This year at Come Fill Your Cup we have decided to focus on the theme “A Tree Planted by the Water: Rooted in God’s Word.” Throughout the year we have so many fun things planned that focus on really writing God’s word on our hearts. Already we have introduced you to our Psalm Bible reading plan and our new Bible journaling feature, Illuminations, but that is just the beginning. Each month we will be delving deep into the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119, which just so happens to be focused on the importance and benefits of God’s word. This chapter is divided into 22 sections, each corresponding to a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. We will begin our study today with Psalm 119 (Aleph).
How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the Lord.
How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,
Who seek Him with all their heart.
They also do no unrighteousness;
They walk in His ways.
You have ordained Your precepts,
That we should keep them diligently.
Oh that my ways may be established
To keep Your statutes!
Then I shall not be ashamed
When I look upon all Your commandments.
I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments.
I shall keep Your statutes;
Do not forsake me utterly!
-Psalm 119 (Aleph)
Hebrew poetry often uses a technique called parallelism, the writer will state a truth in one line and then restate it in a different way in the following line. This gives added emphasis to a particular point and also clarifies the issue being discussed. In Psalm 119 (Aleph) we see 8 lines of poetry all using Hebrew parallelism, so when breaking the text down, it is often easier to take two lines at a time (which also happens to be one verse).
The first three verses describe people who are “blessed.” In the Hebrew, this word means happy or fortunate. So according to the passage who is it that is blessed? Let’s take a look at these verses to find out. Verse 1 tells us it is those who walk in the blameless way, which in the second line of the verse is specified to be the law of the Lord. According to verse 2, the blessed are those who observe God’s testimonies (literally meaning laws) and seek him with their whole heart. Finally, in verse 3, the blessed person avoids unrighteousness and walks in God’s ways.
This is the main idea that will carry all the way through Psalm 119: Those who seek and follow God’s path will be blessed. It is often true that those who follow God’s precepts live very happy lives. When we avoid sinful behavior we also remove ourselves from the consequences of that behavior. However, it is not universally true that those who live godly lives will inherently have a life filled with earthly happiness. The blessing and joy come when we are able to look at things from a spiritual perspective and know that we have eternal life.
The remainder of Psalm 119 (Aleph) is spent making a request of God. This request isn’t that of prosperity or health, it is the simple request for strength to keep God’s commandments. The word used in Psalm 119:5 for “established” literally means to be firmly rooted in place. This is reminiscent of the tree in Psalm 1 (if you haven’t read it lately go do that now, I’ll wait). I cannot imagine a prayer that God would be more pleased to hear than that of someone requesting strength to keep His law.
Like the Psalmist did, we must continually keep our eyes focused on the importance of God’s law. Are you taking every opportunity to write God’s word on your heart? Do you view it as a blessing to be able to follow God’s commands or a burden? Do you pray daily for God to give you the strength to walk in His ways? Let us all strive to be the tree of Psalm 1 together this year so that we may strengthen ourselves and serve others!