Posted by: genelnicholsblog | June 10, 2015

cling and delight!

It is longer than 30 other books of the Bible, totaling 176 verses! When we sit down to read a few of our favorite Psalms, this one is probably not on the list! It consists of 22 stanzas, each with 8 verses beginning with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet until the entire alphabet is used.  Psalm 119 is distinctive in its writing style, length and its author is a mystery.

As we study “Their Stories,” I can’t help but wonder who the writer of this amazing Psalm was.  There are many theories, from David to Moses, but I like the theory of Warren Wiersbe best in his book Be Exultant.  He believes it was Jeremiah!

Wiersbe surmises that Jeremiah wrote it to his young disciples after the destruction of the temple.  Starting with the theme of the Psalm — growing in holiness even through persecution — he presents a strong case for Jeremiah’s authorship.  Let’s look at a couple of these points.

First, the writer speaks of the opposition of princes and of speaking to kings.

Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes. (v.23)

I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame, (v.46)

In the book of Jeremiah we learn that the prophet spoke with 5 kings on occasion. They opposed him, persecuted him and wanted him gone.

Second, the writer of Psalm 119 speaks of those who wanted to destroy him.  He calls them “the proud,” “the arrogant,” or “the insolent.”

You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed, those who stray from your commands. (v.21 NIV)

The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law. (v.51 ESV)

During his life Jeremiah was assaulted by critics and those who had no regard for God’s word.

Lastly, the anonymous writer of Psalm 119 was obviously surrounded by those who openly disrespected and disobeyed God’s laws, yet he delighted in God’s word.

Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. (v.66)

Jeremiah loved God’s word with a love that sometimes makes me feel ashamed.  He delighted in the Scriptures.  The more severe the persecutions, the more he clung to the Word.  And that is the heart of this unique Psalm – there will always be pressures, hardships, and persecutions as we walk through this life, but in God’s word we find our strength.  We should be calling out to God to teach us through the Word, because we believe and delight in it.

Yes, Psalm 119 is long, but it was written by an anonymous writer who longed for the safety, comfort and strength only found in the Word.  He clung to it and delighted in it.  I hope you look at this Psalm with fresh eyes … I have.

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