Psalm 119:97-112 A Wisdom Psalm By Anonymous
Psalm 119:97-112 I’ll Have Nun Of That
I love the Word. So did the psalmist who wrote Ps. 119. He liked acrostics. So do I. I used them to get through school. I also used them in sermon outlines.
The psalmist started each stanza of this poem with a consecutive letter of the Hebew alphabet. So he wrote 22 stanzas of eight lines each. Today we look at Mem and Nun. Can you guess what letters they are in English? Here’s a hint. They are almost in the middle of the Hebrew alphabet just as they are in English. M and N. You’re right.
The psalmist says outright that he loves the Word (v. 97). That is his theme in verses 97-104. Like we couldn’t tell. He uses different words to mean the Bible and the Word. He calls it the “law” (v. 97), “commandments” (v. 98), “testimonies” (v. 99), “precepts” (v. 100), “word” (v. 101), “ordinances” (v. 102), “words” (v. 103), and “precepts” again (v. 104).
Knowing the Word made him smarter than his enemies (v. 98) and even brighter than his teachers (v. 99). I think it takes prayer and the Word to stay ahead of your enemies. But I was always surprised that a lot of my Christian teachers didn’t know the Word like I thought they would have.
Being older doesn’t always make you smarter (v. 100). Someone has to use their experiences, mixed with the Word, to have wisdom. You also have to try to grow in the Lord and avoid evil (v. 101-102).
John ate the Word and it was sweet, then it was bitter (v. 103, cf. Rev. 10:9). It was sweet because it was the Word but in application it gave him a stomach ache. A similar thing happened to Ezekiel (cf. Ezek. 3:3-11). It’s always great to read the Word and contemplate it. Often we run into trouble after that!
However much trouble we may encounter as a result of studying and living the Word, we gain wisdom (v. 104). But I’ve found that the closer I get to Christ, the more I hate the “world system” and “every false way.”
There used to be a TV program when I was a little kid called Lamp Unto My Feet. The name must have been based on this psalm. In fact, the Word as a guide is the theme of this section.
Lamp Unto My Feet was a cool name for a program but probably didn’t light things up like this psalm does. The Word is better than any TV or radio program or book or dare I say it? It’s better than any blog. Always check whatever you hear by the Word itself (cf. Acts 17:10-11).
The psalmist mentions again that he is “afflicted” (v. 107). He asks God to revive him. God gave me Ps. 71:20-21 right before I went in for six heart bypasses. He’s been reviving me since though it’s been a slow process. It was good for me to be afflicted (cf. Ps. 119:71). It still is! I’ve been learning a lot and getting closer to Him.
Do you know the hymn “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms”? What book do you think the title comes from? I would have guessed Psalms. Wrong. It’s from Deut. 33:27. OK. Now you know. But verse 109 sounds a lot like Deut. 33:27. We can’t fall too far because God is there to catch us (cf. Ps. 37:24 NIV). Do you believe that (see Interview With Reggie Jackson)?
Didn’t we just cover that wicked people trying to trap us stuff (v. 110, see Ps. 119:85, 95 yesterday’s reading, cf. Ps. 7:15; 57:6; 26:27; Eccless. 10:8). Usually, they end up falling into the same trap themselves if we are trusting the Lord (cf. talionic justice in Boomerang Slang). The wicked are a pain.
I love the Word. Have I mentioned that? So did the psalmist. I said that already (vv. 97, 111).
Do you know what eternal life is? It is doing what God wants you to do. True life is knowing Jesus (cf. John 17:3). Do you really want to live? Don’t believe what you hear on TV. The Word is good. Performing it is life.
Hell is not a party. Heaven is. That’s why the psalmist didn’t care what others thought. He didn’t want to live like the heathen and evil. He geared his heart to do God’s Word, now and forever, until the end (v. 112). He knew that’s where the true fun was.
Proverbs 16:8-9 An Enigma
Poor people don’t know how good they have it. It’s better to be a believer and have the riches of the Lord (v. 8a) than all the mess that comes with being rich (v. 8b). Look what happens to people who win the lottery, for example. It usually ruins their lives. And all kinds of relatives and friends come out of the woodwork looking for handouts.
I love verse 9. It really is a comfort. You might think you are running your life but you’re not. You can make your own plans but God is the One Who really guides believers and sets the course of unbelievers (v. 9).
During World War II, the Germans used a code to direct all their military actions. The machine that the Allies used to break the code was called “The Enigma machine.” The English couldn’t break the code at first. Then they did crack it later and knew everything the Germans were going to do in advance. But they had to disguise what they knew or the Germans would come up with another way to communicate.
The Englishman who was most responsible for interpreting the German messages met with one of the Germans responsible for the code after the war. The German bragged about how the English could never really break the code. The Englishman just smiled. Even years after the war, he couldn’t let on that the English had broken the code in case another war broke out and enemies started using the Enigma code again. The Englishman knew but he couldn’t say anything.
I’m sure God just smiles whenever we think we know more than He does. We don’t (v. 9, cf. 1 Cor. 8:2).