all declarations from deity may be styled as God's Word. (5)
is “to direct, guide, teach, make straight, or to point forward.” God's Law shows
means “to proceed, go on, walk, or tread.” In God's Word is provided us a way in which to live as God has prescribed. (7) Truth means “to make steady, constant, to settle, trust, believe.” God's Word is indeed truth, as He cannot lie (Heb. 6:18). (8) Judgments mean “to judge, determine, regulate, order, and discern.” It is by God's Word that all will be judged and by His judgments (His Word) we may be able to determine right and wrong. (9)
Righteousness means “to do justice, to give full weight. In order to be righteous, we must give to God that which is due Him. (10) Statutes mean “to mark, trace out, describe, and ordain. In God's statutes we have marked out the way we should walk.
Throughout this psalm there are several themes that are found. The first of which is the “heart.” Those that keep the testimonies of God and seek Him with the whole heart are blessed (v. 2). The Word should be hidden in the heart in order to keep one from sin (v.
11). God's Word should be observed with the whole heart (v.34). The precepts of God are kept in the heart (v.69). All of these verses are not referring to the organ that pumps blood through our bodies but rather referring to the intellect, emotions, and conscience of man.
Another theme that is found throughout the chapter is the “Power of the Word.” There are at least ten verse that refer to the quickening (life giving) power of the Word. The human body is frail and decays, but the one that delights in God's Word, and keeps the commandments found within may be quickened. Some have proclaimed that the Word of God is a dead letter, but the truth of the matter is God's Word is a source of life that provides eternal life for those that keep the commands found therein.
A third theme in this chapter is delight in God's Word (v.70, 77, 92, 111, 143, 162, 174). While the unrighteous find delight in the lusts of the world, the righteous find great delight in the Word of God. The righteous can delight in the Word and also in the salvation that is provided through keeping His Word. The righteous will be delighted, by keeping His Word, and will be eternally rewarded for such high regard for the Word.
There is much that can be said about this wonderful chapter of Holy Writ, but may we express the same sentiments as the writer of this psalm. May we hide the Word of God in our hearts to keep us from sin and use the Word as a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. The Word of God is forever settled in heaven therefore may we meditate in His precepts and have respect unto His ways.
Jeremy Thornton is Minister of Highway 77 Church of Christ in Marion.