Gracefully Truthful


Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
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Psalm 119:57-80

ח Khet
57 The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep your words. 58 I have sought your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. 59 I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to your decrees. 60 I hurried, not hesitating to keep your commands. 61 Though the ropes of the wicked were wrapped around me, I did not forget your instruction. 62 I rise at midnight to thank you for your righteous judgments. 63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to those who keep your precepts. 64 LORD, the earth is filled with your faithful love; teach me your statutes.

ט Tet
65 LORD, you have treated your servant well, just as you promised. 66 Teach me good judgment and discernment, for I rely on your commands. 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. 68 You are good, and you do what is good; teach me your statutes. 69 The arrogant have smeared me with lies, but I obey your precepts with all my heart 70 Their hearts are hard and insensitive, but I delight in your instruction. 71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn your statutes. 72 Instruction from your lips is better for me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

י Yod
73 Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding so that I can learn your commands. 74 Those who fear you will see me and rejoice, for I put my hope in your word. 75 I know, LORD, that your judgments are just and that you have afflicted me fairly. 76 May your faithful love comfort me as you promised your servant. 77 May your compassion come to me so that I may live, for your instruction is my delight. 78 Let the arrogant be put to shame for slandering me with lies; I will meditate on your precepts. 79 Let those who fear you, those who know your decrees, turn to me. 80 May my heart be blameless regarding your statutes so that I will not be put to shame.

The Original Intent

1) What is the psalmist’s response to affliction? (verses 57-64)

In verses 59-61 we observe the psalmist allowing his affliction to push him to the Scriptures to seek help from God. “I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to your decrees. I hurried, not hesitating to keep Your commands. Though the ropes of the wicked were wrapped around me, I did not forget Your instruction.”

The psalmist took delight in the comfort and renewal provided by the truths of Scripture. The evidence of his renewal by God’s Word is his heart reflecting praise and an awareness of the goodness of the Lord around him, “Lord, the earth is filled with Your faithful love; teach me Your statutes.” (verse 64)

Everything about Psalm 119 is intentional. When he started the section of Khet, he started from a place of knowing the Source of his abundance, “The Lord is my portion…” (verse 57) The Hebrew word for “portion” has its roots in the Levitical priesthood, which was instituted by God when He gave the Ten Commandments.

The household of Levi was set apart from the other 11 tribes of Israel to serve the Lord in the temple. Levites were given no land, no portion of the Promised Land “flowing of milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8) as the other tribes. (Deuteronomy 18:1) INSTEAD God Himself was to be their “lot of land” or “portion”. (Deuteronomy 18:2)

The Promised Land represented blessing, prosperity, and God’s favor upon His people, but for the Levites, their treasure was to be God himself as they were set apart wholly for Him. Though the author of Psalm 119 was likely not a Levite, He still wrote “The Lord is my portion” to alert the reader that he recognized God to be his ultimate treasure, his all-sufficient portion, and sustaining grace despite his hardships.

The Everyday Application

1) What is the psalmist’s response to affliction? (verses 57-64)

One day, Jesus would come as baby, live a perfect life, and die a criminal’s death in order to take the place of death and punishment we deserve because of our sin against God. He died so we could be welcomed into relationship with Him. A relationship where He is our portion and we are His people. (Jeremiah 32:38) A relationship where our sin is forgiven and paid for by Him, and He gives us His righteousness when we trust Him with the whole of our lives. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

When He gave the Ten Commandments, the Lord also said that if His people kept His covenant they “…will be My kingdom of priests and My holy nation.” (Exodus 19:6) Israel failed to keep God’s covenant, but God gave the world Jesus who gave us His righteousness through our faith so that, by Christ, every believer in Jesus would become part of the kingdom of priests, set apart as God’s Holy People. (1 Peter 2:9)

In this relationship, He constantly calls us to be satisfied in Him alone with all our hearts. (verse 58) Inside this satisfaction, we obey His commands out of great love for Him who is our delighted portion.

When affliction comes, either we can battle against our circumstances, fighting our way back to a life of ease and comfort, OR we can come near to the Lord, delighted that He is our steadfast Portion.

As we sit in relationship with Him with thankfulness for Who He Is despite our circumstances, we will find our hearts are peaceful as we accept His plan from His hand. His heart is indeed good as He makes us more like Jesus. (Romans 8:29) As we walk through affliction, let’s choose to allow the Lord to use our pain for His glory and our good as we trust Him!

The Original Intent

2) According to verses 65-72 what is the purpose of affliction?

First off, let’s remember and acknowledge that God has sovereign purposes for everything. Whatever God is doing or allowing in our lives, it is better for us to ask submissively, “Lord, what do you want me to know about You? How would you have me respond so I reflect You to others?”

God’s purpose for affliction is to refine the relationship with His children, making it more intimate, sweet, and trusting. This is for our good prospering! Deuteronomy 8:16) The psalmist when so far as to say it was good to be afflicted, so that he may learn God’s statutes all the more! (verse 71)

Were it not for the intensity of his afflictions that pressed the psalmist toward the Lord and His ways, and the psalmist’s choice to surrender to Lord’s ways, he would have perished in his affliction. (Psalm 119:92)

For Christ-followers today, affliction is still a call to persevere in faith of the Steadfast God. In the place of his deepest need, the psalmist knows God is still with him, caring about him, because of his faithful character and unfailing love. Affliction should deepen our relationship with God, so we find amazing joy that surpasses what we’ve known before.

When this joy in the delight of the Lord is discovered, it is evidenced by praise so intense it takes precedence even over sleep, “At midnight I will rise to thank you for your righteous judgements”. (verse 62) Being afflicted no matter the pain, agony, or distress, peace with God is available when we have faith in His good character. If He is for us, who could be against us?! (Romans 8:31

The Everyday Application

2) According to verses 65-72 what is the purpose of affliction?

Not just in the Psalms, but throughout the entire Bible, it is revealed how the Lord uses affliction as a catalyst to purify us from sin, open our eyes to the idols we worship, and the path of destruction we are walking away from Him.

Nothing gets our full attention like the pain of suffering. If we surrender to the Lord’s way in it, He will bring us to a place of delighting in knowing Him more fully than ever precisely because we have walked through suffering. In the hands of a fully loving God, affliction weans us from a love for the world and a fixation upon ourselves and our own desires.

Affliction provides the opportunity for us to realize the depths of our vanity, our love for self, and the hopelessness of life apart from God and His ways of true life! Because of His great love for us, and His grand desire for us to experience Him and know Him as our Portion, the Lord will use the pain of affliction to refine us as silver. (Psalm 66:10)

Mysteriously, the merciful Lord can use even the pain of affliction to open our eyes to God’s goodness, which pushes us to a deeper commitment to obey God’s Word out of delight in Him. Even if the Lord delays His redemption of our pain and permits affliction into our lives to triumph for a while, we can remain loyal to Him, never forget the Lord’s ways because we trust He IS good and He DOES good. (verse 68)

Faith in Yahweh’s goodness frees us, as it did the psalmist, from the ropes of affliction. Peace and joy are still available, even in our sorrow and pain!

The Original Intent

3) How does affliction affect our commitment to the Lord? (verses 73-80)

The yearnings of the author in Psalm 119 is broken into two main sections, 1) What God has done for us and 2) What the psalmist longs to do for God. Both must be understood as a result of a heart motivated by deep love. Our yearning to serve the Lord comes as a result of understanding what God has done for us.

His love is grander than any experience, relationship, or achievement. He is the greatest Portion. If His delight is over us, we respond with delight back to Him. This is worship!

God’s hands have fashioned us (verse 73), giving us the opportunity to know Him as good through His commands. It is the Lord who gives us worth, making us in His image to do His work, all of which will bring us the sweetest of delights as we give ourselves to Him. The psalmist recognizes this truth and has learned to cling to it. The psalmist’s cry to the Lord is to assist him in staying true to the Word in his heart and his daily life actions.

It is one thing to have tasted the sweetness of God, and yearn to follow Him, but another to daily choose Him. Scripture teaches that the chief commitment of our lives is to adoringly love (worship) God alone.

Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind; this is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38) When we begin in adoration for how the Lord has called us to be His own, everything else in life falls into order

The Everyday Application

3) How does affliction affect our commitment to the Lord? (verses 73-80)

What brings you joy? There is no doubt we are creatures of desire; there is no end to the list of things we want. When these rise in passion and power, dictating our desires, we have made idols to worship out of the things or people we want.

We have effectively traded all hope of joy for disappointing loss. Whether it is greater economic stability, deeper friendships, less loneliness, or lighter afflictions, we all want something. We may want our children to be more attentive, or to simply get away from the rush of life, but regardless of the shape of our idol, we are all typically chasing a steadfast supply of delight.

The psalmist points us to the Perfect Supply of endless joy, found in the Portion of the Lord God within the covenantal love and faithfulness shared between Himself and His people. This relationship exemplifies a life of obedience and a personal resolution to obey God’s Word.

When it comes to God’s Word we don’t take a quick look as if it is a textbook, financial statement, or a social media page. Reading God’s word is not an impersonal activity. We are to come to Scripture to meet with God personally, desiring to know Him better, deeper, more richly.

We must be keenly aware that our joy and satisfaction in him should also be the fuel that fans the flame of our obedience. “The Lord is our portion, I promise to keep His Word.” (verse 57

Faith in the goodness of the Lord that motivates us to follow His ways out of delight in knowing Him is an act of beautiful worship to the Almighty One who was, is, and ever more shall be. This is our story! This is our song as we love the Holy One!

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