Reading the Word
Psalm 119:97–104 (ESV)
97 Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
Understanding and Applying the Word
Psalm 119 is the longest of the psalms. In fact, it is the longest chapter in the entire Bible, going on for 176 verses. Many do not realize that this psalm is an acrostic. The 176 verses are divided up into twenty-two stanzas with each stanza made up of eight lines. The eight lines of each stanza begin with successive letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Many English translations put headings at the beginning of each stanza to try to point this out, but our English translations lose the acrostic pattern.
Another thing that many readers miss is that Psalm 119 is focused entirely on the word of God. In every line of the psalm, God’s word is described using different synonyms. And the overarching message of the longest chapter of the Bible is that God’s word is wonderful. It brings life and wisdom and understanding. It is through the word of God that we know God and the salvation he gives. The word of God is to be cherished, which is why the psalmist proclaims, “Oh, how I love your law!” It truly is “sweeter than honey.” Let us pray that God would help us love his word as we should.
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