My weekly quiet time this week will be about the Daleth section of Psalm 119. I'll post it in the King James Version, which is in the public domain, then I'll comment on select verses.
25 DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
my memory of my reading on Psalm 119: Daleth is correct, some of the
Christian commentaries that I read related v 25 to spiritual
resurrection, of the sort that we encounter in such passages as Romans
6, Ephesians 2:5, Colossians 2:13, and I Peter 3:18: the Psalmist
recognizes that he is spiritually dead and morally corrupt and thus
needs God's word to revive him if he is to bear spiritual fruit. Others
say that the Psalmist is already regenerate, presumably because he
loves God's law, and his carnal mind would be opposed to God's law if he
were unregenerate (Romans 8:7). In this particular view, the Psalmist
seems to be asking for a spiritual pick-me-up, not a born again
I think that the point of v 25 is that the Psalmist is
in a state of suffering, and he wants for God to revive him through
God's word. The Psalmist says in v 38 that his soul is heavy and he
desires to be strengthened according to the word of God. In the Gimel
section of Psalm 119, we read that the Psalmist is experiencing reproach
and contempt, and that princes are speaking against him. In a
world of hostility and corruption, the Psalmist wants for God to
instruct him in what is good and pure. It's easy for one to become
bitter and corrupt when one suffers or is rejected by others. In such
cases, I need for God to give me the pure water of his word.
26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.
don't remember the comments that I read about this verse, to be honest
with you, and so I'll speculate myself about what it could mean, without
appealing to sources. Maybe this verse means that the Psalmist was
telling God what was happening in his life, including the negative stuff
that I mentioned in my comments on v 25, and he wants for God to
respond by teaching him God's statutes. Alternatively, perhaps the
Psalmist is taking a personal moral inventory: he is honestly sharing
with God his understanding of the way that he is and what he has done,
the good and the bad, and his desire is for God to guide him and to
teach him God's statutes. The Psalmist can keep on walking in his own
ways, or he can try something new: he can learn God's ways and walk in
them. This Psalm may be by David, or it may have nothing to do with
David, but I will say this: David himself struggled to stay on the
straight-and-narrow, and there were times when he followed his own path
rather than a better course. I can envision David laying out
his own ways before God, recognizing that they are flawed as he opens
himself up to learn God's ways.
27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
NRSV has: "Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will
meditate on your wondrous works." Is this suggesting that, when we
understand God's precepts and appreciate their righteous content, we are
drawn to meditate upon the good things that God himself has done: God
has given the law, which illuminates to us the righteous path, and yet
God himself has performed righteous deeds, deeds of love, compassion,
salvation, and deliverance?
28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
I find in my own life that the word of God strengthens me? I'd say
that meditating upon Scripture can take my mind off of my own problems
and take me from a state of internal heaviness to one of internal
equilibrium. It can calm my internal waters, in short.
29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
Psalmist could be saying that he trusts in God and God's law because he
has found that other alleged sources of security are unreliable----they
are lies. Or could the Psalmist be saying that he himself does
not want to follow a path of lying----he neither wants to tell lies,
nor does he desire to follow a course of sin, which deceptively promises
security and fulfillment but cannot necessarily deliver on those
30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.
Some of the Christian commentaries that I read noted that the Psalmist deliberately chose the way of truth. Yes,
following the way of righteousness is contingent on grace: the Psalmist
recognized this when he desired that God quicken him, and when he
highlighted the importance of God enlarging his heart in v 32. But
there was still a commitment and a tenacity on the Psalmist's part when
it came to walking in the way of truth (in contrast to the way of lying
in v 29).
31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.
think that there is value in following the way of righteousness simply
because it is right, whether God provides a reward for it or not. But I
can understand and sympathize with the Psalmist's sentiment of wanting
for God to honor his commitment: the Psalmist is trying to do
the right thing, and he desires for God to honor that by delivering him
from (or not putting him to) shame, in a world where people want to put him to shame!
32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
is the enlargement of the heart? Some say that it's being wise and
knowing more, since I Kings 4:29 says that God gave Solomon largeness of
heart, in the context of discussing Solomon's wisdom. Some say that it
means making the heart larger by giving it joy, for Isaiah 60:5
presents the hearts of the Israelites being enlarged (and simultaneously
afraid!) as the abundance of the sea and the Gentiles come to Israel.
Another view is that it is about the heart becoming more affectionate,
for Paul in II Corinthians 6:11-13 says that his own heart is enlarged
towards the Corinthian church, and that he hopes that its heart will be
enlarged towards him; in v 12, he seems to say that his affections are
unlimited, whereas the affections of the Corinthian church are
Perhaps the enlargement of the heart in Psalm
119:32 encompasses all three of these things: the Psalmist wants for his
knowledge and understanding of God's will and ways to be enlarged, for
joy in the midst of situations that are afflicting him, and for greater
affection for God and his neighbor. Then, obedience would not be an
uphill battle for him, for he would be eagerly running to obey God's
commands. (The Septuagint, however, says that God enlarged the Psalmist's heart in the past.)
are things that weigh me down from doing the right thing: lusts and
desires, jealousy, resentment, sadness, selfishness, constricting my
love such that fewer and fewer people are the recipients of it, etc. My
heart is small. But can God enlarge it? Do I need fuller knowledge of
God's will and ways? I feel that I already understand Christian
doctrines, as much as the smug evangelicals who act as if believing the
way that they do is the way to comprehend the Bible (which, in my mind,
is a tautology on their part). Yet, could part of my problem be
one of limited perspective: I need to learn more about God's love and
goodness, as well as the beauty of God's way? Maybe there is always
some new facet of God's goodness and righteousness to learn about. Regarding joy and a more expansive love for others, my need for those is a no-brainer to me.
I feel that I need to be emotionally happy in order to follow God,
however? Not necessarily, and I resent the smug evangelicals and
self-styled spiritual people who like to show off how happy they
supposedly are, as if they're better than those who are not so bubbly.
In my opinion, a person can be sad, and still be a good person. There
are many cases in which suffering actually influences a person to be more compassionate towards others.
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