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Exploring Psalm 119 from a scientist’s perspective: Aleph (2)

 Peter Gray-Read BSc MSc

 A double Blessing and
7 Menorahs to light up your life

 

Meditate with me on: ‘The Kings’ Psalm’     Psalm 119 – it’s fantastic
This psalm covers so much… 

It is an ongoing prayer; it has testimonies of Jahweh’s power and mercy, and testimonies of the writer’s experience of God.  It has declarations, professions, struggles, and triumphs it has intimacy and amazing insights and foresight – pointing to the Messiah

 

It is a psalm that looks forward to the first coming of the redeemer who will fulfil the law so we can walk in His ways

 

Of course we are in the new covenant and have to be careful when teaching from the testimonies of those under the law but I want to show you how the writer of the psalm is very conscious of the need for grace and earnestly looks forward to full salvation as he meditates especially on the statutes which point to the future sacrifice of Jeshua and the fulfilment of the law.  There are 8 or 9 words referring to aspects of the law: commandments, precepts, testimonies, ordinances … but it seems that the statutes which I take as referring to the sacrificial system are a particular theme for meditation and source of delight

 

For the sake of this study I will mostly reference King David as the author although a strong case can be made for Joshua who was so close to Moses, or Daniel or Jeremiah

 

Also I will use the Hebrew name of Yahweh rather than LORD as used in the Authorised text – the translator’s notes show that they have made this substitution.  However why should we deny ourselves the blessing of using God’s awesome powerful name.  We should see their occurrence are highlights of the text and take special note

 

As in many Old Testament passages here are several verses with a prophetic edge which seem to point to the Messiah and aspects of His testimony, suffering and deliverance.  And YES there are seven menorah patterns in the themes of the 22 sections – starting in Beth.  These are exciting to discover and aid meditation around the central theme (candle)

 

A final  introductory note about the significance of certain numbers – the ordering of the psalms does have significance and the numbers 119  and 22 have particular interest:

119 = 7 x 17   seven of course refers to ‘divinity’ and 17 is complete victory!  So… if you want TOTAL divine victory meditate on Ps 119!!

 

There are 22 stanzas of 8 verses each.  Twenty two is significant in many ways: 
Firstly - there are 22 amino acids which make up the proteins of which we are made.  When I studied Biochemistry at University we had to learn 20 but 2 more have been added since.  It follows that 22 will be very significant for the DNA and RNA codons and so on which I explore in another text

 

Secondly - out of the 33 or so ‘vertebrae’ there are 24 articulating vertebra of which the top two - C1 and C2 are specialised leaving 22 ‘typical’ vertebra.  Five more are fused in the sacrum and more in the coccyx.  So you could argue that this psalm is like the backbone of scripture – at least alphabetically and for meditation

 

Thirdly – there are 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes in the human genome and one pair of sex chromosomes, the X- and Y-.  So there should be victorious equipping ministry for the whole body in the 176 verses


aleph


Aleph


 

Blessed are the undefiled in the way who walk in the law of the LORD
Psalm 119 starts with the pronouncement of a double blessing.  It is the same word that starts the book of Psalms:  Psalm1 ‘Blessed is the man...’ In Hebrew this is  ????????  pronounced Ashrey – as one Hebrew scholar translated it:  super-happy.  It is a beatitude and just like the first beatitude it speaks about their state ‘now’ – their present state as opposed to a future state which the rest of the beatitudes speak about

 

Blessed are the undefiled in the way – like the first Adam before the fall, they walk with God.  The disciples of Jesus all had this privilege – to walk with God: ‘many have desired to see what you see…’. It was a position of service and responsibility, of accountability and trust.  It is the walk of the undefiled - a believer who is ‘in Christ’.  I remember the occasion when I first had the revelation of Colossians 3:3 ‘For ye are dead and your life hid with Christ ‘in God’.  It’s like the white outline that crime scene investigators make around a body.  But we come alive when we are in Christ. The undefiled walk in agreement with Yahweh – there is no condemnation in Him.  Jeremiah 31:33 says that God would write His law on the hearts of Israel – so they could obey from the heart. David had this testimony - Acts 13:22.  He could have authored this psalm, but I believe Joshua is also a good candidate – he had been mentored by Moses to meditate ‘day and night' on the law

 

This ‘blessedness’ is maintained by spiritual alertness, awareness and readiness like that of an elite soldier.  Although there is a constant threat, we don’t live in a state of anxiety and fear but assured strength and attentive obedience to our Commander in Chief. These are among the inner circle, they may well be ruling over nations in the millennium.  Like the living creatures praise is constantly on their lips


The next circle:
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies and that seek Him with the whole heart

This is a double blessing! These brethren are also ‘super-happy’ because they love Yahweh, and have witnessed His mighty acts.  They are moving towards complete surrender.  They seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  They are not half hearted

 
They also do no iniquity: they walk in His ways

‘His ways …’ is a constant refrain and aspiration.  It is a highway of holiness and fellowship, walking with the LORD. No fool shall err therein

The rest of ‘Us’ – verses 4-6 responding to Yahweh’s revelation

Thou hast commanded ‘us’ to keep Thy precepts diligently

The followers in the outer court.  David is very modest in putting himself with the rest of ‘us’. He does not elevate himself to the inner circle, he is aware of his failings and his need of mercy.  Still we are privileged to follow and fellowship and there is no lessening of his expectations. We are commanded to ‘keep thy precepts diligently’


O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
Like Paul he calls out ‘O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me … Rom 7:24

…that my ways were directed to keep thy ways. How can this come about?  Listening daily, repentance, being led by the spirit.  The Lord knows the demands on us, but we must commit our ways unto him and trust him to direct our steps. Ps 37:5  Prov 16:3


Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments

The phrase ‘unto all thy commandments’ is a key to the whole psalm.  David along with Moses and Paul sets a very high standard. HE WHO OFFENDS IN ONE PART is guilty of all.  However we have a hope… we don’t need to be ashamed because: 

Thanks be to God,   HE (Yeshua Ha-Mashiach) WAS PUT TO SHAME FOR US

 

This is the amazing gift of righteousness.  All the just demands of the law have been satisfied on our behalf.  David comes to see this amazing truth in section ? Vav 44.  But do we ‘continue in sin’ ?  God forbid.  We need to walk as He walked – as Jesus walked.  We need to obey, but from a position of victory through His grace and redemption


I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgements

We can praise the Lord freely with the joy of salvation when our hearts are upright. David says this happens when we learn his righteous judgements.  When we appreciate the righteousness of God in judging sin.  The judgement of the flood, the judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah, the judgement on the idolaters before Sinai and on the nations that were destroyed in the conquest of the Promised Land.  The judgement shown in the daily temple sacrifice of an innocent animal as substitute

 

Later David says ‘My eyes fail for thy salvation…’ v 123.  He longed to see the messiah who was the one to whom all the sacrifices point


I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly

I will keep thy statutes: these seem to be the fixed points in the moral / spiritual landscape for example the sacrificial rituals and observance, the Sabbath, the tithe the feasts.  God in his mercy provided a way for his chosen people to approach him.  It was a way that would open up for all nations to enter in.  But David understands that outward observance alone is not sufficient – it must be from the heart


 
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