Wonder at the Word

I. This stanza continues the Psalmists praise and prayers for God’s Word.

A. There are three strong exclamations of praise.

1. Psalm 119:129 – “Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.”

2. Psalm 119:130 – “The entrance of thy words giveth light: it giveth understanding to the simple.”

3. Psalm 119:131 – “I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments”

B. There are four prayers for providential care.

1. Psalm 119:132 – “Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.”

2. Psalm 119:133 – “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”

3. Psalm 119:134 – “Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.”

4. Psalm 119:135 – “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: and teach me thy statutes.”

C. There is one ongoing burden shared openly with God.

1. Psalm 119:136 – “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.”

II. The exclamations of praise give us clear focus for our own worship.

A. There is “wonder” at the testimonies of God (Psalm 119:129)

1. The “testimonies” are the “witness” of God Himself to events.

a. The Hebrew word is twde, ‘eduwth, and has the basic meaning of “witness.”
b. The word is also translated admonitions, ordinance, warnings

2. The Psalmist remembers some of the “wonders” that happened when God was “testifying!”

a. Exodus 3:20 – And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof
b. Exodus 34:10 – I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation [context is speaking about God driving out the enemies – if Israel gives their worship to YAWEH]
c. Deuteronomy 28:59 – Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. [Context speaks of the result of disobedience]
d. Job 42:1-6 – Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.  Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.  Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

B. The knowledge of the “wonders” commits the “soul” to “keep” God’s words.

1. Deuteronomy 4:9 – Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;

2. 2 Chronicles 34:31 – And the king [Josiah] stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.

3. Proverbs 16:17 – The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.

4. Proverbs 19:8 – He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.

5. Proverbs 19:16 – He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die.

6. Proverbs 21:23 – Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

7. Proverbs 22:5 – Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them;

C. The “entrance” of God’s word produces “light” and “understanding” for the “simple” (Psalm 119:130)

1. The “simple” can mean either “foolish” or “ignorant.”  In this context the Psalmist is thanking God for giving him “understanding” when he was “ignorant.”

a. Psalm 19:7 – The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple
b. Psalm 116:6 – The LORD preserveth the simple; I was brought low, and he helped me.

2. The words of God are “opened” to us when we are ready to hear.

a. Psalm 78:1-2 – Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:
b. Psalm 102:19-22 – For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth; to hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; to declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; when the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.

3. The “light” of God’s word produces “understanding.”

a. Psalm 119:105 – Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
b. Psalm 119:99 – I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
c. Psalm 119:104 – Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
e. Psalm 119:169 – Give me understanding according to thy word.

D. The desire for learning is very strong in the Psalmist (Psalm 119:131)

1. Three synonyms amplify this desire for God’s commandments.

a. He “gapes” open his mouth.
b. He “swallows” everything (implied gulping down)
c. He “longs” for God’s commandment (implied hunger)

2. Matthew 5:6 -- Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

a. Psalm 42:1 – As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
b. Psalm 63:1 – O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
c. Psalm 84:2 – My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

III. The four prayers are focused on effective use of godly knowledge.

A. “Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name.” (Psalm 119:132 – ESV)

1. Psalm 119:124 – Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.

2. Psalm 5:11 – But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

3. Psalm 34:8-10 – O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

B. “Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.” (Psalm 119:133 -- ESV)

1. Psalm 17:5 – Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.

2. 1 Samuel 2:9 – He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

3. Romans 6:14 – For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

C. “Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts. (Psalm 119:134 – ESV)

1. Psalm 56:1-2 – Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High.

2. Ezekiel 11:19 – And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

D. “Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.” (Psalm 119:135 – ESV)

1. Psalm 30:7 – LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.

2. Numbers 6:23-26 – On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

E. “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law. (Psalm 119:136 - ESV)

1. Jeremiah 9:1 – Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!

2. Psalm 119:53 – Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.

3. Psalm 119:158 – I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.

4. Jeremiah 14:17 – Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow.

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