This Psalm has two outstanding characteristics about it, firstly, it’s construction is very orderly, especially when you consider it is the longest Psalm. It has 176 verses comprising 22 stanzas of 8 lines each starting in the order of the Hebrew alphabet of 22 letters. So it was reputed to be used for centuries in synagogues teaching children as a school textbook. No one knows for sure who wrote it, but it was probably Ezra. Secondly, it is the only Psalm that exalts the word of God exclusively. Other Psalms praise God’s word in a verse, but Psalm 119 is the only Psalm that praises God’s word in every verse.
The word of God is described by using 7 different words. Pointing us to His POWER.
“Law”, v1 (what is legislative or a principle)
“Testimonies”, v2 (what is verbal)
“Precepts”, v4 (what is thought or meditated upon)
“Statutes”, v5, 8. (what is enforced)
“Commandments”, v6 (what is a direct priority)
“Judgments”, v7 (what is punitive)
“Ordinances or Regulations”, v13 (what is taught or practiced)
The psalm opens with two beatitudes. “Blessed” are those whose ways are blameless, who live according to God’s law, who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. The author of the psalm has experienced great trouble in this life, but is also one who has come through it with a deep and passionate understanding of God’s unfailing love and compassion, v75-77. The author clings to the truths learnt from the Scriptures, which are eternal and “stand firm in the heavens” v89-91. This is the recipe for happiness, as James 5:13 points us to. The Psalm ends with a cry for help, as if he is a lost sheep, needing to be delivered into safety, v169-176. This conclusion is from real experience in God’s word, meeting our needs for spiritual salvation, John 10:11. These are the lessons for us in this great psalm. The Word of God is sufficient to make us wise, train us in righteousness, and equip us for every good work, 2nd Tim. 3:15-17. The Scriptures are a reflection of God’s nature, and from them we learn that we can trust His character, His plan and promises for humanity, even when His plans include affliction and persecution, we can trust His purpose! Notice these attributes of God which are applied to Scripture itself:
1. Righteousness (verses 7, 62, 75, 106, 123, 138, 144, 160, 164, 172)
2. Trustworthiness (verse 42) God’s word always educates us in grace & knowledge
3. Truthfulness (verses 43, 142, 151, 160)
4. Faithfulness (verse 86) God’s word is always powerful to help comfort or deliver.
5. Unchangeableness (verse 89) no fluctuation in character through changes in work.
6. Eternality (verses 90,152) no fluctuation in character through time in our world.
7. Light (verse 105)
8. Purity (verse 140)
The profound truth that the Word of God is praised as all-sufficient is an expansion of Psalm 19:7-9: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. Just as Christ Himself the Logos is, Jn. 1:1-14 & Matthew 5:43-48. He can even make us perfect in our Creator’s sight! But there is something very important which the Word can not do, which only Christ can do. That is: to love us! Because Love is the author of this word, for God is love.