Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday!
This week I am going to continue my series on Psalm 119.
For those who may not know, Psalm 119 is broken down into 22 stanzas and each stanza begins with one letter from the Hebrew Alphabet. Each stanza is broken up into 8 verses for a total of 176 verses. It is the longest Psalm in the Psaltry. And, Psalm 119 is an example of an acrostic, which is a poem where the first letter of each verse spells out a word, message, or follows the alphabet. In this case, Psalm 119 follows the Hebrew Alphabet.
My goal with this series is not lofty. I am not an expert on Psalm 119. I just love its symmetry and message, and I want to share that with you over the next 22 weeks. Perhaps I will be able to share some insight, some interesting tidbits and facts, or just some thoughts on how the verses strike me. My true goal is that this series is an extra encouragement to you, and helps you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. I hope you enjoy and are blessed!
Psalm 119: 137-144
Tsade (pronounced “saw-day”)
You are righteous, Lord, and Your judgments are just.
The decrees You issue are righteous and altogether trustworthy.
My anger overwhelms me because my foes forget Your Words.
Your Word is completely pure, and Your servant loves it.
I am insignificant and despised but I do not forget Your precepts.
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your instruction is true.
Trouble and distress have overtaken me, but Your commands are my delight.
Your decrees are righteous forever. Give me understanding, and I will live.
Psalm 119 is all about hearing and doing the Scriptures.
In the eighteenth stanza of Psalm 119, the poet brings about three main ideas. The first is that God is THE Judge and He is always just and fair. If God makes a ruling that ruling is honest, righteous, and trustworthy. God, unlike humans, is incapable of deceit, selfish gain, and injustice. When God does something or allows something it is NEVER unfair. It is never without cause or reason. And, it is never wrong. God is THE Boss all the time. So, if something is happening in your life right now, dear reader, that you feel is unfair, wrong, or unjust it is NOT God who has created it. However, God may be using it to draw you near to Him. God loves to solve our problems, but only if we let Him.
The second point that the psalmist makes is the dichotomy between friend and foe. A foe is anyone who “forgets [God’s] Words” (line 139). A friend, then, is anyone who lives and acts in God’s Word. You may be saying to yourself, “Wait, does this mean that my Atheist friend is my foe?” The answer is, “No.” Your atheist friend isn’t a believer and doesn’t know God’s Words. This isn’t a passage about Gentile unbelievers. The psalmist is talking about those who claim to know God’s Words and claim to be a follower, but who actually live their lives as if they don’t know God at all — as if they have forgotten Him.
You may be saying, “This sounds harsh. Enemy is a harsh word,” and you would be correct. But think about it from God’s perspective — anyone NOT for Him is against Him (Matthew 12:30). That makes them an enemy. At this point you may be squirming, dear reader, because perhaps a few people have popped into your mind, or maybe you have popped into your own mind. The blessing is this — there is still time. If you are alive right now reading this, and your thoughts went to a couple of people you know or to yourself, then pray. Pray as if your life depends on it (cause it does) and ask God to help you help your friends or yourself become the men and women He wants you to be. But do it now, cause time is running out!
The final point the poet makes in this stanza is to constantly check our perspectives. In line 143, the psalmist says, “Trouble and distress have overtaken me, BUT Your commands are my delight” (emphasis mine). He then ends the stanza expressing that God’s rules are righteous, and begs God to give him understanding so that he can live. I don’t think anyone could deny that times they are a-crazy! It really does feel like troubles and distress are all around us. If we are not careful, we could really get sucked into the drama and depression of the times. We could lose our focus. In Luke 21:28 Jesus tells His disciples, “When these things (i.e., the troubles, distresses, plagues, earthquakes, wars, rumor of wars, depressions, etc.) begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near.” We are in that time, dear reader. It is time to stand and look up. Keep your focus on Jesus, not on the craziness that is happening every single day in our world. Stay focused in God’s Word. Study and pray. Ask Jesus to “Give [you] understanding so that [you] may live!”
NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN!
WHAT BIBLICAL VERSE IS ENCOURAGING YOU TODAY?
Check out more Thursday Encouragement from my fellow blogger friends:
Trisha @ Joy of Reading
Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home
Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective
Becca @ The Becca Files
Gina @ Stories by Gina
Rebecca @ Rev. Rebecca Writes
Andi @ Radiant Light
Leslie @ Words of Hope
Claudia @ Claudia Moser
Keneesha @ Women Loving God’s Way