Psalm 119:145-152

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145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
I will keep your statutes.
146 I call to you; save me,
that I may observe your testimonies.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;
they are far from your law.
151 But you are near, O Lord,
and all your commandments are true.
152 Long have I known from your testimonies
that you have founded them forever.

There is a deep crying out to the Lord for His help in this stanza. Based on the Lord’s righteousness of the last stanza (vv 137-144) and as he did in verse 10, the psalmist cries to the Lord with his whole heart (mind, will and emotions) to answer him (qal, imperative, 2ms with 1 cs suffix) so that he can keep His statutes (v 145).

The psalmist urgently and earnestly cries to the Lord to save him (hiphil, imperative, 2ms with 1cs suffix) so that he can observe the Lord’s testimonies (v 146). The psalmist is crying out to God to cause his salvation “from the unbelievers who were following after him with an evil intent (v. 150). The answer to this prayer will mean that he will be able to continue keeping the statutes and testimonies. It may be that the oppression he was facing hindered him from fully and freely keeping the law, having to spend more time concerned with dealing with the wicked” (A. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms 90-150 KEL, 2016, p. 577).

Estes states, “It is possible that v. 146b implies that he needs to be delivered so that he can keep the Lord’s decrees, perhaps indicating that his adversity has hindered him from getting to the temple for worship; but that specific setting cannot be proven definitively from the language of Psalm 119” (Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 434). Regardless he is still committed to obeying the Lord’s statutes and testimonies.

Verses 147-148 are a merism (rhetorical device/figure of speech that combines two contrasting words to refer to an entity) covering all of the day and the night. The psalmist prays before dawn for help and through the watches of the night. “Throughout the night he loves to “meditate” (cf. vv. 15, 23, 27, 48, 99) on God’s “promises.” Having put his “hope” in God’s word, he waits for the Lord to come through” (W. VanGemeren, Psalms REBC, 2008, p. 885).

It is wise to remember the psalmist is not “attempting to resolve the problem himself, he places his plight into the Lord’s hands. His crisis does not control him, but he stays committed to the Lord, and he waits for his word to reassure him…As he meditates on the word of God during the quiet of the night, what he knows is transformed into how he lives as he assimilates God’s truth into his life” (Estes, p. 434).

The psalmist continues his lament petitioning God to hear his voice according to His covenant faithfulness (hesed) and to give him life based on His justice (v 149). “Because the Lord is the one who created life, he can revive life when it is flagging (Estes, p. 434). The psalmist in verse 150 makes clear the occasion that prompted the psalmist’s petition in verses 145-149. His foes with their wicked, evil agenda are drawing near to him. Evil purposes (zimmâ) here “refers to sinful schemes…Even though he senses that he is nearly in their grasp, he views his problem through a theological lens rather than just as personal crisis. In following after wickedness, his enemies have departed far from God’s instruction, so the psalmist’s foes are fundamentally the Lord’s foes as well” (Estes, p. 434).

The psalmist preaches to himself that while his foes are drawing near, the Lord Himself is near to him and that all His commandments are true (v 151). The Lord being near to him means more to him than whatever his foes are seeking to do to him. “Subjectively, one can cope with schemers being near if Yhwh is near; and objectively, their being near will not mean their schemes succeed if Yhwh is near. Likewise, the fact that they are far from Yhwh’s teaching counts for less (subjectively and objectively) in light of Yhwh’s commands being true and trustworthy, reliable guides to conduct that matches the way the world really is and to conduct Yhwh will honor” (J. Goldingay, Psalms 90-150 BCOT, 2006, p. 436).

The psalmist concludes this stanza with a statement that he has known for a long time the Lord’s testimonies are the firm foundation forever (v 151). “The psalmist’s life from way back has been based on studying Yhwh’s declarations, becoming convinced by their wisdom and their promises, and thus acknowledging from them that they indeed came from Yhwh and that therefore they will stand forever (cf. vv. 142, 144); they will share in Yhwh’s eternity (cf. v. 89). “Of old” and “forever” thus embrace the entire time of the psalmist’s human life” (Goldingay, p. 436).

Father God, may You be the One that we cry out to in the morning and in the night. May we mediate on Your Word all the day long. Lord God, cultivate in us to be like the psalmist where You Word is our Light, Life and Shield. Thank You God that we live on the other side of the Cross knowing that Jesus is the One who saves. Lord God, remind us that You have not saved Your people to live for themselves but to live for You! Lord God, persecution is coming and in many places it is indeed here, help us all to meditate on Your Word hiding it in our hearts. Lord God, may we never forget that You are near to us in our sufferings and afflictions. May we never forget that You are nearer to us than our oppressors because Your Spirit indwells us. May we never forget in our times of trials and hardships that Your Word is True.

Lord for the reader who has been a believer for a long time or a new believer thank You and praise You that Your Word is our firm foundation. Thank You Lord that there will be a day when the evil doers who harm You and Your people will be held accountable. Lord God, may today be the day of salvation for the reader who does not know Christ. Lord God, thank You for today. 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.

17 thoughts on “Psalm 119:145-152”

  1. You really are working hard on these psalm 119 studies Mandy! They truly are a blessing. To know He is closely guarding and guiding us with His Word is a beautiful encouragement, no matter what the world throws at us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am committed to finishing this psalm before the end of the year!!! I have some other writings I would like to share on Shepherds for a Christmas theme and Micah for our future hope. I admire you and Jimmy for all the posts y’all write!!! Thank you for reading this and encouraging me! Love and blessings to you and Susan!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your observation: “The psalmist urgently and earnestly cries to the Lord to save him (hiphil, imperative, 2ms with 1cs suffix) so that he can observe the Lord’s testimonies (v 146).” This shows how when we are saved we are not saved to do nothing or do our own trivial things but rather to obey God. We must love God’s law while not trusting in the law and our own effort with the law specifically to save us.
    Good observation of the merism in verses 147-148; the Psalms have so many literary devices!
    Your prayers are always edifying and thoughtful. Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The literary devices are an area where I didn’t spend as much time as I could/should. I was more interested in the grammar than in showcasing than the different forms of parallelism. Here I thought was an easy one for people to see with the day and night reference. I am thankful for you picking up on this! The contrasts are pretty obvious in this psalm but it never ceases to amaze me how often times the b cola is more so or sharper than the a. Thank you for your encouragement, I appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So many believers are living for themselves and it breaks my heart. Submission and obedience are so taboo in our anything goes culture. Praise God for the Spirit who helps us, manifesting His fruit and helping us stay the course until we are home with the Lord!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Still loving this study Mandy!
    “With my whole heart I cry” I think this is what shakes heaven. Perhaps God waits to answer so He may capture our whole heart and alone get the glory.
    Mandy, I’m going to send you a pic of a hand made Pakistani rug. A few years ago a ministry was raising funds by making and selling these rugs, each one had a scripture woven into it. You couldn’t choose or know what verse it would be.
    Well. As someone whose struggled with insomnia frequently since childhood, I was SO surprised to get this of all scriptures, in caps, “LIE AWAKE AT NIGHT THINKING OF YOUR PROMISES” Ps 119:148
    I wanted to hang it up but thought I’d toss and turn all night! God must have a reason…
    Thank you sister, you’re such a blessing! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This has encouraged my heart (mind, will and emotions) and my soul (my life source, entire being). As a person who has slept 7 hours in two days, I absolutely love how God has used v 148 to speak to you. I will totally commit your photo to my memory because I am often awake in the night. I have always been an awful sleeper and this encourages me to pray and think of God even more in my sleeplessness!!! I love how God orchestrated it for you to receive that rug, such a testament and I am so so thankful you have shared this! You are such a blessing to me! Lord of love and hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mandy,
    I love the immersive aspect of your studies, and in this one somehow I feel as if the “theological lens” of the psalmist becomes a focus for us to learn from him. As you write, “he views his problem through a theological lens rather than just as personal crisis.” This is such an important truth to digest and apply for ourselves, and I feel challenged to make this more a pattern of my thoughts. Yes, the LORD is near, closer than anything else in our lives by His Spirit. And the psalmist is constantly talking to God. In the merism you point out, the psalmist is rehearsing what he does to increase his communion with Him. Somehow, your meditation on this passage just drove home to me the importance of conversing with our Lord, because He IS near. Thank you Mandy for being so thorough and inspiring our further devotion to our Lord and for your prayer. Blessings, sister, and may you grow from strength to strength in Him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shalom, Dora! What a gift you are! In a time when anxiety and trials are on the rise, God’s nearness in our communication with Him needs to be our anchor and healing balm. Even if He doesn’t “feel” near we need to preach to ourselves that He is near and even more so in our brokenness. I am so thankful this is leading you to meditate more on our Triune God! Jesus loves you and so do I!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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