We start our study by what the Bible says about access to God (vv. 1-3). As an introduction, biblical scholars note that the 176 verses of this psalm are all dedicated to an exaltation of God’s laws, using eight or nine synonyms to express it. Dividing the text into groups of eight lines for each stanza, the psalmist began each line in the first stanza with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph. The succeeding stanzas follow the same pattern of eight, using the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet throughout the text.
Interpreters note a second characteristic of the psalm, that all but four verses (1-3, 115) address God directly. The first three are set aside for a purpose. As far as we Christians are concerned, verse one begins exactly as does the first of Christ’s beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:3). Whereas the psalm says, “Blessed are the undefiled,” Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit.” Each speaks of access to God.
The Bible makes clear that in our search for God, He takes the initiative (vv. 4-8). The psalmist understood that the reason God set forth His commandments was His way of directing our attention toward Him. However, by ordering humans to keep His precepts diligently (v. 4), absolute obedience is not possible. The psalmist cried out in despair at what he knew about himself, his inability to achieve the standard of living prescribed by God (v. 5). His desire in part was to prevent his being ashamed publicly at his spiritual faults (v. 6). If lack of shame indicates spiritual failure, we must admit that morality in contemporary America has sunk to tragic levels. Note especially the debate about abortions. No longer are unmarried pregnant women not embarrassed, but they seem to be nonchalant that life has treated them unfairly. Disposing of the baby is no concern to her or society.
The Bible is especially important because it provides an objective authority for defining right and wrong attitudes and actions. Otherwise, people would have to follow their own feelings about morality or depend on an accepted leader for that definition. What happened to the Jews in Germany under Hitler’s unbridled hatred suffices to expose that fallacy.
We believe the Bible is our source of comfort in times of tragedy (vv. 137-144). We have learned from experience that the principles gleaned from the Bible are based on God’s character expressed in His judgments (v. 137). But, our enemies never rest in finding fault (v. 139). We are sometimes mystified at the vehemence of their opposition. Even when we are despised and rejected, we never outgrow or forget the precepts found in the Bible (v. 141). In times of trouble and anguish, we still turn to God’s Word to gain perspectives and strength (v. 143).
Deep down in our souls, we know that God’s righteousness, being everlasting, provides us with an understanding beyond what the world can understand or accept.
You must be login before you can leave a comment. Click here to Register if you are a new user.