The Psalm of the Word (Part 22): Praise

The Psalm of the Word

Let my cry come before You, O Lord;
Give me understanding according to Your word.

Let my supplication come before You;
Deliver me according to Your word.

Let my lips utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.

Let my tongue sing of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.

Let Your hand be ready to help me,
For I have chosen Your precepts.

I long for Your salvation, O Lord,
And Your law is my delight.

Let my soul live that it may praise You,
And let Your ordinances help me.

I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant,
For I do not forget Your commandments.

(Psalm 119:169-176)

This final stanza focuses on the need to praise God because of His word. We noticed this point a little bit in the previous lesson. The thoughts expressed in these verses are a fitting conclusion to the psalm and our study of it. Given all that we have learned about God’s word, we should praise Him.

Praise God Because of His Word

Let my lips utter praise, for You teach me Your statutes” (Psalm 119:171).

There are many reasons why we praise God, including several reasons mentioned by David throughout this psalm to praise Him because of His word. We have discussed all of these in more detail in previous lessons.

  • God’s word is a source of blessing (Psalm 119:1).
  • God’s word is the way of purity (Psalm 119:9).
  • God’s word provides wise counsel (Psalm 119:24).
  • God’s word is a source of strength (Psalm 119:28).
  • God’s word revives us (Psalm 119:40).
  • God’s word is the path of liberty (Psalm 119:45).
  • God’s word provides comfort (Psalm 119:52).
  • God’s word gives us an inheritance (Psalm 119:57).
  • God’s word disciplines us (Psalm 119:71).
  • God’s word gives us understanding of our Creator (Psalm 119:73).
  • God’s word separates us from evil men (Psalm 119:85).
  • God’s word provides stability (Psalm 119:89).
  • God’s word gives us understanding of truth and error (Psalm 119:104).
  • God’s word guides us (Psalm 119:105).
  • God’s word is consistent (Psalm 119:113).
  • God’s word is valuable (Psalm 119:127).
  • God’s word reveals God’s grace (Psalm 119:135).
  • God’s word shows us righteousness (Psalm 119:144).
  • Following God’s word allows our prayers to be heard (Psalm 119:145).
  • God’s word is the source of truth (Psalm 119:160).
  • God’s word produces reverence (Psalm 119:161).

For all of these reasons, we must “let [our] lips utter praise” to God for His word (Psalm 119:171).

How do we praise God with our lips? First, praise can be made through singing, which will be discussed later in this lesson. Second, praise can be offered through through prayer as the early church did following the arrest and release of Peter and John (Acts 4:24-28). Third, one can praise God through his speech, as Zacharias did after the birth of John (Luke 1:64). All of these ways are appropriate for us to praise God today.

Offer Prayers in Accordance to His Word

Let my cry come before You, O Lord; give me understanding according to Your word. Let my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Your word” (Psalm 119:169-70).

Let Your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen Your precepts” (Psalm 119:173).

As we have just seen, prayers can and should be used to offer praise to God. However, we typically think of prayer in the sense of making “requests” of God (Philippians 4:6). The reason why the psalmist had an expectation that God would help him was because he chose God’s word (Psalm 119:173). We cannot expect God to hear our prayers if we do not follow His word (Psalm 34:15; 119:145-147). Like the psalmist, we must choose to follow God’s precepts. He has given us the free will to make this choice. Moses, speaking on behalf of God, told the Israelites, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live…by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). Similarly, Jesus offered this invitation: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Though He desires individuals to come to Him, He will not force anyone to do so (cf. Matthew 23:37). If we want God to hear our prayers, we must choose to obey His word.

As the psalmist prayed to God, he expressed a desire for “understanding according to [His] word” (Psalm 119:169). When we pray, we are not going to receive understanding from God that is contrary to His word and should not be seeking such. Mormons will often tell people to pray to God for the knowledge that the book of Mormon is right. While the Scriptures tell us to pray for wisdom (James 1:5), we do not pray for knowledge. To gain knowledge of the will of God, we must read and study the word of God.

When David prayed for deliverance, he prayed that it would be done “according to [God’s] word” (Psalm 119:170). As we make requests of God in prayer (Philippians 4:6), it is His will that will be done in all things (1 John 5:14-15). Our prayers – no matter how fervently they may be offered – will not cause God to act in a way that is contrary to His will or prevent Him from carrying out His plan. As Job said to God, “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:1).

Sings Songs About His Word

Let my tongue sing of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172).

In our worship, we are to sing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). Some of these songs should be about God’s word. There are several such songs in our hymn books (e.g. “Give Me the Bible” and “Wonderful Words of Life”). Singing is helpful because it is instructive (Colossians 3:16). We can teach of God’s word through song. While this can obviously be done through the spoken word, singing is helpful because the music helps us to remember the truths contained in the songs that we sing.

We Should Desire Salvation So That We Can Continue to Praise God

I long for Your salvation, O Lord, and Your law is my delight. Let my soul live that it may praise You, and let Your ordinances help me” (Psalm 119:174-175).

Like David, we will long for salvation (Psalm 119:174). We recognize the great blessing of heaven where God “will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain” (Revelation 21:4). We also understand the horrors of hell as it is described as “the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

Like David, we should have a desire for life (Psalm 119:175) – eternal life (as we noted in the previous paragraph) and, to an extent, even our temporal lives on the earth. We often want to prolong our lives here – not because we fear death as so many unbelievers do, but because we want to continue to enjoy the blessings that God has given us in this life.

We should ask ourselves why it is that we want to be saved or to have life – either long life here or, more importantly, eternal life in heaven. While we may enjoy the rich blessings God has bestowed upon us in this life, our desire ought to be to praise God as long as we live on the earth. “Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:5). As we look past this life, our desire to get to heaven should be that we can continue to praise God among the “great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9).

Ultimately, we should be serving God in order to praise and honor Him rather than for our own personal benefit. Yes, there is obviously a benefit to us for faithful service to God. But part of being one of His followers is that we surrender ourselves for Him (Luke 9:23) and do everything out of love for Him (Matthew 22:36-37).

We Must Be Mindful of Our Fallibility and Our Need for God

I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments” (Psalm 119:176).

As we consider all that we have in this study, we need to remember a basic point: even an understanding of God’s word does not somehow unlock a state of sinless perfection for ourselves. Even as Christians, we will stumble into sin from time to time (1 John 1:8) and go “astray like a lost sheep” (Psalm 119:176). We must remember that we need God. If He does not remember us (seek us), we have no hope. Fortunately, we know that He does remember and seek us whenever we stray and rejoices when we return to the fold (Luke 15:4-7).

After acknowledging his own fallibility, David closed this psalm with a statement that included both an affirmation about his present state and a commitment about his future: “I do not forget Your commandments” (Psalm 119:176). We must never forget the instructions that God has given to us as they contain the only way to know how to please Him and return to Him.

Paul wrote, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Notice again what the inspired apostle wrote. The word of God teaches us, trains us in righteousness, equips us to carry out every good work, and, if we every stray from this path, it reproves and corrects us so that we will return. God does not want us to be lost. He has revealed His word so that we do not have to be.

Conclusion

Without God’s word, we cannot know God or what His will for us is. Therefore, we should praise Him for it. However, more than just offering empty words of praise, we must also be obedient to God’s word in all that we do.


This entire series is available in paperback. Click on the link for more information – The Psalm of the Word: A Study of Psalm 119.


When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on the Gospel, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Road Trip.