Oh, did I type that outloud?
January 21: Psalm 119:1-16
Welcome to day 2. The beginning of our study for women who want to grow in their wisdom, knowledge and understanding of their Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Each Bible study lesson will involve your PARTICIPATION and handy little fill-in-the blanks will be a part of each devotional…
Because I don’t want you to believe what I say – I want you to obey the Scripture by “testing all things,” (1 Thess. 5:21, English Standard Version) and you do that by looking at the Scripture yourself. Reading the entire chapter, not just certain verses – learning to use your study guide, found in a study-Bible, if you have one. It is up to you to look up not only the parallel verses but also the entire chapter and book – the history of the author, if known – who was he writing to? What was the cultural application at the time? How does it relate to your life today?
I will guide you – but you must do the work because, Biblically speaking – “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:14). And although I am Reformed in my theology – I am no puppet – and neither are you.
Side note: All Scripture is quoted from the English Standard Version of the Bible, unless otherwise noted.
Many a Bible study teacher has written about the “Proverbs 31 woman” – the woman of virtue, that is. But what many do not cover is whole chapter of Proverbs 31, specifically verses 1-9.
King Lemuel is teaching his son an “oracle” which is simply a declaration. This oracle has been passed down through King Lemuel’s own mother, declaring that he is not to give his “strength to women” (v. 3). To not get drunk (v.4) because when you get drunk – it will lead to debauchery (Eph. 5:18), which is demonstrated by lack of self-control, indulging in the passions of the flesh including being stupid and making ignorant, unholy choices (Pr. 31:5) that defile the Kingdom of God and will lead to eternal life in hell.
Simply put, when we get drunk, we forget God’s commands and we forget the wrath that He promises to deliver when we refuse to submit to those said commands:
“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Heb. 10:26-31).
This woman that the King describes to his son – the same woman that the King’s mother described to him was not the Proverbs 31 woman that we tend to think about when we hear or strive to become – But the stark reality is, that she is the woman who comes out of the womb (Ps. 51:5) and is under the curse of Genesis 3: “Your desire shall be contrary to your husband…” (v. 16b, ESV) and until the Holy Spirit makes a change in her heart of stone (Ez 11:19; Ez 36:26; Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10) – Not. One. Single. Thing will change – as a matter of fact, she will be given over to the desires of her heart and “many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death,” (Pr. 7:26-27).
“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Rom. 1:28).
So, I pray that today be the day of your Salvation (2 Cor. 6:2), your renewed commitment to God Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:2). I pray that you will choose this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15). And that you will begin anew to “walk worthy of the call to which you have been called” (Eph. 4:1) – that is a woman who fears the Lord (Pr. 31:31).
But it will not be easy.
I asked you at the beginning of this series to read Psalm 119 – I want you to read the whole thing, it is very long and is found in the very center of your Bible. I will take you through each section of Psalm 119 to press deep into the issues that the Psalmist was struggling with so that you can see that you are not alone – but you must persevere.
An overview to Psalm 119:
Psalm 119: 25-48 talks about perseverance through the circumstances. This passage goes on to tell of how distressed the Psalmist was – He was broken, verse 25 says his soul was clinging to the dust, his soul melts away for sorrow (v. 28). But he also realizes that the only way to get through this season is through the constant, steadfast, study, meditation, and learning of God’s precepts and living life according to them – and verse 32 tells us how it is done – “I will run in the way of your commandments, When You enlarge my heart (ESV).
Another way to translate this verse is to say, “for You set my heart free” (Crossway Bibles, 2016).
The Psalmist understands the sovereignty of God almighty. He continues to plead with God to teach, give him understanding, lead him, incline his heart, turn his eyes away from looking at worthless things, and for God to give him life and confirm His promises to His servant so that the psalmist will “fear” the Lord. (v. 33-38)
The Psalmist also pleads his case before the Lord with fear and trembling, demonstrated in v. 39 as he asks the Lord for mercy, because he fears the reproach of the Lord – and all that comes when we do not follow the commands of God – including death (v. 39-40).
Then there will be those who will trip you up.
Whenever we commit to getting our lives in order, we have to prepare ourselves to give a defense to those who will contend with our perseverance towards transformation. Again, the only way to combat the taunting of others is the confidence found in reading, studying, and adhering to God’s word.
The Psalmist says that when we trust in the Word of the Lord, only then will we have the answer for those who taunt us (v. 42) – and continues to stress God’s sovereignty by asking the Lord to keep the Word of truth in his mouth – that, that is where our hope lies (v. 43).
In verses 44-48, the Psalmist makes a declaration to the Lord to keep the Law and speak of God’s testimonies – because he delights in them. Through this abundance of security and relationship with God as the final authority, the standard by which we live, we too, as the Psalmist, will indeed walk in a “wide place” (45) with no fear of stumbling or being put to shame (46) – even when others try to do so – God will not… as long as we continue to be steadfast in our covenant with the Lord.
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who do no wrong, but walk in his ways. You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. (v. 1-4).
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word” Ps. 119:9-16).
Your work starts here:
How can a young woman keep her way pure?
Where do we begin?
Getting our priorities straight. Verse 17 opens with “Deal bountifully with me Lord…” But the Psalmist isn’t asking for worldly possessions or a “happy” life, he is not asking to be “delivered” from his circumstances – He is asking for the Lord to: (You’re gonna have to read it to get the answers)
Open my eyes, that I ________ ____________ wondrous things out of ______ __________. (19) I am a _______________ on the earth; hide not your _____________ from me (v. 20) My _________ is ____________ with longing for _________ ___________ at all times. (v. 21) You _____________ the ____________, accursed ones…. (who are the accursed ones? The Psalmist answers this question in the next sentence): WHO ________________ FROM YOUR ____________________. (v. 22) Take away from me ________________ and _______________, for I have kept your testimonies. (v. 23) Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will __________ on your __________. (v. 24) Your __________ are my __________; they are my ______________.
Next: Read Titus 2: 3-5