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Dave Burnette's Commentary

Psalm Chapter 119

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: David, Asaph, Solomon, Heman, Ethan, Moses, and the Sons of Korah
Date Penned: (1440-586 BC)
Overview: Poetry for the Expression of Praise and Worship to God (c 1-150)
Theme: The Fifth Book of Psalms (c 107-150)
Message: God's Word is True and Wonderful (v 1-176)

Psalms 119 Commentary 

(119:1) The Longest Chapter - This is both the longest psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible. It may have been written by Ezra after the temple was rebuilt (Ezra 6:14-15) as a repetitive meditation on the beauty of God's Word and how it helps us stay pure and grow in faith. Psalm 119 has 22 carefully constructed sections, each corresponding to a different letter in the Hebrew alphabet and each verse beginning with the letter of its section. Almost every verse mentions God's Word. Such repetition was common in Hebrew culture. People did not have personal copies of the Scriptures to read as we do, so God's people memorized his Word and passed it along orally. The structure of this psalm allowed for easy memorization. Remember that God's Word, the Bible, along with the help and guidance of his Holy Spirit, is the only sure guide for living a God-honoring life. 

(119:9) Staying Pure in a Wicked Environment - We are drowning in a sea of sexual images and sinful attractions. They are available in movies, on the internet, on our phones, on prime-time television, and even on billboards. Everywhere we look we are bombarded with enticements for sexual relationships and activities that don't honor God. The writer asked a question that troubles us all: How do we stay pure in a culture that proclaims that sinful pleasures are a human right? We cannot stand strong on our own; we must have counsel and strength more dynamic than the tempting influences around us. Where can we find that strength and wisdom? By reading God's Word and doing what it says. We can find ways to remove temptations from our lives and seek accountability partners who will encourage us in our daily spiritual walk. 

(119:11) Hiding God's Word - Hiding means keeping God's Word in our hearts to deter sin. This alone should inspire us to understand, meditate on, review, and memorize Scripture. But these practices on their own will not keep us from sinning; we must also put God's Word to work in our lives, making it a vital guide for everything we do. Each time you read the Bible, ask, "Lord, what can I do to put this Scripture into practice today?" 

(119:12-24) God's Laws Give Us Freedom - Most of us chafe under rules because we think they restrict us from doing what we want. At first glance, then, it may seem strange to hear the psalm writer talk of rejoicing in following God's laws as much as in having great riches. But God's laws were given to free us to be all he wants us to be. They restrict us from doing what might hurt us, cripple us, and keep us from being our best. God's guidelines help us follow his path and avoid destructive paths and beliefs. 

(119:39) Our Need for Guidance - The psalm writer recognized that he was a "stranger," so he needed guidance. Almost any long trip requires a map or guide. As we travel through life, the Bible becomes our map and GPS, pointing out safe routes, obstacles to avoid, and the final destination. We must recognize ourselves as pilgrims, and travelers in this life who need to study God's map to learn the way. If we ignore the map, we will wander aimlessly through life and risk missing the real destination. 

(119:25) Making Alive - To quicken means to make alive or to revive. How can God's Word revive us? This world is full of evil; God's Word revives us with the promise of victory over evil. This world says we are worthless without beauty or possessions; God's Word gives us value by telling us that God created us and loves us. This world tells us discouraging lies about where to find happiness and purpose; God's Word points to the truth about personal fulfillment. This world has no real, lasting answers for the big questions of life; God's Word gives satisfying, eternal answers. Read God's Word and be revived. 

(119:27-28) a Holy Spirit Filled Book -  Life is cluttered with how-to books, but the authors can't come alongside each of us to help us follow their directions. But God does it with his book. That is the uniqueness of the Bible. God not only provides the rules and guidelines but also comes with us personally each day, through his Holy Spirit, to strengthen us so that we can live according to those guidelines. All we must do is invite him to and then respond to his direction. 

(119:36) The Idle of Money-  Money is all some people think about. It's an idol that can ease labor, buy certain comforts, and offer some security. Money has become so important to some people that they will do almost anything to get it because it represents power, influence, pleasure, and success. But far more valuable than wealth is obedience to God; it is a heavenly treasure rather than an earthly one (Luke 12:33). We should do what God wants, regardless of the financial implications. Make the writer's prayer your own, asking God to turn your heart toward his laws, and not toward making money. It's in your own best interest in the long run. 

(119:44-46) Obeying God's Laws - The writer talks about keeping God's laws and yet being free. Contrary to what we often expect, obeying God's laws does not inhibit or restrain us. Instead, it frees us to be who God designed us to be. By seeking God's salvation and forgiveness, we have freedom from sin and the resulting oppressive guilt. By living God's way, we have freedom to fulfill his plan for our lives. 

(119:55) Reflecting on God at Night - The night is a natural time to reflect on life and who God is. The author of this psalm said that he reflected at night. There are many other instances in the psalms of David and others lying awake at night, praying and reflecting (see 1:2; 16:7; 17:3; 42:8; 63:6; 77:2). In jail, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns at night (Acts 16:25). What do you normally think about before you fall asleep? Reflect on who God is and all the ways God has blessed you during the day.

(119:59) The Direction of Life - The author of this psalm pondered the direction of his life. We should also consider the direction of our lives. We don't have to wait until we hit rock bottom; we can ponder the direction of our lives regularly by studying God's Word and listening to the Holy Spirit as our guide. Some people prefer to do this in solitude, and some prefer to talk it through with a trusted friend or pastor. Either can help us turn to follow God's laws more closely. 

(119:67) Discipline Hurts - The psalm writer said the Lord disciplined (afflicted) him. Discipline hurts, but it is good for us. If we don't reject it or ignore it, discipline can lead to an immediate course correction. We are reminded by Solomon that the Lord corrects those he loves (Proverbs 3:11-12). The author of Hebrews quoted this proverb when encouraging his readers to endure discipline from the Lord Hebrews 12:5-6). When you have strayed from the path of following God and he disciplines you, embrace it as a gift to help you go in the right direction again so that you won't remain hopelessly lost. 

(119:81-84) Waiting on God - Waiting for God can be difficult. We want to see things happen now. We want to move forward with our plans. We want to get something done. Waiting can wear us out. In these verses, the psalm writer is askins how long he must wait, but he continues to put his hope in God's Word. This should encourage us to delve into the Scriptures when we become frustrated while waiting on God. 

(119:97-104) Wisdom - God's Word makes us wise-wiser than our enemies and wiser than any teachers who ignore it. True wisdom goes beyond amassing knowledge; it is applying knowledge in a life-changing way. It corrects us, leads us in the right way, and teaches us to make holy choices. Intelligent or experienced people are not necessarily wise. Wisdom comes from allowing God's wisdom to guide us and make a difference in our lives. 

(119:105) A Light - To walk safely in the woods at night, we need a light for protection so we don't trip over tree roots or fall into holes. In this life, we walk through a dark forest of evil. But the Bible can be our light to show us the way ahead so we won't stumble as we walk. It reveals the entangling roots of false values and philosophies. We need a light to reach our desired destination. Study the Bible so you will be able to see your way clearly enough to stay on the right path. 

(119:113) Vain Thoughts - Those with vain thoughts cannot make up their minds between following good and following evil. But obeying God has no middle ground; you must take a stand. Either we are obeying him and doing what he wants or we are not. Choose to obey God, and say with the psalm writer, "Thy law do I love." 

(119:125) Discernment - The psalm writer asked God for discernment. Faith comes alive when we apply Scripture to our daily tasks and concerns. We need discernment to understand the Scriptures and to identify the areas of our lives where we need to apply its teachings (see Hebrews 5:11-14). Like medicine, the Bible goes to work only when we apply it to the affected areas. But unlike medicine, it has no harmful side effects. As you read the Bible, be alert for lessons, commands, and examples that you can put into practice. 

(119:160) Truthfulness - One of God's essential characteristics is truthfulness. He embodies perfect truth; therefore, his Word cannot lie. It is true and dependable for guidance and help (see John 17:14=17). The Bible is completely true and trustworthy. 119:165 Modern society longs for peace of mind. Here we receive clear-cut instruction on how to attain this: If we love God and obey his laws, we will have "great peace." Trust in God, who pitfalls of daily life and gives us full assurance of ultimate peace.

Dave Burnette's Life Application


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today, we continue in the Book of Psalms with Chapter 119. In our text today, we see the theme of how God's Word is wonderful and true. In applying, we see that we should stay true to God and His Word no matter how bad the world becomes. In obedience to the Bible, we receive true happiness in an unhappy world. How about you? Are you happy? Let us learn from our Psalm and text today to remember that as we live in an unhappy world, our true happiness comes from obeying the Word of God, applying scripture to our lives, and walking in the light of our Lord Jesus Christ. 


Psalm 119

Psalm 119

 1Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.

 2Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

 3They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

 4Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

 5O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

 6Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

 7I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

 8I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

 9Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

 10With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

 11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

 12Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

 13With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.

 14I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

 15I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

 16I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

 17Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

 18Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

 19I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

 20My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

 21Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

 22Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.

 23Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

 24Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.

 25My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

 26I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

 27Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

 28My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

 29Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

 30I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

 31I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.

 32I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

 33Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

 34Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

 35Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

 36Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

 37Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

 38Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

 39Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

 40Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

 41Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.

 42So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

 43And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.

 44So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.

 45And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

 46I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.

 47And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.

 48My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

 49Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.

 50This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

 51The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.

 52I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.

 53Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.

 54Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.

 55I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.

 56This I had, because I kept thy precepts.

 57Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.

 58I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

 59I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

 60I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

 61The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.

 62At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

 63I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.

 64The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.

 65Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.

 66Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.

 67Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

 68Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.

 69The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.

 70Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.

 71It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

 72The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

 73Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.

 74They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.

 75I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

 76Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.

 77Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.

 78Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.

 79Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.

 80Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

 81My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.

 82Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?

 83For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.

 84How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?

 85The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.

 86All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.

 87They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.

 88Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

 89For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

 90Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.

 91They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.

 92Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.

 93I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.

 94I am thine, save me: for I have sought thy precepts.

 95The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.

 96I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.

 97O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.

 98Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.

 99I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.

 100I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

 101I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.

 102I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.

 103How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

 104Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

 105Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

 106I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

 107I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.

 108Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.

 109My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.

 110The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.

 111Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

 112I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

 113I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.

 114Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

 115Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.

 116Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

 117Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.

 118Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.

 119Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.

 120My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.

 121I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.

 122Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.

 123Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.

 124Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.

 125I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.

 126It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.

 127Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.

 128Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

 129Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.

 130The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

 131I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.

 132Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.

 133Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

 134Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.

 135Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.

 136Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

 137Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.

 138Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.

 139My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.

 140Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

 141I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.

 142Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.

 143Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.

 144The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.

 145I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.

 146I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.

 147I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.

 148Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

 149Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.

 150They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.

 151Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.

 152Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.

 153Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.

 154Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.

 155Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.

 156Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.

 157Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.

 158I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.

 159Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.

 160Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

 161Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.

 162I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.

 163I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.

 164Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.

 165Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

 166LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.

 167My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.

 168I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.

 169Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.

 170Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.

 171My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.

 172My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.

 173Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.

 174I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.

 175Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.

 176I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.