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PSALM 119:1-8 ALEPH

What is the longest chapter in the Bible? How many verses does it have?
How long would it take you reading it? What is it about? It is Psalm 119
of course and we are going to study it together not all in one go, you
will be glad to hear! but we will take it as the Holy Spirit has set it out
for us. J ust a few words of introduction

The psalm has twenty-two sections each consisting of eight verses (i.e. a
total of 176 verses altogether). Each section has its own individual
heading, which is simply a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, - aleph, beth,
gimel, daleth, he, etc. In, for example, the first section (aleph, a) each of
the eight verses begin with that letter in the Hebrew.

As is all things associated with our relationship with God, the writing of
this psalm has demanded great time and concentration from the psalmist.
It is only correct and proper that we too treat it in the same way he treated
this subject. He was led by the Holy Spirit, we should also seek the
wisdom of the Holy Spirit to consider what this psalm has to teach us.

Its emphasis is clearly upon the vital ministry of the Word of God to the
bringing to maturity the child of God, - this psalm is telling you that if
you want to grow in Christ you need to mature in Gods Word, you
and I need to read and study and apply it.

A car wont go very far without petrol. The only direction it will take is
downhill!

God does not have one standard for one Christian and another standard
for another Christian or another church. He has the same basic principles
and doctrines that have never changed. They tell you nowadays you need
to update Christianity, - get into the 21
st
century! - but any
improvements you make actually detracts from what God has set out in
His Word. Gods Word doesnt need to be added to and this psalm
teaches us again that Gods Word is the ultimate emphasis of instruction
for the believer.

You will notice too the psalmist uses eight different words for the
Scriptures, - law (torah, the first five books of the Old Testament),
testimony, precept, statute, commandment, judgment (i.e. a rule for
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living), word (of God), and promise. In fact, 169 verses out of 176 make
a direct mention of Gods Word.

Who wrote it? We dont know for sure and therefore we cant really say
for certain when it was written. (Some commentators suggest J eremiah,
but we cant be sure). Whoever the author was, he had an intense hunger
and passion to understand Gods Word in a deeper way. This passion for
God is illustrated in the fact that in all but fourteen verses the writer of
the psalm addresses his words to the Lord personally.

It is so plain and easy to notice the basic theme of the psalm is simply the
practical use of the Word of God in the everyday life of the believer.
But imagine that this man didnt have the Bible we have today! He
probably didnt have the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament; he
definitely didnt have the twenty-seven books of the New Testament.
Believer, do you realise how blessed we are with this Holy Book God has
gifted to you and me!

It is no wonder the devil tries his best to water it down and corrupt it, it is
no wonder he tried to burn it and destroy it, and it is no wonder he still
tries to rid the world of it today, - this is Gods Word, and here, - in this
psalm, - the psalmist rejoiced in Gods Word. He called it his daily food,
(v. 103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my
mouth!). It was his greatest wealth, (v. 72 The law of thy mouth is better unto
me than thousands of gold and silver. v.127 Therefore I love thy commandments
above gold; yea, above fine gold).

It is quite a thought too, that the Bible of the early Church consisted only
of the Old Testament, - it didnt have the accounts of J esus, His life, His
miracles and the story of Calvary, it didnt have J n. 3:16. It didnt have
the teachings of Paul and Peter and J ohn as we have today. Yet, with the
Old Testament and the help of the Holy Spirit the first Christians had a
most dynamic, explosive and powerful ministry ... and their message
came solely from the Word.

Get away from the Word and you lose the power God has invested in His
people. Look here how this man delighted in Gods Word,
v.16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
v. 24 Thy testimonies also are my delight.
v. 35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.
v.47 I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.
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v.70 I delight in thy law.
v.77 Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.
v.174 I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.

Why is it such a delight? Why should you and I love the Word of God?
Again the answer is simple: if you love the Word of God, you also love
the God of the Word as the psalmist did, v.132 Look thou upon me, and
be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. Indeed,
as you read through this psalm, you will find the writer in a variety of
experiences, but his devotion to the Lord and His Word do not change.
This is our confidence too, - as we begin to study this psalm, - though
circumstances change, our God and His Word never change!

Lets read the first section together. 119:1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in
the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are they that keep his
testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. 3 They also do no iniquity: they
walk in his ways. 4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. 5 O
that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! 6 Then shall I not be ashamed,
when I have respect unto all thy commandments. 7 I will praise thee with
uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. 8 I will
keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

By way of having headings, we shall briefly consider these verses under
five headings: Walking (vv.1,3), Seeking (v.2), Praising (v.7), Learning
(v.7), Keeping (vv.2,4,5,8)

WALKING (vv.1,3)
Walking is a sign of maturity. It is the actions of someone who is
growing up. They take their first tender steps, and they fall; they get up
again and persevere until they have mastered the art of walking.
Walking has to be worked at. Walking on a smooth surface is
different to walking in a mucky field or on a rocky hill, - we need to get
used to the different types of surface.
This is a special walk the psalmist is writing about, - it is not an
ordinary path; J esus said, Mt. 7:14 narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life.
It involves walking against the main flow against the way the
majority is walking.
It means you are walking in the one direction with one objective on
your mind that you will do no iniquity (v.3). Gods people strive not to
sin! Lets put it like this:
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Do you read pornography? Do you watch pornography? As a
believer, should you read pornography and should you watch
pornography?
The answer is simple: as a believer in Christ, you should be neither
reading pornography nor watching it. If you are, you should stop it; if you
dont want to stop it, then I would advise you to carefully examine
yourself, lest you are not truly saved at all.
You see, v.130 The entrance of [Gods] words giveth light; and when
Gods light shines in J n. 1:5 tells us it overcomes the darkness, - Gods
light and sins darkness cannot work together.
The question again Is it possible to do no iniquity? Well, the Bible
says it ought to be our driving force because sin robs God of glory in the
life of the believer and it is a bad witness.
So, that which God convicts you about in your life He expects you to
give up; if it is contrary to how a Christian should be acting you shouldnt
be doing it.
God the Holy Spirit works in you so that you would become like unto
Christ.
You see, sin defiles, - it dirties, it pollutes. When Christ saved you He
brought you from the broad road and set you on the narrow road. The
road He set you on has no filthiness, or foulness, smut or immorality.
On this narrow road He has particular instructions how you should
walk along it; these instructions are in accordance with the law of the Lord
(v.1) and is applicable to those who walk in His ways (v.3).
The psalmist tells you here that to be a successful believer you need
to be walking, guided by Gods Word.
You might say, Ah, but the Bible doesnt tell me how to walk in
every particular set of circumstances I can confidently tell you it
does. The Bible misses nothing out. Any guidance you need the Bible
will point you in the right direction. Walking

SEEKING (v.2)
Here is another proof of a true child of God. What would God have
me to do? What would He have me say? What would He have me to be?
The psalmist is seeking after God. He shows us the importance of
putting God first and notice how he emphasises this, v.2 Blessed are
they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
If you start depending on God your trust in Him will grow and grow.
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On the other hand, if you are not sure whether you could trust Him
completely or not, you will find yourself going here, there and yonder
and He becomes the last Person you come to instead of being the first.
Now, when you come to Him at the very beginning He honours you
because He sees you trust Him and when you come to Him sincerely
at the very beginning you develop a confidence that you know He can
help you.
Once again, you turn to His Word and you see there how He has
helped His servants in all kinds of circumstances; you establish the
confidence that you know He is able to meet your need too no matter
what your need may be!
The psalmist is actively walking and actively seeking.

PRAISING (v.7) He is praising God. He knows God is his
Companion as he is walking and seeking. He is not ashamed of his
relationship with God, - he doesnt hide it away ( for Sundays or for
church meetings).
He speaks personally to God and he has no problem speaking to
others about his relationship with Him, - mention Gods Name and his
face lights up. There is a freshness in his voice and in his conversation.
God is good to me, God is good to me; He holds my hand, He
makes me stand, God is good to me!
Yes, praise is good preparation for learning about God and His Word
As the psalmist is walking he is also seeking, as he is seeking he is
also praising

LEARNING (v.7) How do you learn? Putting it crudely you
stick at it! This is known in doctrine as The Perseverance of the Saints.
You dont give up, - you keep on going; you are learning all the time.
How long have you been saved? How much have you learned?
They both go together.
We are going to have a testimony meeting some Sunday evening
soon you could tell us when you were saved and where but what
about your testimony to Gods grace today? What is God doing in your
life today?
What is He teaching you? What are you learning today? A true
disciple is one who learns continually
How do you learn? Where do you learn? You come to the
infallible and inerrant Word of God. Seek out its instruction, - dont just
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take a verse or passage here and there, - read it all; the psalmist wrote in
another place (Ps. 73:24), Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel.
It is a privilege and an honour to have Gods Word in its
completeness. Many Christians in many lands would love to have this
Book in its entirety and yet so many professing believers who have it do
not cherish it as they ought.
Walking, seeking, praising, learning and finally

KEEPING (vv.2,4,5,8) In these short eight verses there is much
emphasis on keeping the Word of God.
If you want to know blessing you need to keep the Word of God,
If you want to be obedient to God you need to keep the Word of God,
If you want to walk the right way you need to keep the Word of God,
If you want to know perseverance in the faith you need to keep the
Word of God.
There is no substitute for Gods Word. Our children and young
people need to be taught it, - its what the Bible says, Dt. 6:7 thou shalt
teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest
in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down,
and when thou risest up.
Its for our protection, Prov. 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a
shield unto them that put their trust in him.
J esus said, Lk. 11:28 blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, 1 Thess. 2: 13 For this cause also thank
we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye
heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word
of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
It is not a book for the shelf from one week to the next; it is a daily
roadmap, a sword, an encourager, it is the very Word of the Almighty and
Sovereign God to His eternally beloved people.
Here is a sure and certain way to guard your walk with Christ, - read
and study His Word every day, keep the instructions He gives you from
its pages then, says the psalmist, v.6 shall I not be ashamed.

Conclusion Walking, seeking, praising, learning, keeping.
Here is the bad news first, - you cant and you wont do it in your
own strength it doesnt work. You will soon give up.
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But here is the good news, - you are not meant to do it in your own
strength you are meant to do it in the strength that God gives you by
the power of the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps you are not saved yet but you are thinking about it, you
have been thinking about it for some time.
Enough of the thinking. If all you were to do about something was
merely to think about it, you would never get anything done. Believe on
the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31)
Believer, keep on believing as you ought and God will keep you
on your feet and you will be walking, and seeking, and praising, and
learning, and keeping the Word of God.