Posted On January 5, 2019

Psalm 119:1-4 — Blessed!

by | Jan 5, 2019 | pSaturday Psalms, Theology

What an exciting and blessed year 2019 is going to be. If you don’t already know this about me, I am a serious proponent of scripture memory. In fact, I started a website dedicated to helping people memorize scripture. You can see it at memorizethescripture.com. Maybe you will join me one day in a group or at least utilize the resources I post on that site.

One of the things that God has done this year (2019) is to put it on the hearts of a few dozen of us to memorize the longest chapter of the Bible: Psalm 119! For many people, it is a dreaded day when their daily reading takes them to this “super long chapter.” But for the Christian who loves God, loves God’s Word, and desires to hide it in his or her heart, this chapter is both splendid and lovely.

Some Stats

Sorta cool that I found an actual photo of Psalm 119 by Aaron Burden

Psalm 119 is 176 verses. It easily divides into 22 stanzas or octets (sections of 8). What is really neat is that in the original, each section of 8 is associated with a Hebrew letter, and each line in that stanza begins with that letter. We lose this acrostic in our English translations, but the Hebrew letter is still listed for us at the beginning of each stanza. Preserving that feature when translating to English may have made memorization easier for us, but I suppose it may have made the translation awkward as well.

My group has agreed to memorize the psalm in increments of four verses per week. This is a bite-size chunk to memorize in a week. There are 44 sets of 4 verse chunks in Psalm 119, so we will be memorizing the chapter over a period of 44 weeks. But we’ve baked in review, rest, and catch-up weeks, so that ultimately we will learn the psalm over the course of 2019 in 52 weeks. If you stick around, I plan to share a Saturday devotional each week of the memorization, Lord (and other TAU writers) permitting :).

Digging In

Psalm 119 begins with declarations about those who are “blessed.”

Psalms 119:1-4 ESV
1 Aleph. Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of Yahweh!
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
4 You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.

We see here some qualities of the man who is blessed:

  • His way is blameless
  • He walks in the law of Yahweh
  • He keeps God’s testimonies
  • He seeks God with his whole heart
  • He does no wrong
  • He walks in God’s ways

Hmm. This isn’t exactly encouraging at first glance. My immediate reaction is realization that my way is not blameless. In fact, I was conceived in sin (Romans 5:12). I try to obey God’s law, but I fail regularly. I achieve similar results (more failure) keeping God’s testimonies.

I seek God, but do I seek Him with my whole heart? Ouch, maybe never? I cannot obey God’s greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37), and I fail regarding the second greatest (Matthew 22:39)…all proof that I consistently do wrong and do not walk in God’s ways. Interestingly enough, another word for blessed is ‘happy.’ Is it any wonder we live in a world so full of depression and difficulty? If following that list above is what brings blessedness or happiness to a man, then we’re in for a world of hurt, (and it is, and we are).

And just to make sure that no one is thinking, “Sure, none of us is perfect. God just wants us to strive for these ideals, or try really hard,” take a look at verse 4. God has commanded that his precepts be kept diligently. There is absolutely no room for moral failure. Any falling short of the ideals presented results in a man being blameworthy, guilty, and ultimately, the opposite of blessed: cursed.

What About Jesus?

I have heard it said that the biggest word in the Bible is “but,” and that the most important phrase is, “but God.”  Thankfully, there’s a “but God” for Psalm 119. Because when we examine the list above we start to see a picture of the “blessed man” and we notice we are nothing like him. But let’s look at the list another way.

We see here some qualities of Jesus:

  • His way is blameless
  • He walks in the law of Yahweh
  • He keeps God’s testimonies
  • He seeks God with his whole heart
  • He does no wrong
  • He walks in God’s ways

Yes, my dear friend, it is Jesus whose way is blameless, it is Jesus who walks in the law of Yahweh. Jesus is the only one who has ever lived or will live who sought God with his whole heart. And it is all these good works of Jesus which are imputed to us through the offer of the gospel.

Oh yeah! Although neither you nor I could even pretend to walk in these virtues for a whole day, Jesus offers all of His completed work to us while simultaneously becoming a curse for us (Gal 3:13). Jesus became the opposite of blessed — cursed — that we might become the opposite (blessed) of what we deserve (cursed). Yes, we are blessed already (Ephesians 1:3) because of Christ!

Now, having realized our blessedness, we are now called to walk in that happiness. We are to walk in joy and peace as the result of His gracious salvation. We now have a desire to walk in His law, keep His testimonies and seek Him with our whole heart. And, although our heart and flesh may fail, we know that He will keep us to the end (Philippians 1:6;Psalm 73:26).

Psalms 73:26 ESV
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Rejoice, O Blessed One!

If you are born again, then today you already are walking in God’s blessing. You have already received everything you’ll ever actually need. God has chosen you from before the foundation of the world, set His unchanging affection upon you, and loved you as if you were Christ. Your union with Jesus Christ is indivisible. God the Father can no sooner judge you (Romans 8:1) for your wretchedness than He could separate from Jesus. Impossible! God will not neglect the great salvation already provided on your behalf (Romans 8:32). In His eyes, you do walk in His ways, not because of your own righteousness, but because of the alien righteousness of Christ.

Enjoy each moment as you drink of the unlimited cup of God’s blessings toward you. He is not like we are; He will not hold back any good thing from His children (Psalm 84:11). He is constantly for you, and never against you (Romans 8:31). He is always with you (Matthew 28:20). Therefore, enjoy even those sanctifying moments where you are reminded of your sin and rebellion And seek daily to submit to Him as He conforms you to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 8:29).

See all posts in this series

Psalm 119:1-4 — Blessed!
Psalm 119:5-8 — Blessed!
Psalm 119:9-12 — Purity is the Objective
Psalm 119:13-16 — Declare and Delight!
Psalm 119:17-20 — Open My Eyes!
Psalm 119:21-24 — The Comfort of God
Psalm 119:25-28 — Thirst and Life
Psalm 119:29-32 — Shame Shifting
Psalm 119:33-36 — Seeking The Way
Psalm 119:37-40 — Behold God's Promise
Psalm 119:41-44 — Answering the Taunter
Psalm 119:45-48 — A Wide Place
Psalm 119:49-52 — Comfort Amidst Affliction
Psalm 119:53-56 — Righteous Anger?
Psalm 119:57-60 — What's Your Portion?
Psalm 119:61-64 — Companionship
Psalm 119:65-68 — Afflicted by God
Psalm 119:69-72 — More Affliction?
Psalm 119:73-76 — Sovereign Creator
Psalm 119:77-80 — May God Supply!
Psalm 119:81-84 — Our Whole Being Longs for God
Psalm 119:85-88 — They Have Dug Pitfalls
Psalm 119:89-92 — Established
Psalm 119:93-96 — Limited Perfection
Psalm 119:97-100 — Elevated Wisdom
Psalm 119:101-104 — Sweeter Than Honey
Psalm 119:105-108 — Freewill, Oaths, and More Affliction
Psalm 119:109-112 — Sorrows, Snares, Sons, and a Savior
Psalm 119:113-116 — My Hiding Place and My Shield
Psalm 119:117-120 — God Discards the Dross
Psalm 119:121-124— Deliverance
Psalm 119:125-128— God's Law > Everything on Earth
Psalm 119:129-132 — Into The Light
Psalm 119:133-136 — Does Your Love Bring You To Tears?
Psalm 119:137-140 — Zeal + Ignorance = Worthless Religion
Psalm 119:141-144 — Assurance of Perseverance
Psalm 119:145-148— Meditate on the PROMISE
Psalm 119:149-152 — Be Comforted For God Is Near
Psalm 119:153-156— Christ Alone Delivers
Psalm 119:157-160 — We Are In A Battle
Psalm 119:161-164— Do You Hate Falsehood?
Psalm 119:165-168 — Cause → Effect
Psalm 119:169-172 — Eruption of Praise
Psalm 119:173-176 — Seek Your Servant Like a Lost Sheep


As God’s providence would have it, my friend Dave Caldwell preached a sermon on Psalm 119:1-8 the first week of 2019, as we began memorization. I commend it to you here:

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1 Comment

  1. Rusty Beals

    This is a wonderful and timely post for me. So much of what you said runs parallel with my studies in Ephesians. Praise be to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!