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: 153-160
Resh (20th letter; pronounced “Ray-sh”; the letter “R”)
Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget Your Law.
Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to Your promise!
Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Your statutes.
Great is Your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to Your rules.
Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from Your testimonies.
I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep Your commands.
Consider how I love Your precepts! Give me life according to Your steadfast love.
The sum of Your Word is Truth, and every one of Your righteous rules endures forever.
Psalm 119 is all about hearing and doing the Scriptures.
The 20th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, resh, represents wickedness. Remember, each stanza in Psalm 119 represents a Hebrew letter and every line in the stanza begins with that letter. So the topic, if you will, of stanza 20 is wickedness.
Why am I telling you this? Because if you are like me, perhaps you are feeling like the psalmist is a bit of a jerk in this stanza. In line 158, he states, “I look at the faithless with disgust.” Disgust carries with it a pretty negative and judgmental tone. When you compare this line with some of the other lines in the stanza it does, on a surface level, appear that the psalmist is being harsh and a tad bit rude, and maybe a bit self-righteous. BUT, I think that may be the point.
Now you are saying, “What?!”
This stanza is “dedicated” to wickedness. How does the psalmist begin this stanza? With acknowledgment of HIS OWN WICKEDNESS. “Look at my affliction,” he says to God. Then he asks for deliverance. Then he asks God to act as a defense attorney — “plead MY cause and redeem me.” And, then he asks for the life ONLY God can give — the true redemption promised by God in the Bible.
It is only AFTER the psalmist has brought his sins to God that he is able to see the wickedness in others; and, yes, it does disgust him. But I don’t feel it’s out of self-righteousness. I think it is because the psalmist sees how dirty wickedness truly is to God. Wickedness is disgusting. And, once you know what it feels like to be cleansed by God, to be truly forgiven, it does feel like wickedness is everywhere.
So, what is the best way to rid yourself of persecutors, adversaries, and other wickednesses (other RESHes)? Swarm to God’s Word. When we immerse ourselves in God’s Word we are shielded from wickedness and we are actually weaponized against evil. In Ephesians 6:17 we are told that when we put on God’s armor we take upon ourselves the sword of the Spirit, “WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD” (my emphasis). The Bible is our sword against sin and evil. Isn’t that cool?! God’s Word truly does give us everything we need and leads us to Salvation.
Side note: Just in case you don’t know already, the Hebrew word for salvation is yeshua. Jesus’s name in Hebrew is Yeshua. So, whenever you see the word salvation being used in the Bible, think Jesus!
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