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The Scriptorium

The Way to Blessedness

You'll never guess. Or maybe you will. Psalm 119.12

Psalm 119.9-16 (3)

Pray Psalm 119.9-11.

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

Sing Psalm 119.9-11.
(No Other Plea: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place)
How can a young man cleanse his way, and thus be free of sin?
By keeping God’s Word every day, and storing it within.
With all my heart I seek You, Lord, O let me never stray,
nor let me wander from Your Word, nor stumble in Your way.

Read Psalm 119.9-16; meditate on verse 12.

Preparation
1. How does the psalmist address God?

2. What does he want God to do?

Meditation
Here is the third mention of the word, “blessed” (vv. 1, 2) – or so it seems. In fact, this is an entirely different word from what we find in verses 1 and 2. בָּר֖וּךְ (baRUCH) points to a higher, more complete, and more enduring form of happiness than אַשְׁרֵ֥י(ashRAY). This blessedness is associated with God. In another form it can mean to “be on one’s knees” or “to kneel. By acknowledging God as “blessed”, as here in verse 12, we are ascribing praise to Him for His uniqueness and all the perfections of happiness He enjoys in Himself. At the same time, we place ourselves before Him – on our knees, as it were – seeking to engage and share in that blessing.

And how do we do that? By asking God to teach us His statutes. Here the psalmist connects with the first stanza and develops it a bit (cf. vv. 5, 8). The statutes of God’s Law are those explications of the commandments that teach us how to think “blessedly” about our everyday lives. When God, Who is blessed, teaches us His statutes, we learn how to bring His blessedness into our world, so that the blessedness of God leads to happiness. This is why the psalmist longed to keep the statutes of God, that they might direct his steps in every way (vv. 5, 8), and why they were delightful to him (v. 16).

Because Jesus has fulfilled all the Law of God and has sent His Spirit to teach that Law to us (Ezek. 36.26, 27), we expect the blessedness of God to be expressed in us by our being made more like Jesus (2 Cor. 3.12-18). We do not learn the Law as God intends unless our reading and meditating in it shapes us increasingly into the blessed likeness of Jesus Christ.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Oh, how I would love to be able to praise and bless our Lord God in a proper and pleasing fashion! To be able to “acknowledge God as blessed”, or to “be on my knees” properly before Him physically and mentally and spiritually. He is God! I long to bless Him as He deserves to be blessed.

It seems that He longs for us to be in that very spot, too. That sweet spot of blessing. So, He tells us to ask Him to teach us His statutes. And in learning these statutes and His Law our lives are made complete:
“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; (converted)
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; (wise)
the statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; (blessed and blessing)
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; (teachable)
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; (cleansed)
the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. (righteous)
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; (satisfied)
sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (sated)
Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and (warned)
in keeping them there is great reward” (Ps. 19.7-11). (complete)

We have His promise, and “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it…” (Phil. 16). He will teach us Jesus. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2.9, 10).

But we must prime our hearts by keeping His Law, to be ready to bless Him and to learn from Him. No one in their right mind imagines that they can ease on up out of their recliner and run a marathon having not prepared to do so. It just won’t happen. In the very same way, we must prepare daily to be ready to be taught by Him.

This is the only way to blessedness. By Him, of Him, and for Him.

For reflection
1. What’s the difference between “blessed” in the first stanza and “blessed” in the second stanza? What is “the sweet spot of blessing”?

2. Why must we pray to ask the Lord to teach us His statutes? Can we learn them without Him? Explain.

3. What does the Law do in us as the Spirit massages it into our soul?

The psalmists consistently describe the Law of God as a great blessing, for it was God’s gracious revelation to His people for their own good (Deut. 6:1–3). In the Law, God mercifully pointed out the right path to follow. Only mistaken legalistic interpretations of the Law prompted the negative statements concerning it in the NT. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Notes on Psalm 119.9-16

Pray Psalm 119.12-16.
Give thanks for the Law of God and all His Word. Be specific as you pray. Thank Him for portions of Scripture that have been especially meaningful to you. Ask Him to teach you more of His Word, and to bring it to mind throughout the day.

Sing Psalm 119.12-16.

(Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Be blessed, O God our Savior; teach us Your holy Word!
Our lips proclaim with favor the statutes of the Lord.
How great our joy, dear Jesus, to follow in Your ways;
What more than this could please us, or brighten all our days?

We contemplate Your precepts and cherish all Your ways,
Delighting in Your statutes, rememb’ring all our days.
With wondrous bounty bless us, Your humble servants, Lord,
that we may live with Jesus and keep His holy Word.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Psalm 119 by clicking here.

Two brief books can help you gain more benefit from reading and meditating in God’s Law. The Law of God arranges all the statutes and precepts of the Law under their appropriate number of the Ten Commandments. Read the commandment, then reflect on the statutes and precepts that exemplify how those laws apply to various situations. The Ground for Christian Ethics explains why the Law still matters and what we must do to learn and apply it to our lives today. Both books are free by clicking here and here..

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

 

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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