Psalm 119 Bible Study

Psalm 119: The Glory of God’s Word ~ Lesson 7

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Read Psalm 119:81-96

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 I/me/my >>> You/Your pattern in 81-83. Make a 2-column chart, and write all of the I/me/my’s on the left and all of the You/Your’s on the right. What does this teach us about how the psalmist regards God? How we should regard God? What does it teach us about God’s (and God’s Word’s) sufficiency and sovereignty in our suffering?

3. What is the overall theme of this section? Suffering can often be categorized in one of three ways: “deserved” suffering (suffering the direct consequences of your own sin), “undeserved” suffering (suffering as a result of someone else’s sin {abuse, being a victim of a crime, etc.} or as a result of living in a fallen world {illness, natural disasters, etc.}), and persecution (suffering as a direct result of your testimony of Christ). Which kind of suffering is the psalmist experiencing here? How does the psalmist characterize those persecuting him in 85-87, 95?

As Christians, Scripture teaches us to expect persecution for our testimony. Compare what the New Testament teaches us to expect regarding persecution with what the psalmist is describing here. How are the two similar or different?

Sometimes Christians equate “persecution” with martyrdom, physical torture, or imprisonment. Is that how the psalmist is describing his persecution? Second Timothy 3:12 says, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. Over the last 2000 years, have all Christians who lived godly lives been martyred, tortured, or imprisoned? If not, is this verse of Scripture untrue, or is it possible that we’re defining “persecution” incorrectly? If persecution is more of a spectrum, with martyrdom, torture, and imprisonment at the “most difficult” end, what kinds of things would be at the “easiest to endure” end? In the middle? Where, on the spectrum, would you say the psalmist’s persecution fell? Have you ever experienced persecution? Where, on the spectrum, did your persecution fall? (You may wish to read my article 4 Things You Need to Understand About Christian Persecution.)

4. How would you characterize the urgency of the psalmist’s plea in 84-86? Is our posture toward suffering that we are OK with God “taking His time” to alleviate it, or do we, like the psalmist, cry out, “How long must your servant endure?…Help me!” (84,86) when we’re suffering, do our minds go to the “How long, O Lord?” passages of Scripture, like this one, or are passages where God seems to help immediately and miraculously (e.g. parting the Red Sea, the provision of manna, raising the dead, etc.) our go to? Do we ever stop to think about how much “How long, O Lord?” went on prior to some of those seemingly immediate miracles? Why does God often seem to wait so long before alleviating our suffering?

In previous lessons we have seen the psalmist say that affliction taught him obedience to God and His Word, a concept that’s reiterated for Christians in the New Testament. What are some other aspects of godly character God grows us in when suffering lasts a long time? How, and in which verses, does the psalmist demonstrate in this passage that long and drawn out suffering teaches us endurance and dependence on God? What does the New Testament teach us about this?

What does today’s passage teach us about where our focus should be when we are being persecuted? How does keeping our focus on Christ help us in times of persecution?

5. Notice the structure of 89-96. The psalmist moves from the “macro” of God, His Word, and His work, to the “micro,” and back again to the “macro”. How does he do this in:

  • 89-91:
  • 92-95:
  • 96:

How do verses 89 and 96 “bookend” this section with the concepts that God’s Word is eternal, transcending the bounds of time (89), permanent, transcending the ravages of time (89), and limitless, transcending all temporal barriers and situations (96)? How are these characteristics rooted in the nature of God, Himself?

Explain how, even though – or maybe, because – God’s Word is eternal, permanent, and limitless, on the macro level, it is able to work within the framework or containment of the temporal on a micro level – human history, the bounds of the earth and the laws of nature, our circumstances, our human frailty, etc. How can something so vast be “contained” by our tiny little lives and circumstances? How does this characteristic of God’s Word help the psalmist, and us, during times of persecution?

Spend some time meditating on this characteristic of God and His Word, and let it lead you to worship Him.

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.

Suggested Memory Verse

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