Friday, March 4, 2016

A Tour through Ps. 119: Aleph

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

(Notes for this study:  I will primarily be using the NIV84 translation, but I will also reference an online interlinear reference, which you will find  at  It may look a bit odd, but the Hebrew reads right-to-left, so the word that appears first in the English is the word on the far right in the Hebrew,  and the initial letter in the word is actually the one on the right as well.  As it appears that not all the words are linked, I'm going to be also referencing Zodhiates' Word Study Old Testament to fill in the blanks)

So, let's have a look at the first eight verses of  Psalms 119, which, in Hebrew, each begins with a word that begins with the letter Aleph. 

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.
They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways.
You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. 

Working with the interlinear links and Zodhiates one Hebrew word at a time, this is what I get:

Blessed!  Complete, whole, entire, sound;  [is the]  course of life to walk [in, according to] law, direction and instruction of Yahweh!

Blessed! [It is to] Guard, watch over, keep laws of divine testimonies; resort to and inquire of  God [with] totality [of the] inner man: mind, will, heart and understanding.

Furthermore, to make no [one an] unrighteous (unjust, perverse) one;  [those who are so blessed] walk [in, according to] manner, habit and way  [of Him].

You laid charge upon [us]  to exceedingly ,to a great degree, keep, guard, observe, and give heed to [your] precepts .

Would that the course of life be firm, stable and established to keep, guard, observe and give heed to [your] statute, ordinance and prescribed boundaries!

Then [there would be no] shame [as I/we] move toward and regard with pleasure the whole commandment of God.

[I/we will] praise,with an upraised hand, and give thanks to God [with] straightness and uprightness of [the] inner man: mind, will, heart, soul and  understanding; taught and trained [by the] justice [and] righteousness [of God's] verdict.

[I/we will] Keep, guard, observe and give heed to [your] statute, ordinance and prescribed boundaries; never utterly leave, forsake, or set loose [me/us].

Aside...I can tell this is going to take a bit longer to put together than past studies...

Things worth noting:

The Psalmist laments his own inability to keep the law perfectly (v. 5)  and acknowledges that he feels the shame of disobedience as he pushes deeper into the precepts of God (v.6) BUT...he does not let that shame keep him from the goal of embracing God's commands.    Instead, he allows God's verdicts to teach him and train him (v. 7). He is determined to live under the blessings listed in the first three verses.

And it is also interesting that the word translated as 'forsake'  can also be translated 'set loose'.
If you put that translation not utterly cut me loose... It takes on a bit different shade of meaning.  God promises over and over again never to forsake His people.   He does, however, let people who have been determined to go their own way...go their own way.

They are set free to follow their own desires.

So Cain went out from the LORD's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. - Gen. 4:6

Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done.  - Rom. 1: 28

This is something that gives me long as we have an honest bit in us that longs for God, that longs for His truth, He will continue to correct and train and discipline us so that we can learn to move past shame into relationship.

But, the other hand...sooner or later, if we continue to choose to not to push through shame, to not admit God is right and we are not,  so that we ultimately give up pursuing the One whose knowledge is so far above ours, he will cut us loose to pursue our own destruction.

He has done everything that needs doing to restore us.  Will we receive it or resist it?

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