Prayer and the Word of God
Topic: Morning Sermons Scripture: Psalm 119:33–119:40
Psalm 119 is the longest psalm in the Bible. The psalm is an acrostic of twenty-two stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The eight poetic lines of each stanza begins with the same Hebrew letter.
The number eight may be connected to the eight Hebrew words that appear throughout the psalm related to its main theme. The words are translated as “statutes,” “law,” “paths,” “testimonies,” “precepts,” “commandments,” “rules,” and “word.” In five of the stanzas all eight Hebrew words occur, and every stanza has at least six of the eight.
In the verses we are studying today (vv. 33-40), the psalmist is beseeching the Lord for instruction in His law. The psalmist asks the Lord to give him understanding so that he could keep and observe His law with his “whole heart” (v. 34). He asks the Lord to lead him in the path of His commandments (v. 35), and then asks that the Lord would “incline his heart” (v. 36) to His testimonies. The psalmist realizes that his love for the Lord must have its source in God Himself. This theme is the reinforced throughout the rest of our text. God is the One who the psalmist entreats to “turn [his] eyes from looking at worthless things” (v. 37), “confirm to His servant His promise,” (v. 38), and to “turn away the reproach that he dreads” (v. 39).
The psalmist summarizes this stanza, where each line begins with the Hebrew letter, HE, with this statement of conviction: “Behold I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!” (v. 40). Would that that would be our prayer as well!