Pastor James J. Barker

Text: PSALMS 119:1-8


  1. Psalm 119 is the longest psalm, and the longest chapter in the Bible.
  2. The length of this psalm saved a manís life one day. Back in 1650, a Scottish general by the name of the Marquis of Montrose was hanged, drawn and quartered in Edinburgh. He had a chaplain in his army called George Wishart (not to be confused with another man by the same name who was martyred in 1546; the first George Wishart was burnt at the stake in Edinburgh by the RCC on account of his preaching the Gospel, which Rome considered heresy). The Wishart who was the chaplain and biographer of the Marquis of Montrose was up on the scaffold and about to be hanged. They had a custom back in those days of allowing the condemned a psalm to sing. Wishart wisely chose Psalm 119. He got about two-thirds of the way through the Psalm when a pardon arrived and his life was preserved.
  3. Psalm 119 is almost smack dab in the middle of the Bible. Actually, the middle verse is Ps.118:8. The middle chapter in the Bible is Ps.117.
  4. Psalm 119 has been called "the Golden Alphabet of the Bible." That is because it is divided into 22 sections, one for each letter in the Hebrew alphabet.
  5. Each section has 8 verses, and every verse in a section begins with the corresponding Hebrew letter.
  6. Many Bible teachers have made a big thing about this, pointing out that 8 represents new beginnings and resurrection Ė our Lord arose from the dead on the eighth day.
  7. Therefore, in the Hebrew, every verse in the first section begins with Aleph, in the second section with Beth, and so on.
  8. The Jews wrote in this fashion to help them memorize the Scriptures.
  9. All but five of these verses contain some reference to the Word of God. God is referred to in every verse.
  10. We are not told who the human author is. This is one of 50 "anonymous" Psalms. Spurgeon was quite certain that David was the author.
  11. He wrote: "We believe that David wrote this Psalm. It is Davidic in tone and expression, and it tallies with Davidís experience in many interesting points. In our youth our teacher called it `Davidís pocket book,í and we incline to the opinion then expressed that here we have the royal diary written at various times throughout a long life" (Treasury of David).
  12. He also wrote these words: "The more one studies it the fresher it becomes. As those who drink the Nile water like it better every time they take a draught, so does this Psalm become the more full and fascinating the oftener you turn to it."
  13. The first two verses both begin with a blessing, and so I have entitled todayís message, "THE BLESSINGS THAT COME FROM GODíS WORD."



    1. As I began to study these opening verses, I immediately thought of Psalm 1:1,2.
    2. The truly happy or "blessed" man is the one whose life is conformed to the Word of God.
    3. This world cannot provide true happiness Ė only peace with God can do that.
    4. "Pleasures are like poppies spread,
      You seize the flower, the bloom is fled,
      Or like a snowflake on the river,
      A moment white, then gone forever" Ė Robert Burns.
    1. The Psalmist says, "Blessed are the undefiledÖ" (119:1), i.e. those not defiled or polluted by sin.
    2. "ÖWho walk in the law of the Lord" (vs. 1b). "Law" here means Godís law, His rule of conduct. It is the revelation of the will of God for the life of man. The Lord Jesus Christ said: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil" (Matt.5:17).
    3. If we walk right, we will stay out of trouble and "do no iniquity" (vs. 3). God directs those who "walk in His ways" (vs.3).
    4. "`His waysí indicates the pathway of His appointment" (G. Campbell Morgan).
    5. The word "way" suggests a course of conduct marked out by Godís Word.



    1. Note that word "keep" (vss. 2,4,5,8).
    2. "When we walk with the Lord
      In the light of His Word,
      What a glory He sheds on the way!
      While we do His good will,
      He abides with us still,
      And with all who will trust and obey."

    3. Godís "testimonies" are to be kept. The word is derived from a word which means to bear witness, to testify.
    4. God has commanded us to keep His precepts diligently (vs. 4). These are the "appointments of God." The Hebrew word translated "precepts" is found only in the book of Psalms, 24 times, and 21 of the times are in this chapter. It means "mandates, injunctions."
    5. We are to keep Godís testimonies (vs. 2), His precepts (vs. 4), and also, His "statutes" (vs. 5). I donít remember which child it was but one of my children heard me preach on keeping Godís statutes one time and was confused. She said: "I thought it was wrong to make statues of God?"
    6. But this is not statues, but statutes, i.e., definite, prescribed written laws, what is ordained, decreed, or enacted. Spurgeon said it means "that moral law of God which is engraven on the fleshy tables of the heart."



    1. God is looking for a "perfect heart" (Ps.101:1-3).
    2. True Christianity is a heart religion (cf. Deut.6:5; 10:12; 11:13; Mark 12:28-31). False Christianity is all ritualism and formalism.
    3. When our hearts are right with God, we shall not be ashamed (vs. 6). We will "have respect unto all Godís commandments" (vs. 6b).
    4. When we walk right and do right, we will not have to be ashamed because of a shabby life. We can avoid embarrassing situations. It is amazing how many people today feel no shame despite getting caught doing terrible things (e.g., Marv Albert court case).


    1. Every one in this room is capable of doing shameful things Ė even worse than Marv Albert, even worse than President Clinton, et al. That is why we need to stay in Godís Word (vss. 5,6).
    2. "I can bear scorpionís stings, tread fields of fire,

"In frozen gulfs of cold eternal lie;
Be tossed aloft through tracts of endless void,
But cannot live in shame"
— Joanna Baillie (1762-1851).

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