Instructed by the Word

Title: Instructed by the Word

Bible Book: Psalms 119 : 73-80

Author: Dennis M. Davidson

Subject: Word of God; Scripture; Bible; Learning the Word



The experience of learning from affliction continues from the previous stanza. The proud malign and mistreat the psalmist but he knows that God is in control. It is in faithfulness that God had afflicted him (v. 75) in order to make him a greater blessing to others. Wanting to teach, the Psalmist first seeks to be taught (v. 73). He prays for more experience in God’s loving-kindness (76, 77), for the gathering together of the godly to him (79), and for his being fully equipped for his witness (79).

The psalmist believed that God created him and had given him hope through the Word (vv. 73, 74, 81).God is still working on us. God humbles, but He also raises up. God will not deny His follower that which will make him eternally blessed through the knowledge and understanding of His Word. He simply asks that we share it with others.

I. Faithfully Fashioned By the Word, 73-75.

Yodh - Verse 73 opens with the confession that God is the Creator. “Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.”

It is God’s hands that have “made” and “fashioned” the psalmist. He has been molded like the potter molds his clay (Jer. 1:5; Gen. 2:7). But since the Fall it is not enough for us to have been created by God. We must also be remade by Him. Thus the psalmist prays, “Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.” As we owe our existence to God so we owe our spiritual illumination to His grace. Instructed by God, he will be a blessing to fellow believers for when God blesses us He also blesses others through us.

Sometimes we read when we are shopping the words “handcrafted” on an article. Handcrafted or handmade tells that special attention and workmanship went into the object. God may have mass-produced the universes (when He spoke them into existence), but God rolled up His sleeves and made man with His own hands. How much more care God is putting into His own born-again children who will display His craftsmanship (Eph. 2:10) throughout all eternity?

[What the psalmist taught, “Your hands have made and fashioned me” is a total contradiction to the EVOLUTIONARY THEORY. The psalmist recognized that he was a creation of God. And having been created by an intelligent God, it fol­lows that God has a purpose and plan for each individual's existence.

To take the opposing view, the view that one is just the result of billions of accidents, over billions of years; makes one's existence meaningless. So the public schools are indoctrinating our children in a philosophy that teaches them that they are just accidents without purpose, and then spending millions of dollars trying to con them into having self-esteem.

How much more self-esteem could you have than the realization that you were personally made by the hands of God? [Smith, Chuck. The Word for Today Bible. 2005. Thomas Nelson. p.776.]

Verse 74 indicates the encouragement the God-fearing receive when they meet believers who have been matured by the Word. “May those who fear You see me and be glad, because I wait/hope for Your word.”

The psalmist wants to be an example to the God-fearing of the blessing that comes to those who wait on or hope in the fulfillment of God’s promises. He wants his trust in God’s word to encourage others to trust also. So he prays the God-fearing will find joy through seeing His faith in God and His word so that they too may be encouraged to trust God’s Word also.

Hopeful men who wait on the Lord bring joy with them. Their witness lifts spirits. Those who hope in the future have placed their faith in God’s infallible Word. Those whose hopes are grounded in God’s Word carry sunshine in their faces for they are laying up “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8) .

“Those who love the Lord will be glad when they see me coming,” the psalmist says. How I love to be around people who encourage me through the Word [instead discouraging me with discussion of the world].I wonder when our friends and acquaintances are around us if their burdens become lighter or heaver through our association (Gal. 6:2,5)?

The psalmist confesses in verse 75 that God’s acts of judgment are righteous and for man’s salvation. “I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”

Judgments is the Hebrew word mishpatim and indicates God’s decisions, most probably the ones God made when dealing with His servant. Life is difficult and we must accept from the hand of God both pleasant experiences and unpleasant (Job 2:1-10; Phil. 4:10-13).The Word though shines bright in the dark moments of life to lead us in the everlasting way.

Although the psalmist has been in pain, he never doubted the justice or righteousness of God. Whatever has come to him, he deserved it. If we were all sent to hell, God would still be just. Since we are sinners, the amazing thing is not that some are lost; the amazing thing is that any are saved.

The psalmist concluded, “in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” He also knows that it is because of God’s faithfulness that he has gone through the school of affliction. For it is in God’s school of affliction that he learned to value the Word and experience it’s power.

As we saw in the previous section, the psalmist had gone astray before God’s affliction (v. 67). God’s affliction is redemptive. It has brought him back to the way of faith, the way of the Word.

When a $1,000 promise of marriage is placed the finger of some happy young woman, it becomes the most pampered and ENVIED ROCK on the block. Admir­ers praise its beauty. Behind the reflective glory of that diamond, however, is a long, hard development. After centuries of formation, the stone is uncovered in a South African mine as an unimpressive, dull, roughly shaped mineral. It then comes into the hands of someone who recognizes its potential and knows how to bring out its splendor. Even then the refining isn't easy. The crude stone is carefully studied, measured, and split. It takes repeated cuttings before the craftsman can bring the flaws to the surface so they can be polished away.

This process reminds me of the way God brings our sins to the surface of our consciousness in order to remove them from our lives. He carefully applies pressure just where it's needed. Never does He break us without purpose. On the contrary, His plan is to increase our value and bring us to glory. By faithfully afflicting us, as the psalmist says, God works out the sins in our life. With our eternal joy and benefit in mind, He cuts into those priorities and attitudes that distort our character and re­duce our ability to reflect His wisdom and goodness.

It's up to us to participate with God in this work by yielding to Him. When we do, we will develop a Christ-like character and discover firsthand the everlasting value of being cut and polished from glory unto glory (2 Cor. 3:18). The breaking of the outward man is God's way to reach and transform the inner man.

II. Comfort and Compassion From the Word, 76-77.

Affliction, even though it may be for God’s good purpose, is bitter. Thus in verse 76 he asks for God’s loving-kindness to be poured upon him. “O may Your loving-kindness comfort me, according to Your word to Your servant.”

We are offered the love of God to comfort us and the Word of God to encourage us. When the Psalmist embraces God’s righteousness and confesses God’s actions are just, he finds God’s mercy, forgiveness, and peace. All these blessing come from living in God’s kingdom under His covenant.

In spite of our fallenness and our situation we can always run to the arms of our Lord to find loving-kindness. God has promised loving-kindness to all His servants who abide in relationship with Him and His Word.

The Psalmist also wants more compassion therefore he prays for it in verse 77. “May Your compassion come to me that I may live, For Your law is my delight.”

And where is God’s compassion to be found? In the Word of God as it is applied to us by the Spirit. As he adds, “For Your law is my delight.” God is a God of great compassion, especially for those who delight in His Word. No matter the difficulties of life, the compassion of God brings us hope. For God is not indifferent to those who delight in His precepts.

III. Unashamed Because of the Word, 78-80.

In verse 78 the psalmist turns to the proud with a plea that they be punished for their subversive actions. “May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; but I shall meditate on Your precepts.”

The proud are those who have not lived under the authority of God’s Word. These arrogant have misrepresented the psalmist in order to oppress and afflict him. They have bent his actions out of their true shape so that they could assail his character. The psalmist though would leave the proud in God’s capable hands and give himself to the study and contemplation of the Word.

Those who are ruled by God’s precepts know that time is on their side. Those ruled by their own reasonings are headed for disaster. “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. ).

He calls out to God in prayer for those who fear God in verse 79. “May those who fear You turn to me, even those who know Your testimonies.”

Here the God-fearers are defined. They are people of the Word. They are the ones that he now wants to be in his company. He prays to be a teacher to the God-fearing. He wants to enrich them through his experience with God and knowledge of His Word.

Those who fear the LORD should be precious in our eyes. We should desire them for our companions.

He prays to become sound in the Scriptures in verse 80. “May my heart be blameless in Your statutes, so that I will not be ashamed.”

He desires unreserved faultless unwavering adherence to God’s Word, for only thus is he secure against being degradingly deceived. God makes our heart blameless as we allow His Spirit and His Word to do His work.

Paul expresses the same concern in 2 Timothy 2:15. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of Truth.”

The motive for asking for a pure heart is “that I may not be ashamed” (like the proud in v. 78). And what is that shame? The ultimate shame would be being exposed as a hypocrite by God Himself on the Day of Judgment.

The comfort of this verse is that God will answer his prayer. For God can establish our hearts blameless. Jude expressed the wonderful praise, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make stand in Presence of His glory blameless with great joy.To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen”

But how can we know God will do this? Because He has already done so by establishing us in the righteousness of Christ (Rom. 3:21–22). For those in Christ, God’s sentence on the final day has already been pronounced over us. And it is, “No condemnation” (Rom. 8:1). Here is comfort indeed! [Williams, Donald. The Preacher's Commentary Series, Vol. 14 : Psalms 73-150. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989, S. 360]


We may not delight in all our circumstances but we can pray that God will use them to spread His gospel and glorify His name (Phil. 1:12-16).The enemy may attack us, but when we turn to the Word we find the hope and help we need. If we turn to Christ through His Word we will not be ashamed. God’s decrees are best for us and they are issued in loving-kindness.

So, when all else fails, read God’s instructions. [Wiersbe, Warren.The Bible Exposition Commentary. Job-Song of Solomon. David Cook. 2004. Colorado Springs, CO. p.321].

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