23 Days In The Word About The Word
Day 1 – Read Psalm 119 (in its entirety) – Make notes on common themes you see
“This psalm celebrates the gift of God’s Torah, or covenant instruction, as the perfect guide for life. It thus belongs conceptually with Psalm 19 and overlaps with such wisdom psalms as Psalms 1 and 112. It is far more extensive, and far more elaborate, than they are; it is the longest psalm (and the longest chapter in the Bible, longer than many of the books) and the most carefully structured. By singing and praying its contents, one expresses heartfelt admiration to God, who has so lovingly bestowed this great gift upon his people, and fervent yearning for one’s personal life to reflect the loveliness and goodness of the Torah. The psalm’s structure observes a strict acrostic pattern (see ESV footnote at 119:1): there are 22 stanzas of eight verses each, following the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in sequence. Within a stanza, the first word of each verse begins with the same letter, the letter to which the entire stanza corresponds. This pattern severely limits the author’s liberty in sustaining his flow of thought, but this does not hinder the psalm from accomplishing its goal, which is to enable God’s people to admire his Word so strongly that they will work and pray hard to have it shape their character and conduct. The cumulative impact of the psalm is huge.” (ESV Study Bible, Crossway, 2008)
“Many superficial readers have imagined that it harps upon one string, and abounds in pious repetitions and redundancies; but this arises from the shallowness of the reader's own mind: those who have studied this divine hymn, and carefully noted each line of it, are amazed at the variety and profundity of the thought. Using only a few words, the writer has produced permutations and combinations of meaning' which display his holy familiarity with his subject, and the sanctified ingenuity of his mind.
“The one theme of this Psalm is the word of the Lord. The Psalmist sets his subject in many lights, and treats of it in divers ways, but he seldom omits to mention the word of the Lord in each verse under some one or other of the many names by which he knows it; and even if the name be not there, the subject is still heartily pursued in every stanza. He who wrote this wonderful song was saturated with those books of Scripture which he possessed. Andrew Bonar tells of a simple Christian in a farmhouse who had meditated the Bible through three times. This is precisely what this Psalmist had done, — he had gone past reading into meditation.
“Our best improvement of this sacred composition will come through getting our minds into intense sympathy with its subject. In order to this, we might do well to commit it to memory. Philip Henry's daughter wrote in her diary, “I have of late taken some pains to learn by heart Psalm 119, and have made some progress therein.” She was a sensible, godly woman.
“Having rehearsed the subject-matter of this golden Psalm, we should still further consider the fullness, certainty, clearness, and sweetness of the word of Gad, since by such reflections we are likely to be stirred up to a warm affection for it. What favored beings are those to whom the Eternal God has written a letter in his own hand and style! What ardor of devotion, what diligence of composition, can produce a worthy eulogium for the divine testimonies! If ever one such has fallen from the pen of man it is this 119th Psalm, which might well be called the holy soul's soliloquy before an open Bible.
“This sacred ode is a little Bible, the Scriptures condensed, a mass of Bibline, Holy Writ rewritten in holy emotions and actions. The Germans called it “The Christian’s golden A B C of the praise, love, power, and use of the Word of God.” Blessed are they who can read and understand these saintly aphorisms: they shall find golden apples in this true Hesperides, and come to reckon that this Psalm, like the whole Scripture which it praises, is a pearl island, or, better still, a garden of sweet flowers.
“The study of this sacred song has often proved helpful to holy men. Henry Martyn mentions it again and again in his diary; as for instance — “I experienced a solemn gladness in learning this part, MEM, of the 119th Psalm.” William Wilberforce makes this record during a time of political trouble: “Walked from Hyde Park Corner repeating the 119th Psalm in great comfort.” Pascal, in the reading of this holy song, seemed to pass out of himself in holy rapture.” (Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David)