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The Scriptorium

Learning to Praise

Where the Scriptures lead. Psalm 119.171

Psalm 119.169-176 (3)

Pray Psalm 119.171.
My lips shall utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.

Sing Psalm 119.171-173.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
With our lips we praise You, Jesus, for You teach us, full and free.
Now Your Word will ever please us; Your commandments true shall be.
Let Your hand come forth to ease us; we Your Word choose gratefully!

Read Psalm 119.169-176; meditate on verse 171.

1. What kind of prayer is this?

2. What prompted the psalmist to this prayer?

How can we know when we are really learning God’s Word? If we can repeat back what we’ve heard on an exam or in conversation with a friend? If we see the connections between what we’re reading and other parts of God’s Word? Or if we manage to work out in our daily walk whatever God has spoken to us from His Word?

These all may indicate that learning is in process, but none of them, nor all of them together, are not yet full expressions of true learning. Paul wrote that the goal of all Christian instruction is love (1 Tim. 1.5), and that love must be directed first to God (Matt. 22.34-40). We have learned God’s Word, that is, we can know that God has truly taught us His Word, when our hearts and minds are lifted up in love to Him and we open our mouths to praise Him for what He has shown us of Himself. Praise is the capstone and truest expression that God has taught us His Word and we are learning it as we should.

If we’re reading God’s Law – and all His Word – as we should, we’re seeking not merely to learn doctrines or protocols for spiritual self-help. We’re seeking to learn Jesus, as Jesus is the focus of all Scripture and what God the Spirit is working to shape us into (Eph. 4.17-24; Jn. 5.39; 2 Cor. 3.12-18). When we see Jesus in the Word, His beauty, goodness, wisdom, love, compassion, power, meekness, holiness, righteousness, and truth will provoke us to praise. How can we not adore and lavish praise on Him?

And as we praise Him for what we see of Him in His Word, we’ll know that God is teaching us as He intends we should be taught.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“My lips shall utter praise, for You teach me Your statutes” (Ps. 119.171).

“I will praise You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments” (Ps. 119.7).

“Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous judgments” (Ps. 119.164).

“Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful” (Ps. 147.1).
“He sends out His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes;
He casts out His hail like morsels; who can stand before His cold?
He sends out His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.
He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any nation; and as for His judgments, they have not known them.
Praise the LORD!” (Ps. 147.15-20)

Indeed, He has not dealt with other people in the same way that He deals with us. He has given us His Law. He has given us His Son. He has given us His judgments, statutes, and all His Word. And which of us can truly stand before His cold, or heat, or winds, or rain, or hurricanes, or tornadoes, or tsunamis, or earthquakes, or any of His powerful creation? And yet, He is also in the “still small voice” (1 Kgs. 19.12). His majestic power and tender love are indescribable (Eph. 3.18, 19).

We are a people most blessed. Unlike those who have not been given His judgments, we have. And in giving us the Law, He also made a way of escape for us from the eternal judgment of that Law by providing Jesus: our beautiful, good, wise, loving, compassionate, powerful, meek, holy, righteous, and truthful Savior! (Rom. 5.8)

We have so much to be thankful and to praise Him for. Really, could seven times a day ever be enough?
“Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will still be praising You”! (Ps. 84.4) Forever, to the end.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, Love of every love the best;
‘Tis an ocean vast of blessing, ‘Tis a haven sweet of rest,
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ‘Tis a Heav’n of Heav’ns to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, For it lifts me up to Thee.
(Francis/Williams, 1890)

For reflection

1. How would you explain to a new believer what’s involved in seeking Jesus in God’s Word?

2. Why is this so important? How can doing so increase and enhance our praise to God?

3. Why has God given us His Word? What does He expect us to do with it?

Lord, what I pray for is, what thou hast promised. We have learned nothing to purpose, if we have not learned to praise God. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.171

Pray Psalm 119.169, 170.
Pray for understanding of God’s Word, and that God’s Word will lead you to understand how to serve Him today. Seek His mercy and grace for deliverance from trials, temptations, and troubles.

Sing Psalm 119.169, 170.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Let my cry come up before You, holy, righteous, loving Lord;
give me understanding so to live according to Your Word.
Let my prayer rise up before You; by Your Word redeem me, Lord!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, 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.

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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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