Theme: Six Things We Need to Do
This stanza of Psalm 119 speaks of finding God, his love, and his comfort.
Scripture: Psalm 119:41-64
This idea of portion is what lies behind the key verse of this stanza. The writer is saying that, like the Levites, he wants his portion of divine blessing to be God himself, since nothing is better than that and nothing will ever fully satisfy his or anyone else’s heart but God himself. To possess God is truly to have everything.
It requires effort to acquire this treasure, however, because God is discovered in his Word—this is the single most important teaching of the psalm—and it requires effort to get to know the Bible. Therefore, in the remaining verses of this stanza we are encouraged in our study of the Bible by being reminded of what the psalmist did.
1. He sought God’s face (v. 58). To seek God’s face means to seek God himself, to labor at getting to know him on a personal basis. Will those who seek God earnestly find him? Of course! Jesus said of prayer in general, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). If that applies to such common things as food and clothing and a place to live, can we suppose that it will apply less to the pursuit of God? Those who seek God will surely find him.
2. He followed God’s statutes (v. 59). This means following after or living by God’s Word as a way of life. Blaise Pascal, the brilliant French philosopher and devout Christian, loved Psalm 119 a great deal. He is another person who had memorized it, and he called verse 59 “the turning point of man’s character and destiny.”1 He meant that it is vital for every person to consider his or her ways, understand that our ways are destructive and will lead us to destruction, and then make an about face and determine to go in God’s ways instead.
3. He obeyed God’s commands (v. 60). To find God is to find him who is the King of the universe and our Lord. Therefore, it is necessary and inevitable that we obey him. Jesus asked pointedly, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say” (Luke 6:46)?
4. He remembered God’s law (v. 61). One of the great problems with trying to live as a Christian is that we forget God’s law, indeed even his many mercies to us. The psalmist determined not to forget. He wanted to remember God’s law whatever the circumstances, so he might be encouraged by it and do it.
5. He thanked God for his laws (v. 62). The writer of this psalm is no grim pedant, merely plodding after God’s law with a dour determination to conform to it. He recognized that God’s law is good, the greatest of all treasures. Therefore, he thanked God for it. Indeed, he made God’s decrees the theme of his midnight melodies (vv. 54, 55).
6. He identified with others who also follow God’s precepts (v. 63). This is the last point, and it is an important one. For what the psalmist recognized is that he was not in this devoutly chosen way of life alone. There were others moving along the same path, other believers, and he was one of them. He wanted to be their friend, to encourage them and be encouraged by them. H. C. Leupold wrote that the last words of this stanza put the writer into “that select company of men who both fear the Lord and keep his precepts,” adding that “in the last analysis this is the procedure followed by all true children of God.”2 It is a great blessing to belong to the company of such saints.
1Herbert Lockyer, Sr., Psalms: A Devotional Commentary (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993), p. 558.
2H. C. Leupold, Exposition of the Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1969), p. 836.
What does the psalmist want as his divine portion?
How does the psalmist pursue knowing God?
What will always be the result when we earnestly seek God?
Review: Review the six actions of the psalmist. Determine if your life is consistent with these actions.
For Further Study: James Boice’s published sermons on the Psalms can be used for personal devotional reading, as well as for various group studies or Sunday school lessons. Order your copy of the three-volume paperback set and receive 25% off the regular price.