The Words of God # 119 This psalm is an acrostic poem, a mathematical masterpiece. It consists of twenty-two stanzas of eight lines each. Each stanza begins with the same Hebrew letter at the beginning of every one of its eight lines, going in succession, by strophes, from alef—the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, as the first letter of each line in the first strophe—to taw—the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, as the first letter of each line in the last strophe. Like the eight lines of each stanza, there are eight Hebrew words, all synonyms, used to refer to the Word of God. Although many believe Ezra wrote Ps. 119, the acrostic poetic style is unique to King David within the book of Psalms, which points to his authorship of this psalm.
The Way to Happiness
1You’re only truly happy when you walk in total integrity,
walking in the light of God’s Word. # 119:1 Or “perfection.” The Hebrew reads “utterances.”
2What joy overwhelms everyone who keeps the ways of God,
those who seek him as their heart’s passion!
3They’ll never do what’s wrong
but will always choose the paths of the Lord.
4God has prescribed the right way to live:
obeying his laws with all our hearts.
5How I long for my life to bring you glory
as I follow each and every one of your holy precepts!
6Then I’ll never be ashamed,
for I take strength from all your commandments.
7I will give my thanks to you from a heart of love and truth.
And every time I learn more of your righteous judgments,
8I will be faithful to all that your Word reveals—
so don’t ever give up on me!
9How can a young man stay pure?
Only by living in the Word of God and walking in its truth.
10I have longed for you with the passion of my heart;
don’t let me stray from your directions!
11I consider your Word to be my greatest treasure,
and I treasure it in my heart
to keep me from committing sin’s treason against you.
12My wonderful God, you are to be praised above all;
teach me the power of your decrees!
13I speak continually of your laws
as I recite out loud your counsel to me.
14I find more joy in following what you tell me to do
than in chasing after all the wealth of the world.
15I set my heart on your precepts
and pay close attention to all your ways.
16My delight is found in all your laws,
and I won’t forget to walk in your words.
The Abundant Life
17Let me, your servant, walk in abundance of life
that I may always live to obey your truth.
18Open my eyes to see the miracle-wonders hidden in Scripture. # 119:18 Or “your law.”
19My life on earth is so brief, so tutor me in the ways of your wisdom.
20I am continually consumed by these irresistible longings,
these cravings to obey your every commandment!
21Your displeasure rests with those who are arrogant,
who think they know everything;
you rebuke the rebellious who refuse your laws.
22Don’t let them mock and scorn me for obeying you.
23For even if the princes and my leaders choose to criticize me,
I will continue to serve you and walk in your plans for my life.
24Your commandments are my counselors;
your Word is my light and delight!
Revived by the Word
25Lord, I’m fading away. I’m discouraged and lying in the dust;
revive me by your word, just like you promised you would.
26I’ve poured out my life before you,
and you’ve always been there for me.
So now I ask: teach me more of your holy decrees.
27Open up my understanding to the ways of your wisdom,
and I will meditate deeply on your splendor and your wonders.
28My life’s strength melts away with grief and sadness;
come strengthen me and encourage me with your words.
29Keep me far away from what is false;
give me grace to stay true to your laws.
30I’ve chosen to obey your truth
and walk in the splendor-light of all that you teach me.
31Lord, don’t allow me to make a mess of my life,
for I cling to your commands and follow them as closely as I can.
32I will run after you with delight in my heart,
for you will make me obedient to your instructions.
Understanding God’s Ways
33Give me revelation about the meaning of your ways
so I can enjoy the reward of following them fully.
34Give me an understanding heart so that I can
passionately know and obey your truth.
35Guide me into the paths that please you,
for I take delight in all that you say.
36Cause my heart to bow before your words of wisdom
and not to the wealth of this world.
37Help me turn my eyes away from illusions
so that I pursue only that which is true;
drench my soul with life as I walk in your paths. # 119:37 The Masoretic Text and the Dead Sea Scrolls read “Preserve my life according to your word.”
38Reassure me of your promises, for I am your beloved,
your servant who bows before you.
39Defend me from the criticism I face
for keeping your beautiful words.
40See how I long with cravings for more of your ways?
Let your righteousness revive my spirit!
Trust in the Lord
41May your tender love overwhelm me, O Lord,
for you are my Savior and you keep your promises.
42I’ll always have an answer for those who mock me
because I trust in your word.
43May I never forget your truth, for I rely upon your precepts.
44I will observe your laws every moment of the day
and will never forget the words you say.
45I will walk with you in complete freedom,
for I seek to follow your every command.
46When I stand before kings, I will tell them the truth
and will never be ashamed.
47My passion and delight is in your word,
for I love what you say to me!
48I long for more revelation of your truth,
for I love the light of your word as I meditate on your decrees.
49Lord, never forget the promises you’ve made to me,
for they are my hope and confidence.
50In all of my affliction I find great comfort in your promises,
for they have kept me alive!
51No matter how bitterly the proud mockers speak against me,
I refuse to budge from your precepts.
52Your revelation-light is eternal;
I’m encouraged every time I think about your truth!
53Whenever I see the wicked breaking your laws, I feel horrible.
54As I journey through life, I put all your statutes to music;
they become the theme of my joyous songs.
55Throughout the night I think of you, dear God;
I treasure your every word to me.
56All this joy is mine as I follow your ways!
My Heart Is Devoted to You
57You are my satisfaction, Lord, and all that I need,
so I’m determined to do everything you say.
58With all my heart I seek your favor;
pour out your grace on me as you promised!
59When I realize that I’m going astray,
I turn back to obey your instructions.
60I give my all to follow your revelation-light; I will not delay to obey.
61Even when temptations encircle me with evil,
I won’t forget for a moment to follow your commands.
62In the middle of the night I awake to give thanks to you
because of all your revelation-light—so right and true!
63Anyone who loves you and bows in obedience to your words
will be my friend.
64Give me more revelation of your ways,
for I see your love and tender care everywhere.
My True Treasure
65Your extravagant kindness to me
makes me want to follow your words even more!
66Teach me how to make good decisions,
and give me revelation-light, for I believe in your commands.
67Before I was humbled I used to always wander astray,
but now I see the wisdom of your words.
68Everything you do is beautiful, flowing from your goodness;
teach me the power of your wonderful words!
69Proud boasters make up lies about me
because I am passionate to follow all that you say.
70Their hearts are dull and void of feelings,
but I find my true treasure in your truth.
71The punishment you brought me through was the best thing
that could have happened to me, for it taught me your ways.
72The words you speak to me are worth more
than all the riches and wealth in the whole world!
Growth through the Word
73Your very hands have held me and made me who I am;
give me more revelation-light so I may learn to please you more.
74May all your devoted lovers see how you treat me and be glad,
for your words are entwined with my heart.
75Lord, I know that your judgments are always right.
Even when it’s me you judge, you’re still faithful and true.
76Send your kind mercy-kiss to comfort me, your servant,
just like you promised you would.
77Love me tenderly so I can go on,
for I delight in your life-giving truth.
78Shame upon the proud liars! See how they oppress me,
all because of my passion for your precepts!
79May all your devoted lovers follow me
as I follow the path of your instruction.
80Make me passionate and wholehearted to fulfill your every wish,
so that I’ll never have to be ashamed of myself.
81I’m lovesick with yearnings for more of your salvation,
for my heart is entwined with your Word.
82I’m consumed with longings for your promises,
so I ask, “When will they all come true?”
83My soul feels dry and shriveled, useless and forgotten,
but I will never forget your living truth.
84How much longer must I wait until you punish my persecutors?
For I am your loving servant.
85Arrogant men who hate your truth and never obey your laws
have laid a trap for my life.
86They don’t know that everything you say is true,
so they harass me with their lies. Help me, Lord!
87They’ve nearly destroyed my life, but I refuse to yield;
I still live according to your Word.
88Revive me with your tender love and
spare my life by your kindness, and I will continue to obey you.
Faith in the Word of God
89Standing firm in the heavens and fastened to eternity
is the Word of God.
90Your faithfulness flows from one generation to the next;
all that you created sits firmly in place to testify of you.
91By your decree everything stands at attention,
for all that you have made serves you.
92Because your words are my deepest delight,
I didn’t give up when all else was lost.
93I can never forget the profound revelations you’ve taught me,
for they have kept me alive more than once.
94Lord, I’m all yours, and you are my Savior;
I have sought to live my life pleasing to you.
95Even though evil men wait in ambush to kill me,
I will set my heart before you to understand more of your ways.
96I’ve learned that there is nothing perfect
in this imperfect world except your words,
for they bring such fantastic freedom into my life!
I Love the Word of God
97O how I love and treasure your law;
throughout the day I fill my heart with its light!
98By considering your commands I have an edge over my enemies,
for I take seriously everything you say.
99You have given me more understanding than those who teach me,
for I’ve absorbed your eye-opening revelation.
100You have graced me with more insight than the old sages
because I have not failed to walk in the light of your ways.
101I refused to bend my morals when temptation was before me
so that I could become obedient to your Word.
102I refuse to turn away from difficult truths,
for you yourself have taught me to love your words.
103How sweet are your living promises to me;
sweeter than honey is your revelation-light.
104For your truth is the source of my understanding,
not the falsehoods of those who don’t know you, which I despise.
Truth’s Shining Light
105Truth’s shining light guides me in my choices and decisions;
the revelation of your Word makes my pathway clear.
106To live my life by your righteous rules
has been my holy and lifelong commitment.
107I’m bruised and broken, overwhelmed by it all;
breathe life into me again by your living word.
108Lord, receive my grateful thanks
and teach me more of how to please you.
109Even though my life hangs in the balance,
I’ll keep following what you’ve taught me, no matter what.
110The ungodly have done their best to throw me off track,
but I’ll not deviate from what you’ve told me to do.
111Everything you speak to me is like joyous treasure,
filling my life with gladness.
112I have determined in my heart to obey whatever you say,
fully and forever!
Trust and Obey
113I despise those who can’t keep commitments,
for I passionately love your revelation-light!
114You’re my place of quiet retreat, and your wraparound presence
becomes my shield as I wrap myself in your Word!
115Go away! Leave me, all you workers of wickedness,
for you can’t stop me from following every command of my God.
116Lord, strengthen my inner being by the promises of your Word
so that I may live faithful and unashamed for you.
117Lift me up and I will be safe.
Empower me to live every moment in the light of your ways.
118Lord, you reject those who reject your laws,
for they fool no one but themselves!
119The wicked are thrown away, discarded and valueless.
That’s why I will keep loving all of your laws!
120My body trembles in holy awe of you, leaving me speechless,
for I’m frightened of your righteous judgments.
I Will Follow Your Ways
121Don’t leave me to the mercies of those who hate me,
for I live to do what is just and fair.
122Let me hear your promise of blessing over my life,
breaking me free from the proud oppressors.
123As a lovesick lover, I yearn for more of your salvation
and for your virtuous promises.
124Let me feel your tender love, for I am yours.
Give me more understanding of your wonderful ways.
125I need more revelation from your Word
to know more about you, for I’m in love with you!
126Lord, the time has come for you to break through,
for evil men keep breaking your laws.
127Truly, your message of truth means more to me
than a vault filled with the purest gold.
128Every word you speak, every truth revealed, is always right
and beautiful to me, for I hate what is phony or false.
I Long to Obey You
129Your marvelous words are living miracles;
no wonder I long to obey everything you say.
130Break open your Word within me until revelation-light shines out!
Those with open hearts are given insight into your plans.
131I open my mouth and inhale the Word of God
because I crave the revelation of your commands.
132Turn your heart to me, Lord, and show me your grace
like you do to every one of your godly lovers.
133Prepare before me a path filled with your promises,
and don’t allow even one sin to have dominion over me.
134Rescue me from the oppression of ungodly men
so that I can keep all your precepts.
135Smile on me, # 119:135 Or “Cause your face to shine on me.” your loving servant.
Instruct me in what is right in your eyes.
136When I witness the rebellious breaking your laws,
it makes me weep uncontrollably!
His Word Is True
137Lord, your judgments reveal your righteousness,
and your verdicts are always fair.
138The motive behind your every word is pure,
and your teachings are remarkably faithful and true.
139I’ve been consumed with a furious passion to do what’s right,
all because of the way my enemies disrespect your laws.
140All your promises glow with fire; # 119:140 As translated from the Septuagint and implied in the Hebrew.
that’s why I’m a lover of your Word.
141Even though I’m considered insignificant and despised
by the world, I’ll never abandon your ways.
142Your righteousness has no end; it is everlasting,
and your rules are perfectly fair.
143Even though my troubles overwhelm me with anguish,
I still delight and cherish every message you speak to me.
144Give me more revelation so that I can live for you,
for nothing is more pure and eternal than your truth.
Save Me, God
145Answer my passionate prayer, O Lord,
and I’ll obey everything you say.
146Save me, God, and I’ll follow your every instruction.
147Before the day dawns, I’ll be crying out for help
and wrapping your words into my life.
148I lie awake every night pondering your promises to me.
149Lord, listen to my heart’s cry, for I know your love is real for me;
breathe life into me again by the revelation of your justice.
150Here they come—these lawless rebels are coming near,
but they are all so far away from your laws.
151God, you are near me always, so close to me;
every one of your commands reveals truth.
152I’ve known all along how true and unchanging
is every word you speak, established forever!
Breathe Life into Me Again
153Look upon all my misery and come be my hero to rescue me,
for I will never forget what you’ve revealed to me.
154Take my side and defend me in these sufferings;
redeem me and revive me, just like you promised you would.
155The wicked are so far from salvation,
for they could not care less about your message of truth.
156Your tender mercies are what I need, O God;
give me back my life again
through the revelation of your judgments.
157I have so many enemies who persecute me,
yet I won’t swerve from following your ways.
158I grieve when I see how the faithless ones live,
for they just walk away from your promises.
159Lord, see how much I truly love your instructions.
So in your tender kindness, breathe life into me again.
160The sum total of all your words adds up to absolute truth,
and every one of your righteous decrees is everlasting.
Devoted to God’s Word
161The powerful elite have persecuted me without a cause,
but my heart trembles in awe because of your miracle-words.
162Your promises are the source of my bubbling joy;
the revelation of your Word thrills me
like one who has discovered hidden treasure.
163I despise every lie and hate every falsehood,
for I am passionate about keeping your precepts.
164I stop to praise you seven times a day,
all because your ways are perfect!
165There is such a great peace and well-being that comes
to the lovers of your Word, and they will never be offended.
166Lord, I’m longing for more of your salvation,
for I want to do what pleases you.
167My love for your ways is indescribable;
in my innermost being I want to follow them perfectly!
168I will keep your instructions and follow your counsel;
all my ways are an open book before you.
I Want to Follow You
169Lord, listen to my prayer. It’s like a sacrifice I bring to you;
I must have more revelation of your Word!
170Take my words to heart when I ask you, Lord;
rescue me, just like you promised!
171I offer you my joyous praise for all that you’ve taught me.
172Your wonderful words will become my song of worship,
for everything you’ve commanded is perfect and true.
173Place your hands of strength and favor upon me,
for I’ve made my choice to follow your ways.
174I wait for your deliverance, O Lord,
for your words thrill me like nothing else!
175Invigorate my life so that I can praise you even more,
and may your truth be my strength!
176I’ll never forget what you’ve taught me, Lord,
but when I wander off and lose my way,
come after me, for I am your beloved!