Psalm 119:1-8 (New International Version)
1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart.
3 They do nothing wrong;
they walk in his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.
Psalm 119 is a devotional poem from what appears to be a very pious priest. This is the only psalm in The Psalms written by this author. This psalm is an acrostic poem; the verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. As we periodically study this psalm, we will study how this Israelite priest sought to pass on godly instruction in his devotional study of the word of God.
In this introductory stanza, we will note that the Psalter makes the statement that those who are obedient will be blessed, happy, consecrated to God. Blessing is the reward for following God and His instruction. The author then goes on to describe what an obedient and blessed person does in verse 3. He then states what God's requires of us in verse 4. Finally in verses 5-8, he personalizes the stanza and describes himself. It is interesting how, although this is a very pious and devout man, he shows his humility and humanity before God. It is a little easier to understand this when translated in the New Century Version:
5 I wish I were more loyal in obeying your demands.6 Then I would not be ashamed when I study your commands.
And then, as if he stands up and lifts himself up to God with determination and commitment, he declares before God that he will take the action required.
This chapter of The Psalms is a good one for personal reflection and meditation. Take a few minutes and read it for yourself. Pray through it, lifting up to God each verse. Starting with verse 5, personalize the verses for yourself, putting yourself in the place of this humble priest. This will help to bring you closer to God, and to find blessing and joy in His presence.