This week, I finally finished memorizing Psalm 119. This was a challenge I took up with a few friends at the beginning of summer 2004. I was hoping to finish the chapter by the end of the summer, but then I got a job and was too busy. It’s been on-again, off-again ever since, but finally, with the help of my small group’s accountability, I finished all 176 verses.
Honestly, if you’re looking for a big chunk of scripture to memorize, I wouldn’t recommend this one. It’s very repetitive, there’s little progression of thought, and many verses are so similar that they get all jumbled up in my mind. (“Teach me your statutes” is a very common phrase, unless it’s “teach me your law” or “teach me your rules.”) Frankly, I doubt I’ll be able to remember it all a few months from now — though some sections will definitely stick with me, probably for the rest of my life.
With that said, there is a lot of depth and richness to this Psalm. Almost every verse mentions God’s law and how much the Psalmist loves it and relies on it. It’s a good reminder of the fact that we should love the Bible for the simple reason that it shows us who God is.
I’ll share some of my favorite verses:
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
19 I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
28 My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
75 I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
81 My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
82 My eyes long for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
89 Forever, O LORD, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91 By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
96 I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of you,
and I am afraid of your judgments.
126 It is time for the LORD to act,
for your law has been broken.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
141 I am small and despised,
yet I do not forget your precepts.
145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD!
I will keep your statutes.
146 I call to you; save me,
that I may observe your testimonies.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
O LORD, according to your justice give me life.
150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;
they are far from your law.
151 But you are near, O LORD,
and all your commandments are true.
152 Long have I known from your testimonies
that you have founded them forever.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.