When Paul was writing to the Thessalonians in his first letter and came to the closing section in which he was accustomed to give some practical applications of the earlier teaching, one thing he told these believers was to “pray continually,” that is, at all times (1 Thess. 5:17). The author of Psalm 119 seems to have learned this lesson too, since the next pair of verses speaks of his daily prayer pattern.

The second New Testament passage we are going to look at is from the book of James. James has a lot to say about prayer, and toward the end of the book he picks up on this important theme again, saying that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (5:16). 

We are coming near the end of Psalm 119, so it is not surprising that the danger that has threatened the psalmist all along should emerge again strongly, though not for the final time. It has to do with his relentless enemies. The presence of these enemies has been alluded to earlier.1 But verses 145-152 seem to concentrate on this reality: “I call out to you; save me" (v. 146); “I rise before dawn and cry for help" (v. 147); “Those who devise wicked schemes are near” (v. 150). 

 

This is another reason why the psalmist knew that God's words are wonderful. It is because they are altogether righteous. Two thoughts go together in these references. First, the source of righteousness is the character of God (“Righteous are you, O LORD,” v. 137; "Your righteousness is everlasting,” v. 142). Second, the Law of God gives expression to that righteousness (“Your laws are right,” v. 137; “The statutes you have laid down are righteous,” v. 138; “Your statutes are forever right,” v. 144). A way we might express this is to say that the Bible mirrors the character of God. 

The fourth reason the psalmist finds the Scriptures to be wonderful is because God himself is in them and because he reveals himself to the one who studies them. "Make your face shine upon your servant," he says (v. 135). This verse is a conscious echo of the great Old Testament benediction, known as the Aaronic blessing: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Num. 6:24-26).