Psalm 119:1-40

Psalm 119 celebrates the gift of God’s Word and expresses a heartfelt desire to walk according to God’s ways. An acrostic based on the Hebrew alphabet, the 176 verses of this psalm make it the longest chapter in the Bible.

Let’s look at some of the wonders of God’s Word from the first 40 verses.

Blessing is given to those who walk by God’s law, obey God’s commands, and seek Him with all their heart.

Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways! (v. 1-3 ESV)

God’s Word helps us live pure lives.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word. (v. 9 ESV)

When we allow God’s Word to change our hearts, His Word keeps us from sin.

I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you. (v. 11 ESV)

Meditating on God’s Word helps us fix our eyes on God’s ways.

I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways. (v. 15 ESV)

We can ask God to teach us His Word.

Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes! (v. 12 ESV)

… teach me your statutes! (v. 26 ESV)

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end. (v. 33 ESV)

We can ask God to open our eyes so that we can see the beauty of His Word.

Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law. (v. 18 NIV)

We can ask God to help us understand His Word and obey it.

Help me understand
the meaning of your precepts
so that I can meditate on your wonders. (v. 27 CSB)

Help me understand your instruction,
and I will obey it
and follow it with all my heart.
Help me stay on the path of your commands,
for I take pleasure in it. (v. 34-35 CSB)

God’s Word gives us strength.

I am weary from grief;
strengthen me through your word. (v. 28 CSB)

Father, open my eyes to see the beauty of Your Word. I want to seek You with all my heart and obey Your commands. Help me understand Your instructions. Teach me how to walk in Your ways. Strengthen me through Your Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 119 1-40

Psalm 89

When it seems God is not acting on His promises in our current circumstances, how do we pray?

Psalm 89 helps.

The psalmist writes a song of appeal to God to remember His covenant promises to David at a time when enemy nations have plundered the cities of God’s people.

The pattern of this psalm can help us structure our own prayers in times of confusion and need.

I will praise You for Your faithful love.

The psalmist begins with a determination to praise God for His faithful love and to tell future generations about God’s faithfulness.

I will sing about the Lord’s faithful love forever;
I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations
with my mouth. (v. 1 CSB)

I will remember Your promises.

The psalmist remembers who God is.

Lord God of Armies,
who is strong like you, Lord?
Your faithfulness surrounds you. (v. 8 CSB)

Righteousness and justice are the foundation
of your throne;
faithful love and truth go before you. (v. 14 CSB)

The psalmist continues with a retelling of God’s covenant promises to David and his descendants.

I have found David my servant;
I have anointed him with my sacred oil.
My hand will always be with him,
and my arm will strengthen him.
The enemy will not oppress him;
the wicked will not afflict him.
I will crush his foes before him
and strike those who hate him.
My faithfulness and love will be with him,
and through my name
his horn will be exalted. (v. 20-24 CSB).

I will tell You my problem.

The psalmist’s problem is that God has allowed the enemy to oppress His people. How can these present circumstances be reconciled with past promises?

You have broken down all his walls;
you have reduced his fortified cities to ruins.
All who pass by plunder him;
he has become an object of ridicule
to his neighbors.
You have lifted high the right hand of his foes;
you have made all his enemies rejoice. (v. 40-42 CSB)

I will appeal to You to remember me and act.

The psalmist makes an appeal for God to act according to His faithful love as He has in the past and to remember His people.

How long, LORD? Will you hide forever?
Will your anger keep burning like fire? (v. 46 CSB)

Lord, where are the former acts of your faithful love
that you swore to David in your faithfulness?
Remember, Lord, the ridicule against your servants— (v. 49-50a CSB)

I will praise You forever.

The psalmist closes with praise.

Blessed be the LORD forever.
Amen and amen. (v. 52 CSB)

Once again, I am thankful for the honesty of the psalms.
In the space between promise and fulfillment, there is often pain we do not understand. Unanswered questions accompany us on this broken planet.

How long, LORD?

While we wait, we can praise.
Because of God’s faithful love, we can be determined to praise Him first, simply because He is worthy.

While we wait, we can remind ourselves who God is.
He is faithful. He is strong. He reigns with righteousness and justice. Love and truth go before Him.

While we wait, we can remember God’s promises.
When we know God’s Word, we can frame our requests as appeals to His promises.

While we wait, we can take our problems and questions to God.
We can be honest with God about our pain.

While we wait, we can keep asking God to remember us and act.
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He has done in the past, He can still do today. We can ask Him to act on our behalf just as He has in the past for others.

Father, I praise You for Your faithful love. You are faithful and true, righteous and just. But sometimes I just want to know how long it will be until You act. While I wait, help me to remember who You are. Help me to remember Your promises. Thank You for the example of the psalms, for reminding me that I can be honest with You. Remember me, Abba. Blessed be the LORD forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Psalm 53

Psalm 53 is very similar to Psalm 14. Both open with this description of the fool.

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
there is no one who does good. (v. 1)

Both Psalms go on to describe the destruction that comes to those who live as if there is no God.

And yet….

God looks down from heaven on the sons of men
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God. (v. 2)

Are there any who understand that apart from God we cannot do good?

Are there any who understand that we need a Savior?

Are there any who seek God?

God says we will find Him if we seek Him.

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
Isaiah 55:6

Seek God now.
He is near.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

Seek God with your whole heart.
He wants to be found.

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
Acts 17:26-27

Seek God where you are.
He has orchestrated the events in your life to help you find Him.

“For the Son of Man [Jesus] came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:10

Seek God.
He is already seeking after you.

Father, I want to seek You with all my heart. Thank You that You are near and have made it possible to find You. Thank You that You were seeking after me long before I knew You. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to seek and to save the lost like me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 53

Psalm 4

Prayer can be a struggle. We want to pray, but often wonder what to say. I know I have.

In my twenties, I battled depression and anxiety. The “lead, guide, and direct” prayers I heard growing up were no help.

Desperate, I began attending a women’s Bible study. There I heard prayers that were different than mine. When I heard the teacher pray, her prayers were filled with life and seemed to shoot straight toward heaven. Over time, I learned why. Her prayers were filled with both God’s Words and hers. She turned scripture into prayer.

My life began to change as I studied God’s Word with others and learned to turn God’s Word into prayer by listening to others pray.

One of the first verses I turned to prayer was Psalm 4:8,  “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Why this verse? Anxiety tends to worsen at night. My mind would race and try to preemptively solve imaginary problems or prevent potential dangers. I learned to pray: “God, you alone, not my plans or strategies, keep me safe. Because you are God and I am not, I will lie down and give up my problem solving. Because you are my safety, I will rest and have peaceful sleep.”

It took time, but I eventually learned that safety is not in a place or in a plan, but in a Person – Jesus.

Do you struggle with knowing what to say when you pray? Reading and studying God’s Word will help you pray. Want to know you are praying God’s will? Pray His Words.

This is where the Psalms are so helpful. They are prayers that we can model our own prayers after. We can learn to frame our requests with God’s character, faithfulness, and promises. Like the Psalmists, we can pray:

  • God, this is who you are
  • God, this is what you have done for your people in the past
  • God, this is what you have promised to do
  • God, this is what I need today

Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress [name your problem]; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. I thank you that you hear me when I call to you. When I am angry, help me to keep silent and not seek revenge. Let the light of your face shine upon me today, O LORD. You fill my heart with joy. Because You are my safe place, thank you that I can sleep in peace. Amen.

psalm 4

peace at all times

2 Thessalonians 3:16
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

Paul often opened and closed his letters with a blessing of peace. The Thessalonians who received this letter were enduring trials and persecutions. They needed reminding that peace is not found in a place or in perfect circumstances, but in a person – the Lord of peace.

We need reminding too.

We need reminding that the same Prince of Peace who was born in Bethlehem went to the cross to pay for our sins, to end our separation from the Father, and to secure our peace with Him forever.

We need reminding that because we have been adopted into God’s family, we have received the seal of His Spirit and have access to the Father. Because we belong to Him, His peace is available to us at all times, in every trial and in every way.

We need reminding that the Lord of peace is with us. He will never leave us to figure things out on our own. He is for us. He is with us. He is peace.

So let Paul’s blessing be ours as well.

May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.

peace at all times