The Lord is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
I entreat your favor with all my heart;
When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
I hasten and do not delay
Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
I am a companion of all who fear you,
The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
Psalm 119 celebrates God’s Word. The psalmist celebrates the revelation of God in the Scriptures because it reveals to him the ways of God. He sees how opposite his ways are compared to God’s ways. He has been changed by this knowledge because God’s Word has opened up his heart to be changed by God.
Our text today records the psalmist’s declarations. All eight verses are declarations – statements of facts. These declarations include choices that he is making in light of what he knows to be true. There is a reality that he is living in and this reality is compelling him to live life in a specific way.
We are going to start at the end of our text and work backwards today. The new reality that the psalmist now lives in compels him to:
See Things Differently
The reality that the psalmist has experienced causes him to have a vision that does not come naturally. Throughout this psalm, the writer has been vey honest about the pain and brokenness in the world that he lives in. He acknowledges that famine, fear, grief, violence, genocide, and corruption exist – but he sees through those things and sees a bigger picture of what is at work behind those things. He declares in verse 64: “The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love!”
While others see brokenness in the world, he sees love. God created the world and cares for it in love. Jesus says we can trust God because He cares even for the birds of the air (Matthew 6:26) and loves everything He has made (Psalm 145:9). He loves all people that He created and wants them to receive His redeeming love. Our response to our loving God will cause us to see everything differently.
Live in Community
In Verse 63 the writer declares, “I am a companion of all who fear you”. He now chooses his friends in a unique way. He now chooses friends that will always love something more than him – the Lord. While it is natural to surround yourself with people who think that you are great and tell you what you want to hear – the psalmist wants people around him that know God’s Word and speak truth to him.
We are created to live in community with God’s people. We grow in the knowledge of God and His love when we are around other Christ followers. If you want to make the Kingdom of God tangible in your life, you need to join a family of missionary servants that know you well. A community of Christ followers shapes you and puts Jesus on display to the world around us. Don’t go it alone in your faith journey!
Usually if you are up at midnight (when you want to be sleeping) you are fretting. Deadlines, tensions, anger, resentment, loneliness, and fear can consume us and haunt us in the middle of the night. The psalmist rises to spontaneously praise and worship of God (verse 62). This is not natural – something is compelling him to trust and praise instead of worry.
The writer acknowledges temptation, sin, brokenness, hurt, pain, and grief “the cords of the wicked ensnare me” (verse 61). Though these are real in his life, he refuses to be defined by them. He refuses to be a victim – rather he focuses on the love of God displayed to him (verse 64). This love that he sees changes how he sees his hardships. This again is not a natural thing in his life – something monumental has shaped the psalmist’s life.
EXAMINE HIS LIFE
There is something compelling the psalmist to take stock of his life (verses 59-60). There is a self-examination that takes place: What drives me? Why do I say what I say? Why do I do what I do and think what I think? What is natural for us is to avoid our sin. The last thing we want is for it to be driven into the light and have it be called what it is. For the psalmist, he thinks on his ways and goes to God’s Word to shed light on it. What has he done? What has he left undone?
The Apostle Paul encouraged this kind of self-examination and self-judgment to take place before we partake of communion (1 Corinthians 11:28; 31-32). Repentance must be a regular practice of Christ followers.
What is compelling this counter- cultural response to life?
THE LORD IS MY PORTION
This reality is the compelling force behind the psalmist’s entire life. This reality is renewing his whole life. With this statement he is declaring that God is all he wants. This phrase originated in Numbers 18:20. When the Promised Land was being divided (portioned out) Aaron was told by the Lord that he and his family would have no inheritance – no portion. Instead, God told him, “I am your portion and inheritance”. God was saying, “You and your family will know that I am your prosperity, your provision, and your portion.” When God is your portion, you have everything!
As New Testament Christ followers, the Lord has shown more of His love than the psalmist could anticipate! He has given us everything by giving us Jesus (Romans 5:8; Romans 8:31-32; 1 John 4:10). God has pursued us with His love. We can know that we live in the Lord’s love in His land wherever we live in this fallen world. Our every need will be met on the way to a ‘new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell’. We will never be orphaned – God is our everything!
Charles Bridges said, “If you want to have the Lord as your portion, you must have Him as your King”. He will make you new as you turn the control of your life over to Him.
This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing to discuss the implications of the message.
This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.
DISCUSS THE MESSAGE
Read: Psalm 119:57-64
How has God used people in your life to shape your biblical convictions? Give a specific example.
The love of the
Imagine this scenario: You and your family must flee the country tonight due to civil unrest and violence. You decide to take the two day journey to Mexico to hopefully find a better life. As you consider your home and possessions, what would you grab for this