“Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statues, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. Establish Your word to Your servant, who is devoted to fearing You. Turn away my reproach which I dread, for Your judgments are good. Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive me in Your righteousness.” Psalm 119:33-40.
This bloc of eight verses begins with the Hebrew letter “he”. As stated in the last post, Psalm 119 is divided into 22 blocs of eight verses for a total of 176 verses. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet and each bloc begins with a different letter, in alphabetical order, making this psalm an alphabetic acrostic.
“Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end.” Psalm 119:33.
“Teach me, O Lord…” of all the teachers the writer of this wonderful psalm must have had, it is God to whom he turns for a true teacher.
This is not an isolated thing, it is something that is available to all Christians, in a quiet place while reading or meditating on the word of God. If you will listen, He will speak to you; you, not another.
In a busy world too few Christians will take advantage of this quiet time which can transform their lives.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18.
Teach me Lord “the way of Your statutes…” statutes, in this case means decrees. The way of Your decrees, in other words teach me how to live out the decrees of the Lord, how to walk in them.
One of the greatest of these decrees is also one of the most difficult to walk in.
“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well…” James 2:8.
That is a tough one is it not, most of us have enough trouble loving our husbands or wives as ourselves. Truthfully though, keeping the royal law and walking in love is impossible without the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit.
Allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you at all times begins with one important thing, fixing your eyes on Jesus.
After feeding the five thousand, Jesus had sent His disciples away in a boat and He went up on a mountain to pray. Between 3 and 6 am He saw the disciples many furlongs away.
A furlong is the equivalent to one eight of a mile. In the Scripture passage it is said that they were in the midst of the sea struggling against a contrary wind. If my calculations are correct these men had been struggling for about 12 hours.
Then Jesus who had seen them, in the dark, a mile or more away, came walking on the water to them; so startling was this that they cried out, thinking that He was a ghost.
“But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’ And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’” Matthew 14:27-33.
Though He was far away, in prayer, Jesus still had His eye on the disciples. This is still the case; Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, and we think He is very busy, but He is not so busy that He does not have His eye on you and me. That is something for us never to doubt.
Here is the point though, as long as Peter had his eyes on Jesus he did all right, but when he started to look at the chaotic sea around him, he began to sink.
We cannot follow Jesus with our eyes constantly fixed on the circumstances around us. And circumstances, good or bad, are what Satan wants us to focus on continually. By taking our eyes off of Jesus we drown in our own circumstances whether they are luxurious or evil.
After having asked the Lord to teach the psalmist His statutes and how to walk in them he then says, “and I shall keep it to the end.” Many Christians start out well enough but often, as in the parable of the sower they fall away.
“But he who received the seed [gospel] on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13:20-22.
It is difficult to follow Jesus when tribulation, the cares of this world, or the deceitfulness of riches are constantly upon you. Yet it still comes down to where you are focused, the stormy sea about you, or on Jesus.
As long as you are determined to walk in His statutes His Holy Spirit will guide you.
“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105.
“I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word.” Psalm 119:101.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24.
“Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” Psalm 119:34.
The understanding that is spoken of here is a spiritual understanding, and if I am not incorrect the idea is a spiritual understanding that is from the heart, not just the intellect.
“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes [inner spiritual eyes] of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places…” Ephesians 1:15-20.
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light [“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” 1 John 5:19]. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed [transferred] us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14.
“Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it.” Psalm 119:35.
The words “make me walk in the path” have the sense of to lead, guide, and direct.
“For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.” Psalm 31:3.
“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to [Jesus] the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah.” Psalm 61:1-4.
The delight that the Christian has when they are lead in the path of God’s commandment comes from the grace that God shows them as they walk along.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, “He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.”’ And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” John 1:14-16.
The last sentence above with the words grace for grace means grace piled upon grace. As the Christian lives their life they begin to see the grace of God toward them and then more and more grace until they are overwhelmed by the goodness of God toward them, “grace for grace”.
The last sentence in the above verse also states, “And of His fullness we have all received…” this is something that most Christians do not realize.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:8-10.
You are complete in Christ Jesus, take hold of that knowledge, follow Jesus and learn more of Him.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10.
The abundant life is in Jesus, but it cannot be fully realized unless we follow Him. Jesus also tells us in John chapter ten that He is the door, meaning the door to salvation and freedom in Christ.
“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9.
Jesus is also the way.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6.
In a world starving for truth, Jesus opens the Christian up to all truth. Real truth, not the made up stuff that the spin doctors have from antiquity been feeding those devoid of truth.
“Incline my heart to Your testimonies [precepts], and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.” Psalm 119:36-37.
Guide, or direct my heart in the way of Your precepts or testimonies, and guide my heart away from coveting things. Things are always temporal, not permanent in the Kingdom of God.
“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.
For this reason it can be said, “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things…” coveting temporal things only distract us from the path of following Jesus.
“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.” Psalm 119:37.
This part of the psalmist’s petition indicates a person who has fixed their eyes on worthless things, and not the things of God. As a result he says, “…revive me in Your way”. Revive me; that is to say, bring me back to following You.
Some manuscripts translate “…revive me in Your way” as “revive me in Your word.” The word of God certainly does revive those who are slipping away as well as keep those close to God who are dependent on Him.
It is the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Scriptures that touches the hearts of men, whether for conviction of sin or of guidance in righteousness.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13.
There are promises to those who are completely devoted to God.
“Establish Your word to Your servant, who is devoted to fearing [reverently trusting] You.” Psalm 119:38.
It is God’s promises to us that the psalmist is referring to here, asking Him to establish, to carry out, those promises.
“Turn away my reproach which I dread, for Your judgments are good.” Psalm 119:39.
While this one is a bit obscure perhaps the best explanation would be a reference to the reproaches which unbelievers heap on those who carry the gospel to them. A reproach might be something like being called names, sneered at, or even attacked verbally or physically.
We might state this verse in this way, so you are sneering at me or calling me names, that does not matter because God is all wisdom and goodness, your words mean nothing.
Even the Apostle Paul asked for prayer that he might give the gospel courageously, even though he was in chains as a prisoner of Rome.
“…and [pray] for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:19-20.
May we all take courage knowing that even an apostle needed prayer to fight the good fight as Jesus our forerunner and example did.
“Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive [quicken] me in Your righteousness.” Psalm 119:40.
This entire bloc of eight verses has been a prayer within a psalm. It was the psalmist’s prayer, and it would be a good one for each of us to read aloud as our own prayer.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12:1-3.
Psalm 119:33-40 taken from godisrevealed.com
Scripture taken from the New King James version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.