Psalm 119 is the longest psalm in the Bible as well as being the longest chapter in the Bible. We will be taking 7 blogs to cover this amazing chapter.
The Hebrew alphabet is made up of 22 letters and this psalm is divided up into 22 stanzas (or sections) each representing a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Within each stanza are 8 verses, with each verse also beginning with that particular letter of the alphabet (for a total of 176 verses). For example, the first 8 verses of Psalm 119 (the first stanza) represent the Hebrew letter aleph and each of those 8 verses also begin with the letter aleph. Let’s dive in.
Psalm 119 in general magnifies God’s Word and makes it honourable. Look for the following 10 words throughout the psalm which are basically synonyms for God’s Word.
Aleph (verses 1-8)
Almost every single verse in Psalm 119 are written or spoken to God with the exception of a few verses. The first 3 verses of the psalm are one of those exceptions where the psalmist makes a declaration of blessing for those who follow the Word of God. Verses 4-8 show his desire for blessing by following the Lord’s decrees.
Beth (verses 9-16)
The word “beth” also means “a house” and it has been suggested by some that these verses tell us how to make our heart a house for the Word of God. How do we do that? By keeping our life pure and meditating joyfully on the Word of God.
Gimel (verses 17-24)
In this section we can observe a prayer for blessing so God’s Word may be kept (vs. 17), a prayer for understanding of God’s Word (vs. 18), a prayer for longing of God’s Word (vs. 19-20) and a prayer for refuge in God’s Word. (vs. 21-14)
Interpretation and Application
As a young child I memorized Psalm 119:11 and often wondered what it really meant to hide God’s Word in my heart. As an adult, this verse has become much more meaningful. His Word is hidden, where no one can see it, but also as a result of being hidden, it is also safe where no one can take it away. As I get older I find it harder and harder to memorize scripture, but because I did so much as a child I find that verses (although maybe not the exact references) spring to mind in times when I am trying to recall it in moments of need. If ever I were to be faced without having access to the scriptures, I at least have some recollection of some passages of the precious Word of God. It has become ingrained in my heart and mind. Because of that I have the benefit of not sinning against the Lord. Hiding His Word in my heart has become my defense against sin. I would challenge you to try to memorize some of these wonderful truths, no matter how young or old you are!
Father, as we navigate through Psalm 119, reveal to us Your truth and help us to appreciate Your Word. We pray that we will hide Your Word in our hearts and be able to recall it to those who don’t know You. Amen.
Steve Green - I Have Hidden Your Word Psalm 119:11&9
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.