Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart. Psalm 119:2
All of Psalm 119 expresses a deep and intense love for God’s written Word. It deals with and refers to the Word as promise, command, guide, testimony, teaching, wisdom, truth, righteousness, correction and rebuke. The Word is presented as the psalm writer’s comfort, protection, treasure, rule for life, delight to his heart and soul and resource for all his needs. There are two things that we need to understand about Psalm 119 in its entirety:
- The psalmist expresses a deep love for God by reading, meditating on and praying as he ponders God’s Word. He teaches us that we will grow in grace (God’s undeserved favor, help and blessing) and righteousness (God’s enabling us to live right and remain in a right relationship with him) only as our love for God’s Word increases.
- This psalm is called an alphabetical acrostic because its 22 stanzas (paragraphs or verses of the song) of eight verses each correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each verse in the paragraph begins with the letter that represents its stanza.
The Hebrew word that begins verse 2 is translated in the NIV, NASB and ESV as “blessed,” in the CSB as “happy” and in the NLT as “joyful” literally means either “blessed” or “happy.” However, the true meaning of the word that can either be translated as “blessed,” “happy” or “joyful” is a heightened state of happiness and joy, implying very favorable circumstances, often resulting from the kind acts of God. The psalmist is, therefore, telling us that key to this heightened state of happiness and joy rests in two very important things: keeping God’s “statutes” and seeking God with all our “hearts.” However, to truly understand what the psalmist is telling us we need to understand what God’s “statutes” are and their importance and what he means by “seek him with all their (our) heart.”
- “Statutes”-God’s statutes (in Hebrew “‘edot”) represent the covenant requirements-his guidelines and plans for his chosen people, particularly for Israel-throughout the Old Testament. However, the moral and ethical principles of these statutes still apply to Christ’s followers today. These statutes described how the people could remain in right relationship with God.
- “Seek him with all their heart”-When the psalmist speaks of the “heart” here he is not talking about the organ that pumps blood throughout our bodies. He is instead speaking of the inner person, self, the seat of thought and emotion: conscience, courage, mind and understanding. The psalmist here is telling that we are to be chasing after and constantly on the look out for God with every part of our being.
To put this all to together: The key to having a heightened state of happiness and joy is to be a person who is following the covenant requirements that God has set down for you and to be person who is constantly chasing after and being on the look out for God with every part of your being.
Today’s Bible Readings:
Ezekiel 44:1-45:12, 1 Peter 1:1-12, Psalm 119:17-32 and Proverbs 28:8-10
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