This Psalm is famously the longest chapter in the Bible and all about God’s communication to man. There are a variety of ways the writer refers to God’s communication:
- The law of the Lord
- His statutes
- His ways
- Your Precepts
- Your decrees
- Your commands
- Your righteous laws
- Your word
- The laws that come from your mouth
- Your laws
- Your wonders
- Your promise
- Your commandments
- Your ancient laws
- The law from your mouth
- The statutes of your mouth
There is some overlap, and all but a few verses out of 176 have one of these references to the communication of God’s standards for living. It is clear too that all of these flow out of the perfect character of God, and that they are life to the soul of man. Verse 97 says simply and well what ought to be at the very core of those who seek the living God:
97 Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
He just can’t get enough. Oh Lord, ought our prayer be, please give us such a love of your word, of the thoughts and insights and truth that flows from your being in your propositional revelation to us. I think the Pietists among us might be disappointed in this Psalm because all of these things engage the mind of man, and through his logic the assessment of the benefits he seeks from God. Like this:
125 I am your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand your statutes.
And the more we understand of God through his word, the more we are distressed by those who ignore or flout it. Like this:
139 My zeal wears me out,
for my enemies ignore your words.
But regardless of how fallen this fallen world gets, we can stand because everything God says is “fully trustworthy” (v. 138). That includes when it appears worst, and how much worse could it have appeared than at the cross. All of the hopes of Jesus’ followers crushed in the most cruel and inhumane way possible. It was simply, completely and totally inconceivable that God’s plan included that bloody mess. How could there possibly be victory in this!? Three days later they knew differently. It had to be done in a way most inconceivable to our fallen, distorted sensibilities. As all 176 verses of Psalm 119 tell us, God alone properly interprets reality for us. As that final verse tells us:
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.
We stray, always prone to wander, God seeks us! His words are our life.