Psalm 119:17-24

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Gimel

17  Deal bountifully with your servant, 

that I may live and keep your word. 

18  Open my eyes, that I may behold 

wondrous things out of your law. 

19  I am a sojourner on the earth; 

hide not your commandments from me! 

20  My soul is consumed with longing 

for your rules at all times. 

21  You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, 

who wander from your commandments. 

22  Take away from me scorn and contempt, 

for I have kept your testimonies. 

23  Even though princes sit plotting against me, 

your servant will meditate on your statutes. 

24  Your testimonies are my delight; 

they are my counselors (ESV). 

 In the last stanza the psalmist referred to himself as the Lord’s student and in the opening of this stanza he refers to himself as the Lord’s servant. The psalmist “does not accept God’s blessing and then proceed to do as he pleases, but he humbly takes his place before the Lord, his Master, whom he asks to deal [bountifully] with him. His reasonable response to the Lord’s goodness is obedience that keeps his word” (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 406).

Verses 17-18 each begin with prayers in the form of imperatives followed by purpose clauses. The first imperative is deal bountifully. In the Psalter, bounty has the “connotation of deliverance” (A. Ross, Psalms 90-150 KEL, 2016, p. 483). When the psalmist here prays that the Lord will deal bountifully with him it is so that he can live and keep the Lord’s Word (purpose clause).

The second prayer is for God to open his eyes. “In both the OT and the NT, sight is a frequent metaphor for understanding (see Gen 3:5; Eph 1:17–18). Apart from divine revelation and illumination, humans are blind, but the psalmist calls on the Lord to open his eyes so that he would be able to see the extraordinary things in his instruction” (Estes, p. 406).  No one will ever out know God’s law/instruction and it is important to remember “…not everyone who reads God’s word has the spiritual understanding to appropriate it correctly (see Matt. 6:22–23; 7:3–5; John 9:39–41)” (Ross, pp. 483-484).

The psalmist moves from calling himself servant to sojourner (v. 19). In the Ancient Near East (ANE) the poor, widow, orphan, sojourner/foreigner were “especially vulnerable and in need of protection” (Estes, p. 406). The psalmist knows that the Lord cares for the poor, widows, orphans and sojourners (Deut 10:18). “In this context, in which the psalmist lives among those who do not share his godly values and commitments, he needs direction from the Lord, so he asks the Lord to make his commands clear to him” (Estes, p. 407). 

In verse 20 the psalmist refers to his soul (nefesh). In Hebrew nefesh derives from the word for neck and it means life source, whole inner being. The psalmist here is saying that his life source, his entire inner being is consumed with loving God’s rules/just decrees. “It is evident that he passionately desires God’s direction for his life” (Estes, p. 407).

The psalmist compares his obedience (v. 22) to the disobedience of the insolent (v. 21). “Even though he has obeyed the Lord, he has received contempt from his wicked oppressors because living by God’s word is not a guarantee of a pain-free life in a sinful world. He is confident, however, that the Lord can thwart those who threaten him, and he entrusts his plight into God’s hands” (Estes, p. 407).

Even though princes (magistrates) plot against the psalmist, he as the Lord’s servant will meditate and delight in His Word because they are his counselors (vv. 23-24).

God’s Word gives comfort and guidance in times of difficulty and distress. Believers today need God’s wisdom and discernment now more than ever; testing and holding everything we read and hear up to the light of God’s Word. May our nefesh be completely consumed in desiring God and His Word.

Lord God, thank You that You reveal Yourself to us through Your Word. Thank You that Your Word brings life and not death for those who believe the Good News of Jesus Christ. Lord, for the reader who does not know You Lord, may they seek You today while there is still time. Lord God, may we follow the example of this psalmist desiring and meditating on Your Word to help us in these darkening and difficult times. Lord God, help us to be a people whose entire being is consumed with You and Your Word rather than being consumed with the things of this world. Lord God, thank You for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

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Blue Collar Theologian

My name is Mandy Sweigart-Quinn, I live in Lancaster, PA and I am a “Blue Collar Theologian.” I love Jesus! I am passionate about His Word (The Holy Bible)! I come alive when I can encourage others in their walk with Jesus (whether by writing or speaking). As a “Blue Collar Theologian” it is my aim to live/practice/work out my Christian hope with sincerity, authenticity and genuineness. As a “Blue Collar Theologian,” I strive to meet people right where they are (“Incarnational Theology”). I graduated in May 2019 from Capital Seminary and Graduate School with a Master's in Biblical Studies. I am a passionate, excited and enthusiastic person! I love flowers, sports and sunsets. Since January 2, 2018 I have had the privilege of being married to Nathan.

48 thoughts on “Psalm 119:17-24”

  1. Mandy, this is a good reminder to ask/pray GOD to 1) help us understand and illuminate, and direct our lives by His Word, and 2) strengthen us as sojourners in the midst of a fallen world and people (and the pain they will cause). Reading and praying with you, seven minutes ago. Blessings to you, Nathan, and your family!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so thankful for the Spirit’s help in understanding His Word. I am also thankful that the Holy Spirit will help us to discern what listen to or read in regards to Bible commentaries, sermons etc. It seems like everyday we need more and more of God’s strength to sojourn/traverse this fallen world. So thankful to be on the journey with you! Love and blessings to you and your family!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really love this series you are doing on Psalm 119.

    This nails it: “God’s Word gives comfort and guidance in times of difficulty and distress. Believers today need God’s wisdom and discernment now more than ever; testing and holding everything we read and hear up to the light of God’s Word. May our nefesh be completely consumed in desiring God and His Word.”

    Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Verse 18 stood out. I prayed in light of it to see more insight to love God more, and to be able to share that with others too.
    Love this: you noted the psalmist referred to himself as the Lord’s student then Lord’s servant then servant to sojourner.
    Always appreciate the lexical and grammatical statements of what’s found in the Hebrew text from these posts from you. I look forward to the next stanza

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Mandy for yet another encouraging Bible study on this great Psalm. How well you highlight the need to seek God’s enlightenment of His Word in times of trial and/or persecution. Rather than giving in to despair let us delve deep into the riches of His Word!
    God bless you my wee sister.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mandy loveing this study even the comments. So much treasure. I was late to class and tried to catch up but each lesson is worthy of a days meditation or more. I’ll try to do better keeping up but feel the need to revisit the last two for proper prayer and meditation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Dave! Thank you for encouraging me with your enjoyment of these posts! I appreciate that you read and meditate on them whenever it is that you get to them! I am thankful that we are on this journey together! Blessings to you and your family!!!

      Like

  6. This study is so dear to me Mandy, I love every word. My Bible says, v 19, “I am a stranger on earth” – that’s what I want to be! Just as Peter describes us, “aliens and strangers in this world”.
    And may I share on v 24?
    During a time when my life was unraveling with betrayal, crisis and loss, I turned to a few sisters & then the church for counsel. God closed every door, which only crushed me more. THEN, in my study I read 119:24. The words spoke right into my heart. Yes Lord! You and Your word are my counselors!
    My fellowship in God’s word became richer as He alone counseled me, day by day, bringing healing. He set my feet on solid ground.
    Thank you precious sister for pouring these living waters through your posts! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we should be “strangers on earth” and too often we are permanent residents. Thank you for sharing your, story!! You are a wise woman and I am SO thankful for your wisdom and friendship in my life!! Jesus loves you and so do I!

      Ps: have you seen my comments on your blog? I am not sure if they are going to the WP abyss!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so enjoying walking through this Psalm with you and reading the Comments. V 18 is my constant prayer. And v19 is what I always proclaim “This world is not my home”
    Blessings dear sister.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Crissy, I am SO thankful for you and Lisa Beth who consistently remind us that this world is not our home, that we are strangers who are in the world but not of the world. V18 is a good one to pray! I need to adopt that as my constant prayer too!! Love and blessings sister! Ps are you watching Wimbledon?! If so, I wonder if Nick will have the stamina and effort to play well? Or maybe you’re a Rafa gal?!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t been watching the championships. Too much going on in my life at the moment. But I am definitely not Rafa gal 😀. Let’s hope Nick does his thing and does it well.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Good, comforting verses.❤️

    I especially love these words from verse 20, ‘My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.’ Just love the passion there.
    Good break down over the verses!! Encouraging!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Alicia! That verse stood out to me as well! I want my life source, my entire inner being to be consumed with God at all times and not the things of this world. How my life would be different if I did do! How is your summer so far?! Love, hugs and blessings!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was actually just checking in on your post so I could get the reference of that specific verse and write it out on a notecard!❤️

        We’ve had a bit of ups and downs this summer but going alright..I just messaged you some prayer requests and in the mix of those downers we vacationed in Texas last week which was a huge highlight that I’ll blog about today.❤️
        I hope yours is going well! I loved your boating adventure!🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Verse 18 is something I pray often before sitting with scripture, for God to open my eyes so that He will reveal biblical truth and treasures.
    Loving this series of posts you are doing on this Psalm.
    Blessings Mandy 🌺🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Manu, I will be honest, I need to follow your example and start my time with the Lord with Ps 119:18 or something like that! I used to pray Ps 139:23-24 for the Lord to search me, but I haven’t done that lately, I just read. I am thankful for you sharing this! Thank you for your encouragement with these posts, I am looking forward to your post in Jeremiah tomorrow! Love, hugs and blessings!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for saying that Mandy but I tend to forget it too and start reading. But it is wonderful to whisper that verse and then read the word. I have not said Ps139:23-24, that is something I might consider doing.
        🤗🌺

        Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem! Thanks for asking! It’s just today ended up very busy with helping my parents and hence I’m slow on the blog and reading others page 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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