Taught by the Word

I. The early stanzas prepare the reader for specific instruction.

A. The First stanza promises happiness for those who follow God’s Word.

1. They can be “undefiled in the way.”

2. They can “walk in” the Law of the LORD.

B. The Second stanza promises that we can cleanse our lifestyle.

1. If we store God’s word in our heart will not wander.

2. If we “meditate” in God’s precepts we will delight in God’s Word.

C. The Third stanza promises reward from God’s Word.

1. It will enable us to “see “wondrous things” from the Law.

2. It will empower righteous reactions.

D. The Fourth stanza promises revival when we need it.

1. We can overcome spiritual oppression.

2. We can be “quickened” by God’s Word

3. We can be “strengthened” by God’s Word

4. We can have our heart “enlarged” by God’s Word

II. The Fifth stanza (Psalm 119:33-40) describes our needs for the Word of God.

A. There is a need for education (Psalm 119:33-34)

1. We need to be taught from the word.

2. We need understanding from the word.

B. There is a need for motivation (Psalm 119:35-36)

1. We need to be “made” to go in God’s path.

2. We need to be “inclined” away from covetousness.

C. There is a need for correction and discipline (Psalm 119:37-38)

1. We need to be “turned away” from emptiness.

2. We need to be “established” as a servant.

D. There is a need for empowerment (Psalm 119:39-40)

1. We need to be “turned away” from fear.

2. We need to be “quickened” in righteousness.

III. The need for spiritual and biblical education is basic to our faith.

A. We must be taught the word of God (Psalm 119:33)

1. The Hebrew word is YARAH which emphasizes long-term training.

a. The basic meaning is “to shoot” – often translated “shooter”
b. The word is translated “teach” 42 out of the 84 times used.
c. The word implies “aim” and “focus” at a distant target.

2. The object (end goal) of the training is the “statutes”.

a. The Hebrew word is CHOQ, the word for “decree.”
b. The word is most often connected with the key laws of God.
1) It is used 127 times in the OT, 21 times in Psalm 119.
2) It is translated “statutes” 87 times of the 127 occurrences.

3. The use in Deuteronomy 6:1 helps understand the connection.  Moses has just repeated the Ten Commandments and connects all the key terms with those Ten Commandments.

a. Deuteronomy 6:1 -- Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.

4. The statutes have a “way” that must be followed.

a. The Hebrew word is used prolifically in the OT.
b. The basic meaning is “path” or “journey” or “habit.”
c. Proverbs 3:6 -- In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
d. Proverbs 9:6 -- Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

B. We must be made to understand how to “keep” God’s Word (Psalm 119:34).

1. The Hebrew word is BYIN which has a basic meaning of “insight.”

2. The amplification of this term is in Proverbs 1 and 2.

a. Proverbs 1:2-5 -- To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.
b. Proverbs 2:1-5 -- My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

3. The product of understanding is an ability to “keep” God’s “law.”

a. The Hebrew word translated “keep” means “to guard, protect.”
b. The Hebrew word translated “law” (TORAH) refers to the “whole” law of God.
c. Proverbs 28:7 -- Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son:

4. The promises made WHEN taught and given understanding are simple.

a. We are to guard the law “unto the end” (implication: of our life)
b. We are to “observe” (exercise great care over) with our whole heart.
c. Proverbs 2:11 -- Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
d. Proverbs 4:4 -- He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

IV. The need for spiritual motivation is vital (Psalm 119:35-36).

A. We must “go” in the “paths” of God’s commandments.

1. The wording stresses active “walking” in God’s commandments.

2. Two key words:  “go” (to tread, to step purposefully) and “paths” (the “pathways” or “beaten tracks”) that lead to a destination.

a. Joshua 1:3 -- Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
b. Psalm 119:105 -- Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path

3. Jeremiah 6:16 -- Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths where is the good way and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls

4. Isaiah 42:16 -- And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them

B. We must “incline” our heart to God’s testimonies.

1. The “heart” is the source of the “issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23)

a. What we believe determines how you think.
b. What you think dictates what you do.
c. What you do dominates your life.

2. 1 Kings 8:58 -- That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.

3. Proverbs 22:17 -- Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.

C. We “delight” in God’s Word and not in “covetousness.”

1. The motivation is the joy and delightful expectation of obedience.

a. Psalm 112:1 -- Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
b. Psalm 40:8 -- I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

2. The warning is that we avoid seeking personal gain or recognition.

a. Proverbs 18:2 -- A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
b. Proverbs 15:27 -- He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.
c. Habakkuk 2:9 -- Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!

V. The need for spiritual correction and discipline is important (Psalm 119:37-38)

A. We must be “turned away” from worthless pursuits.

1. The focus is on avoiding that which is harmful.

a. Psalm 17:3 -- Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress
b. Proverbs 4:15 -- Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away

2. The discipline keeps us from “seeing” worthless concepts.

a. Proverbs 30:8 -- Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
b. Isaiah 59:4 -- None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies ; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

B. We must be “stablished” as a “servant” of God’s Word.

1. God recognizes those who obey Him as His “servants” – some given great missions – all given His favour.

a. Joshua 1:2 -- Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
b. Isaiah 54:17 -- No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

2. God disciplines so that we function under God’s “fear.”

a. Psalm 111:10 -- The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
b. Proverbs 9:10 -- The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

VI. The need for spiritual empowerment is ongoing (Psalm 119:39-40)

A. We must be relieved of our own fear.

1. Job 3:25 -- For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

2. Job 9:28 -- I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent.

B. We must be “enlivened” by our righteousness.

1. Proverbs 11:6 -- The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them:

2. Proverbs 12:28 -- In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

3. Proverbs 13:6 -- Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.

Note:  All these various instructions assume that God is the source of the authority and power to implement and secure the behaviour that insures success in our lives.  We are the Receiver of God’s goodness, not the Initiator of the holy activity.

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