Recall the things from the introductory lesson that you wanted to keep in mind as you study the text of Psalm 119.
Don’t forget to read in complete sentences instead of stopping at the end of each verse.
Recall the themes you’ve been noticing in Psalm 119. Watch for those themes to be repeated in today’s and future passages. You may wish to make a list of those themes to refer to throughout this study.
Questions to Consider
1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson. Does that passage relate to this week’s passage? How? Do you notice any repeated words, thoughts, or themes?
2. Notice the structure of 33-39. How does each sentence start? Is it a declaration, a question, an exclamation, or an imperative (request or command)? Who is doing the requesting? To whom? For whom? (This will be easier to see if you’ll make a verse by verse list, starting with “Teach me…” in 33.) Does verse 40 start the same way? What about the end of 40? How is this passage “bookended” (beginning of 33, end of 40)? What is the main idea of these imperatives?
Now notice how each verse (33-39) concludes. We’ve seen the initial imperative (“Do this”) of each verse. The structure of the conclusion of each verse is “…so that ______.” How would you fill in that blank with a description of the conclusions of the verses? (Again, this is easier if you make a verse by verse list, starting with, “and I will keep it” in 33.) What is the main idea of these conclusions?
How does this passage demonstrate – both in content and in structure – that God must take the initiative in illuminating the psalmist’s understanding of the Word, and that, when God does this, blessings follow? How does the structure reinforce the content? Does the psalmist want God to take this initiative? Why? What are the blessings that result from God increasing the psalmist’s understanding of, love for, and obedience to His Word? What are your thoughts on God taking the initiative in illuminating your understanding of His Word? What are some blessings you’ve experienced as God has increased your understanding of, love for, and obedience to His Word?
3. In verse 37, what might the psalmist have meant by “worthless things” in his life? Could they, in general, have been some of the same worthless things in your life? Think about the things on which you spend your time. What are some worthless things you need to ask God to turn your eyes from in order that He might give you a richer life in His ways? What would He need to turn your eyes and your focus to in order to accomplish this? Connect the thought in verse 37 with these verses in John.
4. What key word do verses 41, 47, and 48 all have in common? This is the first appearance of this word in Psalm 119. Notice how it bookends this section (41-48). Who is the initiator of love (41)? What is the psalmist’s response (47-48) to God’s love coming to him (41)? How does 1 John 4:19 echo this concept?
5. Until this section (41-48) the psalmist’s main focus has been on his own personal relationship to God’s Word, and, through God’s Word, to God Himself. He has focused primarily on God, and secondarily on himself (e.g. “teach me,” “lead me,” etc.). In this passage, he brings others into the mix. Who are the others he speaks of in 42 and 46?
42- How does the content of God’s Word help us to answer scoffers and taunters? How does the Christian character that studying the Word builds help us to answer scoffers and taunters?
46- How do both the content of God’s Word and the character His Word builds in us help us to answer or testify to His goodness before those who have more power or influence than we do, or are intimidating? Why is the psalmist confident he will not ultimately be put to shame (46-47- Remember, read all the way to the end of the sentence.)? What if the “king” ridicules (or worse) the psalmist’s beliefs and testimony, or mocks God?
Explain how our confidence and security hinges on Who or what we trust in.
6. Verse 43 is the psalmist’s first use of the word “hope”. Some people believe, and some religions teach that our only hope of Heaven or being right with God is in keeping God’s rules, being a “good person,” or for our good deeds to outweigh the bad. Is that what the psalmist is saying in this verse? Why or why not, and how do you know? If an unsaved friend tried to use this verse to justify her belief that God is happy with her because she keeps His rules, how would you answer her? Consider verse 43 in light of John 6:68.
7. What is the difference between the “wide place” in 44-45 and the “wide gate” in Matthew 7:13-14? Can you walk in the “wide place” if you enter through the “wide gate”?
8. What have you learned from today’s passage about God being the initiator of illumination and love? What about other spiritual matters? Can you think of any spiritual matter in which man is the initiator rather than God?
Praying Psalm 119
Have you ever tried praying the psalms? I want to encourage you to try praying part of Psalm 119 back to God each week of this study. (If you’re familiar with my other studies, this will take the place of the weekly “Homework” section.)
The psalms are uniquely suited for praying back to God, both verbatim and conceptually, because they are often written as prayers – as though the psalmist is talking to God. Did you notice that about today’s passage? In which verses?
What is a concept or thought for your own life that the Holy Spirit impressed on your heart or convicted you about from today’s passage? Is there a particular verse(s), or maybe the whole passage, that you would like to pray back to God verbatim? Whatever your “prayer point” from today’s lesson, pray it at least daily until we get to the next lesson.