Psalm 119 is very special. When we were young we used to just think of it as an extra-long chapter, the longest in the Bible, 176 verses, seemingly impossible to read at one go. And nor should we try to read it like that! God’s word is food for our minds, we should savour it and “eat” it carefully.
This Psalm is like tender tasty ‘meat’ causing much reflection on our ways before God. It is surprising how often the word ‘way’ or ‘ways’ occurs in it.
David, like all of us, was on a journey through life, we, like him, have to decide the best WAY to take, what career path to try to follow, how to best use our retirement ion his service.. We must recognise there is a spiritual career path too! An important and challenging part of our decisions is how far into the future we are looking, our world is finding it increasingly difficult to look very far at all!.
Now look at the words at the start of this Psalm. “Blessed are they 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! You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be steadfast …” [v.1-5] Can we wholeheartedly take David’s words to ourselves?
In some modern versions, such as the New English Bible, they use the word “Happy” instead of “Blessed”, interesting! What is the way to true happiness. What is it to be happy? What will your workmate or neighbour answer if you ask him or her?
David asks, “How can a young man (or woman) keep his way pure?” What is his answer? “By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” [v.9-11]
Think about that! How much of God’s word do we have in storage? We prove how much, by how much we can bring it out when it is needed, especially when we are challenged and feel inclined to leave the narrow way – just a little! But that means we are no longer on the “narrow” way!.
David later writes, “Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law! I have chosen the way of faithfulness … Turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” [v.v.29,30, 37] In many ways this Psalm contains the essence of the prayers of David; examples on which to model our prayers.