Tuesday, July 09, 2024

2024.07.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 119:65–72

Read Psalm 119:65–72

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the psalmist call himself (Psalm 119:65a)? How has YHWH dealt with him? According to what (verse 65b)? What two things does he ask to be taught (Psalm 119:66a)? Why (verse 66b)? What did he used to do (Psalm 119:67a)? But what happened to him? Now what does he do (verse 67b)? What does he say about YHWH’s character (Psalm 119:68a)? About His conduct? How does the psalmist hope to be conformed to Him (verse 68b)? Who else have done what to him (Psalm 119:69a)? What will he do in response (verse 69b)? How does he describe their hard conscience (Psalm 119:70a)? How does he describe his tender one (verse 70b)? What does he say about his affliction (Psalm 119:71a)? Why (verse 71b)? What does he call the law (Psalm 119:72a)? How much does he value it (verse 72b)?

What is good for us? Psalm 119:65–72 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that whatever our good God gives us is good for us.  

Good to be afflicted. Five of these eight verses begin with the word “good” in the original. Perhaps the most surprising “good” thing here is in Psalm 119:71: affliction. The word refers not to the painful circumstance, but to the pain itself. Not only did this pain lead to his learning God’s statutes (verse 71b), but to his keeping them (Psalm 119:67b). 

Evil men do us evil, but the good God does us good. One of the worst pains is when one is slandered with a lie (Psalm 119:69a—but, praise God when in order to say something bad about you, they have to lie!). The idea in Psalm 119:70 is that instead of muscle tissue, their heart is made of a substance with no nerves in it, unable to feel. The psalmist is thankful for having been under merciless attack that made him wretched with pain! In even the most painful situation, we must remember that human actors are not the primary actors. God is always the primary actor. And because He is not just characterized by good, but the very definition of good, we may know that He is always, only doing perfect good to us (Psalm 119:68a)! This is the initial and controlling thought of the stanza (Psalm 119:65). 

Desiring to be made good by the good God. And this is why the psalmist wishes for the Lord Himself to teach him His law. Learning the law is not just a function of acquiring information and forming behavior. It must be conveyed to us by God’s own grace. So, Psalm 119:66a says “teach me,” and Psalm 119:72 identifies the law as that which is “of Your mouth.” This is what is better than a limitless amount of earthly wealth. 

About what circumstances have you felt wretched? When have you been mercilessly lied about? But what is the good God doing in such times? And what do such times compel you to learn to do? How can you learn to keep His Word?

Sample prayer:  Lord, before we were afflicted, we went astray, but now we keep Your Word. For You are good, and You do good, according to Your Word—You even do this good, when we are in pain. And if pain is blessed to us by its sanctifying influence, how much more now Your worship! For, You have filled Your worship with the means by which You sanctify us. When Your law comes to us from Your mouth, it is better than a treasure trove of gold. So, help us to worship You by Your Spirit, that we may come to You Yourself through Your Son, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP119I “According to Your Word, O LORD” or TPH119I “You Treated Your Servant with Grace” 

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