Today is a bit lengthy - we had to go to the commentary and copy and pasted what it had to say, awesome eye openers. Must read when you have aboutr 10-15 minutes, God will
honor your time. Blessins' - bfc
“How to get more understanding”
how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. 98 Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my
teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. 100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. 101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
that I might obey your word. (24/7 Battlefield!)
I’m going to have to look into a commentary on this one; the author sounds a little “proud” to me. If I meditate on the Word and I am open to listen and act upon what some
of the Godly teachers share with me, that tells me I have room to grow and I don’t know more than my teachers or elders.
The following commentary is so clear and concise as to what the writer is saying, it totally clarifies any questions or misunderstandings
I had when I “first read these verses”. Thankful!!
This study shows me, that when I don’t understand something in the Bible, I really need to stop and search the real meaning of what the Holy Spirit is telling me through His Word.
It’s possible to “misinterpret” the word if you are new in your
relationship with Jesus, thank God for Godly teachers and commentaries to help us. We are to seek wisdom from these sources, then pray as we learn and ask the Holy Spirit for His wisdom as to what He is saying to us.
Commentary Notes from Internet:
(98-100) God’s word gives great wisdom.
You, through your commandments,
make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my
meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep your precepts. a. You, through your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies:
The Psalmist had many enemies, some of them evil and some proud. Perhaps
the proud ones boasted that they were wiser or more educated than the writer of the Psalm. Yet the writer was confident that God’s word had given him greater wisdom.
- In these verses, we see that the Psalmist
is wiser and has more understanding than his enemies (Psalm 119:98), his teachers (Psalm 119:99), and the ancients
(Psalm 119:100).******** “The comparison is not a prideful assertion of superiority, but a form of exultation in the Lord himself, whose wisdom is more direct and superior.”
b. For they are ever with me: The Psalmist was real about the abiding presence of his enemies. They were with him ever, and he had to gain enough spiritual strength and enough strength
of character to survive and even thrive with them with him.
c. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation: Here the Psalmist explained why he
was wiser than his enemies. He even had more understanding than all his teachers (who, we hope were not the same as his previously mentioned enemies),
because of his serious study and meditation on God’s word.
- This verse teaches us that it is vitally important to have understanding, even great understanding. We
know this because of the value the Psalmist places on having more understanding.
ii. This verse teaches us that it is not wrong or bad to have teachers, because the Psalmist indeed had (either
now or in the past) teachers who taught him about life and God’s word. This verse is not a renunciation of those teachers.
iii. ***********This verse teaches us that our understanding of
God’s word and ways is not limited to what we receive from our teachers. That is, it teaches us that we can learn from our own study and meditation; that
teachers are often helpful but not absolutely necessary. Understanding is necessary; teachers may or may not be.
***********iv. This verse teaches us that this understanding does not come easily; true meditation involves
some element of work. It requires the ability to stay focused and the necessary tools for Biblical understanding and analysis.
v.************* This principle has been proven in the lives of God’s servants again and again. The Bible tells
us of men who were not educated by the world’s standards (such as the disciples, as in Acts 4:13) yet they had great understanding and were effective in
vi. This principle has also been proven in the lives of God’s servants since Bible times. Notable examples include Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, William Carey, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Hudson Taylor.
vii. It is helpful to remember
that God has used many who were greatly educated. Moses, Daniel, and Paul are all Biblical examples. Augustine, Luther, and Graham are just a few historical examples. It’s just as wrong to think that formal education disqualifies someone
for as it is to think that it automatically qualifies someone for effective service.
viii. “We may hear the wisest teachers and remain fools, but if we meditate upon the sacred word we must become wise. There is more wisdom in the testimonies
of the Lord than in all the teachings of men if they were all gathered into one vast library. The one book outweighs all the rest.” (Spurgeon)
ix. “It is no reflection upon my teachers, but rather an honor to them, for me to improve so as
to excel them, and no longer to need them.” (Matthew Henry, cited in Spurgeon)
d. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep your precepts: The Psalmist was even bolder than just saying that God’s word had
given him an education greater than his teachers. Now he says “I understand more than the ancients.”
i. “He understands more than the aged, that is, the direct keeping of the Divine precepts is
of more value than the advice of others, even though they have had long experience.” (Morgan)
ii. This is particularly meaningful when we realize how highly regarded the wisdom of the ancients was in that day and culture.
In the modern world it is all too common to disregard the wisdom and understanding of the ancients, but not in the Psalmist’s time.
iii. This also tells us that while we should in general respect the understanding and wisdom of the
ancients (which the Psalmist surely did, in general), we are not slaves to their wisdom and understanding. ***********Our rule for faith and doctrine and living is the Bible itself, not the understanding or interpretation of it from
even the great men of history.
iv. “The ancients are had in high repute, but what did they all know compared with that which we perceive in the divine precepts? ‘The old is better’ says one: but the oldest of all is the best of all,
and what is that but the word of the Ancient of days.” (Spurgeon)
v. Boice tells a story about the life of Harry Ironside, the pastor and author and Bible commentator. Ironside went to visit a man near death, suffering from tuberculosis.
The man was almost dead and could barely speak. As Ironside spoke to him he asked, “Young man, are you trying to preach Christ, are you not?” Ironside said that he was, and the man replied: “Well, sit down a little, and let us talk together
about the Word of God.” Then the man opened his Bible and spoke with Ironside until his strength was gone; he shared insights from the Bible that Ironside had not appreciated or even seen before. Ironside was stunned, and he asked the man: “Where
did you get these things? Can you tell me where I can find a book that will open them up to me? Did you get them in seminary or college?” The old man replied: “My dear young man, I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little sod
cottage in the north of Ireland. There with my open Bible before me, I used to kneel for hours at a time and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul and to open the Word to my heart. He taught me more on my knees on that mud floor than I ever could
have learned in all the seminaries or colleges in the world.”
3. (101-102) The word of God keeps one from evil.
I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. I have not departed from your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me.
a. I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep your word: The Psalmist understood that restraining himself from evil would also help him to understand God’s
word better. He could better keep God’s word by keeping from every evil way.
i. “There is no treasuring up the holy word unless there is a casting out of all ungodliness: if we keep the good
word we must let go the evil.” (Spurgeon)
b. I have not departed from your judgments, for you Yourself have taught me: The personal connection the Psalmist had with God through His word encouraged a faithful
i. This also demonstrates that God can teach the believer through His word in a direct sense – You yourself have taught me. This does not mean that everything one comes to through self-study is correct
or from God, and it does not eliminate the need for Bible teachers. Yet it does fulfill what Jesus later said in John 16:13:When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide
you into all truth.
ii. You Yourself have taught me: “The word thou [You] is emphatic. Here is the guarantor of biblical truth, and the One who alone opens the disciple’s eyes
to see it.” (Kidner)
4. (103-104) The sweet understanding from the word of God.
How sweet are your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through
Your precepts I understand; therefore I hate every false way. a. How sweet are your words to my taste:
The Psalmist felt the word of God was as pleasant to him as sweet things – even sweeter
than honey!************ Time spent in God’s word was not an unpleasant duty; it was a sweet experience to be thankful for.
i. How sweet: “He expresses the fact of their sweetness, but
as he cannot express the degree of their sweetness he cries, ‘How sweet!’” (Spurgeon) In comparison, the Psalmist had very little of God’s word – perhaps just the five Books of Moses and a few books more.
We have so much more riches and sweetness in the word of God than he did; yet most of us seem to value it less.
ii. “The study and obedience of thy words yields me more satisfaction and delight than any worldly men find in their sensual pleasures.”
iii. ************The Bible is filled with passage after passage that anyone with spiritual sensitivity would find sweet. Passages like Psalm 23:1-3, Psalm 8:1, John 3:16, Romans 8:28, or Revelation 22:20 are just a beginning. “If you can’t find anything beautiful or sweet in these verses, your taste bids are terribly dulled and your eyes horribly glazed by
the tawdry glitz of our culture.” (Boice)
iv. “For what argument could ever persuade us that honey is bitter, at the moment we are tasting its sweetness?” (Bridges)
v. “If the word of God be not very sweet to me, have
I an appetite? Solomon says, ‘The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.’ Ah, when a soul is full of itself, and of the world, and of the pleasures of sin, I do not wonder that it sees no sweetness
in Christ, for it has no appetite!” (Spurgeon)
vi. “It is a blessed sign of grace in the heart when God’s words are sweet to us as a whole, — when we love the truth, not cast into a system or a shape, but as we find it
in God’s Word. I believe that no man who has yet lived has ever proposed a system of theology which comprises all the truth of God’s Word. If such a system had been possible, the discovery of it would have been made for us by God himself: —
certainly it would if it had been desirable and useful for our profit and holiness. But it has not pleased God to give us a body of divinity; let us receive it as he has given it, each truth in its own proportion, — each doctrine in harmony with its
fellow, — each precept carefully carried out into practice, and each promise to be believed, and by-and-by received. Let the truth, and the whole truth, be sweet to our taste.” (Spurgeon)
b. Through Your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way: The understanding gained by the Psalmist gave him discernment and courage; the ability to perceive and hate every false way.
Notably, the psalmist began this section with love; he ends it with hate. “The Christian life is not all sweetness . . . It has its sweet moments, and there is incomparable beauty in God. But we still live in a sour, ugly world,
and it is equally important to learn to hate evil as well as love the good.” (Boice)
N. Nun: Never-Ending Confidence in God’s Word.
1. (105) The illuminating guidance of God’s word.
word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. a. Your word is a lamp to my feet: The Psalmist felt that as he walked the road
of life, the word of God made his steps clear. He would not know where to step without the guidance of God’s word.
i. It is possible to walk the path of life not knowing where our steps fall. To use the analogy, we don’t
know if our foot will step on good ground or dangerous ground; we are not self-aware. God’s word will be a lamp to our feet.
ii. Simply said, the Bible should help us walk the way God wants
us to walk. Think of all the different words we use to describe how a person walks: stroll, saunter, amble, trudge, plod, dawdle, hike, tramp, tromp, slog, stomp, march, stride, sashay, glide, troop, patrol, wander, ramble, tread, prowl, promenade, roam, traipse,
mosey, and perambulate. The different words show that there are many different ways to walk, and each of them says something.
iii. How are Christians to walk?
· Worthy (Ephesians 4:1)
· Uprightly (Isaiah 57:2)
· In the light (1 John 1:7)
· Humbly (Micah 6:8)
None of these are possible without the word of God lighting our way.
iv. The picture of a lamp says something. “Thus
is our passage in a dark and perilous way irradiated by thelamp and light of the word. But except the lamp be lighted – except the teaching of the Spirit accompany the word, all is darkness – thick darkness.
Let us not be content to read the word without obtaining some lightfrom it in our understanding.” (Bridges)
b. A light to my path: The word of God not only showed him where his feet stepped,
but also the path he should remain upon. It showed him the next few steps to take.
i. We need the Bible to teach us right from wrong. We certainly do have some inner sense of this in our conscience; but our conscience can
be weak, ignorant, or damaged. The word of God is higher even than our conscience, and it teaches our conscience.
ii. “This is not convenient guidance for one’s career, but truth for moral choices; see, for example, the kind of ‘snare’
and ‘straying’ that are implied in 119:110.” (Kidner)
iii. “One of the most practical benefits of Holy Writ is guidance in the acts of daily life; it is not sent to astound us with its brilliance, but to guide us by its instruction.”
c. **************Your word is a lamp . . . and a light: These pictures show us that the word of God is light and brings light; it doesn’t make things darker or harder
to understand. It is a light book, not a dark book.
i. “This stanza emphasizes the clarity of Scripture, the attribute of the Bible that meant so much to the Protestant Reformers, who also called it perspicuity. What
they meant by clarity of perspicuity is that the Bible is basically comprehensible to any open-minded person who reads it.” (Boice)
ii. Not all parts are equally clear and easy to understand; and it is helpful to have wisdom from others in what
they have seen in the Scriptures. Yet at its core, the Bible can be understood, and Christians do understand it. Think of all the common ground Christians, even of greatly different denominations, have together: