Needing More

Psalm 119:1-8

Interesting word, enthusiasm. It’s derived from two Greek terms, en (meaning “in”) and theos (meaning “God”), carrying the idea of being inspired. In the original sense of the word, a person was so overtaken with the presence of God, he or she could barely contain the excitement. That makes sense. The truth of God applied to our circumstances brings a burst of enthusiasm nothing else can provide.

New homes, boats, cars, and clothes give us a temporary “high”—until the payments grind on. A new job is exciting, but that dries up in a few months. A new marriage partner makes us feel “up,” until the daily grind begins to erode the fun memories of a fantasy honeymoon. All those things may eventually leave us feeling responsible or disappointed or disillusioned, sometimes even a little bored. We need something more than what the world can provide, something more substantial. We need “God in.”

Psalm 119—the longest song in the ancient hymnal—is a song that is full of “God in” kind of statements. Over and over it affirms the value of having God’s Word in our lives. It keeps pounding away on that theme with a heavy, powerful beat to the music. There is one statement after another announcing the joys, the fresh motivation, the unique benefits of God’s Book in our lives. Let’s get a grasp of the whole song.

The Passage and Its Pattern

This is the longest song. Not only that, it is the longest chapter in the whole Bible, comprised of 176 verses. No other chapter even comes close in length.

The song has an unusual feature that can only be appreciated in Hebrew. Most Bibles follow the original structure of the song by dividing it into twenty-two sections, eight verses each. Each section has a title, such as “Aleph,” “Beth,” “Gimel,” etc. These words are really not words at all, but the letters that comprise the Hebrew alphabet. There are twenty-two letters in all, which explains the song’s composition in twenty-two sections. Within each section of this ancient hymn, each verse begins with the same Hebrew letter. In other words, all eight verses in the “Aleph” section of the psalm begin with the letter “Aleph.” This poetical structure called “acrostic” made the song easier to memorize.

The psalm carries the Word of God as its theme. I have found only a very few verses that fail to mention the Scriptures. The composer employs several synonyms for Scripture throughout the song. Some are:

  • Word
  • Testimonies
  • Law
  • Judgments
  • Ways
  • Statutes
  • Paths
  • Commandments
  • Precepts
  • Ordinances

The purpose of the psalm is to give praise to God for His Word, and then demonstrate how we are to behave in relation to Scripture. An old German version of the Bible places the following description at the head of Psalm 119: “This is the Christian’s Golden ABCs of the praise, love, power, and use of the Word of God.”

The truth of God applied to our circumstances brings a burst of enthusiasm nothing else can provide.

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved. Used by permission.

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.

ఖచ్చితత్వం, స్పష్టత మరియు ఆచరణాత్మకత అన్నీ చార్లెస్ ఆర్. స్విన్డాల్ యొక్క బైబిల్-బోధనా పరిచర్యను వివరిస్తాయి. చక్ ఇన్సైట్ ఫర్ లివింగ్ కు బోర్డు ఛైర్మన్ మరియు డల్లాస్ థియోలాజికల్ సెమినరీకి ఛాన్సలర్. చక్ టెక్సాస్‌లోని ఫ్రిస్కోలోని స్టోన్‌బ్రయర్ కమ్యూనిటీ చర్చ్ యొక్క సీనియర్ పాస్టర్‌గా కూడా పనిచేస్తున్నారు, అక్కడ ఆయన చాలా ఇష్టపడేదాన్ని చేయగలుగుతున్నాడు-ఇష్టపడే హృదయాలకు బైబిల్ నేర్పిస్తున్నారు. ఆచరణాత్మక బైబిల్ అనువర్తనంపై ఆయన దృష్టి 1979 నుండి ఇన్సైట్ ఫర్ లివింగ్ రేడియో ప్రసారంలో వినబడుచున్నది.