Psalm 119


Psalm 119:9-11 


How can a young man keep his way pure?  By keeping it according to Your word.  With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.  Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.


Observation-What does it say? 

The author of this psalm is unknown, but some suspect the priest Ezra as the author.  This psalm is the longest single chapter in the whole Bible, and it is 176 verses long.  It is written in the form of an acrostic poem.  “The psalm is arranged according to the Hebrew alphabet. The first eight verses all begin with the Hebrew letter aleph; the next eight verses start with beth; the next eight, gimel; and so on. It’s as though God were saying, “Here are the ABCs of how to use the Word of God in your life.”(Wiersbe)  In verses 9-16, the psalmist ponders the life of holiness.  While he most likely was a young man when writing this, the application can be for all who are new in their Christian life.  The path to holiness takes devotion to God’s word.  Chalres Spurgeon writes, “No nobler ambition can lie before a youth, none to which he is called by so sure a calling; but none in which greater difficulties can be found. Let him not, however, shrink from the glorious enterprise of living a pure and gracious life; rather let him enquire the way by which all obstacles may be overcome.”


Understanding-What does it mean? 

We live in a world that is besieged by the lies of our enemy, the devil.  This feels more evident now than ever before.  The freedom we see as believers in America seems to be under constant attack.  I once read that the Christian life is like a military mission behind enemy lines.  Almost like espionage, we are trying to rescue those held captive under enemy control through the spreading of the message of hope found in Jesus Christ.  In order to be fully effective as spies for Jesus, we must believe in every part of the message(mission) in order to be a more effective witness(soldier) of this truth.  Jocko Willink, a former Navy SEAL commander, wrote this on the need for belief within a military unit: “The leader must explain not just what to do, but why. It is the responsibility of the subordinate leader to reach out and ask if they do not understand. Only when leaders at all levels understand and believe in the mission can they pass that understanding and belief to their teams so that they can persevere through challenges, execute and win.”


Challenges within our faith are natural and to be expected.  But, just because we see adversity, doesn’t mean God has abandoned us.  In many ways, the adversity is God’s way of bringing us to a more perfect relationship with him.  In James 1:2-4 we read, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  So when the psalmist prays, “Do not let me wander from Your commandments” he echoes the struggle we all share.


Life Application

Jesus, when I struggle, let me know you are near.  Help me in my unbelief.  Help me to have the discipline to stay in your word, even when there seems to be reasons to leave.  Help me to have a view on the mission, your mission of bringing others into the fold of your love.      

-Tyler Galloway