Blessed by the Word

“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.” (Psalm 119:1)

The Hebrew word barak appears over 300 times in the Bible. It basically means to endue or bless with power for success, prosperity, fruitfulness, longevity, and so on. The oft-used Aaronic blessing (Numbers 6:24-26) closes with, “The LORD lift up [turn] his countenance upon [toward] thee, and give thee peace,” and is initiated by the greater upon the lesser.

The opening stanza of Psalm 119 identifies the traits of a lifestyle subject to the Word of God and then claims the blessing that comes as the result of those who “seek him with the whole heart” (Psalm 119:2). The unknown psalmist saturates all 22 stanzas with eight key words describing the intimate role by which inspired Scriptures empower godly behavior. Six are used in this opening testimony and prayer.

Those who “walk in the law [torah] of the LORD” and “keep his testimonies” (edah) receive God’s blessing (Psalm 119:1-2). These instructions inscripturated in God’s Word enable us to be “undefiled in the way” and to “do no iniquity” (Psalm 119:3). The apostle Paul noted that apart from the law, he would not know he was sinning (Romans 7:7).

God “hast commanded us to keep [His] precepts [piqquwd—listings, statutes, laws] diligently. . . . Then shall [we] not be ashamed, when [we] have respect unto all [His] commandments [mitzvah―instructions]” (Psalm 119:4-6).

The promise to “praise [Him] with uprightness of heart” (Psalm 119:7) is based on a prayer: “O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes [hoq―engraved laws]!” (Psalm 119:5). And we can be certain that a righteous life will come when we have “learned [His] righteousness judgments [mishpat]” (Psalm 119:7). May our lives be as dedicated to God’s Word as is described in this magnificent song. HMM III

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