PATTERNS OF HOPE
Aleph…the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In fact Aleph, Beth inspires our word for alphabet. These are similar to the Greek and Roman letters as well. In any language this psalm is the “ABCs” of faith. This is the longest psalm, so I have broken it in two sections for this study. Now we can read and take time to reflect on the messages here.
ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. Psalm 119:1-8
Those who are without sin in the law are blessed. That is our best first step, our beginning. Blessed are those who obey and seek God in truth. God you commanded us to observe your word faithfully. Oh if I could always conform to your rules! I have no reason for shame when I live within your boundaries. I can tell others of your goodness with a clear conscience when I learn and follow your word. I will obey you, only do not forsake me. The psalmist announces his faith and his dependency on God to achieve those goals.
BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. Psalm 119:9-16
How can anyone find a clean life? By directing that life as the word of God directs us. I look for you my God with my whole heart, don’t let me wander away from you. Even as I seek God I need him to keep me in his will. I take your word to heart Lord, so teach me. I have told my world about you and I rejoice in what you do for us more than I do in wealth. I will study and think long on your principles and delight in your rules. I will not forget the word. Now we know the word by his name as God has revealed his son to be the word of God. Our teacher heard our prayers and came in the flesh.
GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments. Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies. Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors. Psalm 119:17-24
Lord let me prosper so I can live without sin. Give me spiritual vision to see prophetic revelation in your scriptures. I am unfamiliar with the mysteries of this life so let me see your wisdom as a sign. My heart breaks to find the wisdom that it lacks of your guidelines. Lord you have brought the proud men low for their sins. Move me away from the reproach of hypocrisy as I have not failed to obey you. Men in power spoke false accusations against me but I focused on your instructions and ignored them. Your word is my pleasure and my guiding light. Even as I read and paraphrase your word for others, it reveals more to me than I have known before.
DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart. Psalm 119:25-32
I am low in faith under the cares of life, Lord help my faith and energize my walk. You heard my proclamation of faith so teach me to live according to your word. Let me understand wisdom so I can tell my world about your goodness. My core is melting down in sorrows, please give me strength in faith. Deliver me from the temptation to lie and let me find peace within your law. I have decided to follow Yeshua, and your judgment is my choice. I stay in your path so don’t leave me ashamed as I follow you. You will give me heart and courage.
This writer finds the worries too, and I hope God will help me enough to walk with spring in my step. As long as I am on the path of God’s will I should not shuffle like a beaten dog. It would dishonor God to act as if I have no hope.
HE.Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. Psalm 119:33-40
Lord, teach me the rules of life as I am willing to comply all my life. I will follow you if you teach me the way. I enjoy living in your light so turn me away from the desires of the world. Turn me away from vanity for I fear a bad testimony. I want your truth as I long for it. God’s warnings are like the signs along a winding mountain road. To fear those messages will keep us from the edge of eternal pain. The more we see God’s good judgments the more we know that his warnings are for our good, not to oppress us.
VAU. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments. So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes. Psalm 119:41-48
Give me all of your mercy especially your salvation. I can answer the trash talk of the world with the assurance of eternal salvation. Your word is my hope; his name is Yeshua. Encourage me to speak your word so I have hope. I will live in your law and speak of hour honor to rulers shamelessly. I will live in and love your commandments and I will consider those thoughts at length and in peace.
ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law. I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself. Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law. Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law. This I had, because I kept thy precepts. Psalm 119:49-56
Remember the promises that give me hope as your word takes the pain from my afflictions. I have no reason to despair in persecution because your advice is a psalm of celebration to me. You are the name of my joy in the night and I have this because I followed your path in life.
CHETH. Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words. I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments. The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law. At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments. I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts. The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes. Psalm 119:57-64
You are my reward in life over material gain because I value your approval enough to follow your path. I came ahead without hesitation in spite of the theft of evil humanity. I praise you in the night and fellowship with the righteous people. As all of life on earth reveals your goodness teach me your ways.
TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. Psalm 119:65-72
You have treated me well Lord, even as your word promised. Now teach me judgment and faith because I believed you. Before I had trouble and I backslid for lack of faith, but now you proved your promises and I keep your word. Since you are good, and do good, teach me the principles of life. Evil men lie about me but I will stay on course by your words. They have the fat heart of death while we find life in your word. Our pain is where we witness the deliverance found in your promises. Better to have the treasure of scripture than the wealth of the few world owners. They only hold a temporary lease.
JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts. Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed. Psalm 119:73-80
I am your workmanship; complete the work in my understanding by your wisdom and guidance. The other believers who fear you will welcome me as a brother in your promises. Lord you are righteous and what trouble reaches me is to teach me and strengthen me. Return mercy and comfort to me now because I have lived in compliance to your will. Let our proud enemies be shamed as they are caught in their false accusations. Let your faithful people see me and come to me as a brother in your testimony. Build me into a faithful servant so I will not be ashamed when they do see me.
CAPH. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word. Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me? For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes. How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me? The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law. All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me. They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts. Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth. Psalm 119:81-88
My works fail to give what I need from your salvation, I am weak but I still hope. My sight doesn’t reveal faith as well as your word does, so what is the hour when faith will heal my sight? I am diminished but I remember your word as substance for my faith.
How long will I live before you deliver me from my enemies? They make traps for me in their rebellion against you, they mutiny against your righteousness. I am surrounded and near defeat without your guiding words and kindness, so I will remain in the refuge of your wisdom.
So the first half of Psalm 119 opens in varied crisis and leaves us with reassuring testimony of the value of the word of God. There is more to come, and so it also is with this life. Go to your destiny with this assurance.