Sunday School Lessons

Both Excited and Sorrowful

For the last “section” in this mini-study from Psalm 119, let’s jump down to verse 129.  The Hebrew letter used here in this acrostic psalm is “Pe”.

Let’s start with a question: What do you get really excited about?  Some people get excited on days when they get to receive (or give) gifts.  Others get excited about the playoffs for their favorite sports.  Others look forward to seeing their family after a long business trip or deployment.  Maybe you get excited about a new release of something related to your favorite hobby.  Our tastes may vary, but looking forward to something is a true joy that we can each enjoy.

In verses 129-131. the author hasn’t lost any passion for God’s commands.  They are described as “wonderful”, as well as giving light and understanding.

In fact, the author is panting for God’s commands!  I know what it’s like to pant for air, like when I help with leaf-raking or snow-shoveling.  When we need water or air so much that we’re panting, think of the refreshing feeling when we can finally get a drink or pause and take a few deep breaths (like a runner at the end of a race).  That’s what it could be like for our souls when we take in God’s Word!

In verses 132-135, the author (psalmist) has several requests for God, and I think that it’s OK for each of us to ask God for these particular things.  The author asks…

  • For God’s mercy (or grace), having asserted that he loves God’s name
  • For God’s direction, to stay out of sin (or injustice)
  • For God’s rescuing, not to brag about personally escaping one’s enemies, but to obey God
  • For God’s favor and presence (as I read it), and to be taught more from God

I think that these are things to get excited about, as we engage in a conversation with God: not only listening to Him, but sharing with Him what is on our heart, as well.


Let’s take a look at verse 136 in a little more detail.

Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for your law is not obeyed.
Psalms 119:136 NIV

https://psalm.bible/psalm-119-136

To put this in perspective, let me ask this: What happens when something you love is destroyed?  If kids broke an heirloom of yours while horsing around, or you hear about a painting or building being vandalized, you might become sad, frustrated, angry, or vengeful.  (I admit to sometimes being frustrated when appliances, tools, gadgets, or electronics break, and I don’t think that I would say that I even “love” those things.)

The author loves God’s law so much (and appreciates how good God’s commands are, along with the harm that happens when they aren’t followed) that the reaction to God’s law not being obeyed is overt sadness.  I suppose that this could happen whether the author was not obeying God’s law, or the author saw that God’s law was not being followed by others.

Even if we talk about being obedient ourselves, and carefully managing how we judge others for their sin (see Matthew 7:1-6), I think that it’s still appropriate to mourn and lament over sin in this world.  After all…

  • Sin is a blight upon creation.
  • Sin harms both the guilty and the innocent.
  • Sin destroys individuals and it destroys relationships.
  • Sin leads to violence, and so many other kinds of evil.

So, if you grieve over sin and its effects, you don’t need to apologize for that.  After all, Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44) because of the destruction that would come upon it.  Be sad, but don’t be hopeless.  Sin has entrenched itself in this world, but it will be overcome.

And, how are we reminded of God’s unstoppable plan to overcome sin?  From His Word, as the psalmist has been telling us.


As this mini-series on Psalm 119 wraps up, I hope that you will take from it a renewed passion (or at least an interest) in God’s Word.

I hope that you have had a chance to learn from God’s Word today, and took some time to get to know Him better.  (Those things are more important than reading this site, for sure.)  If not, why not take a break and read a passage or two from the Bible, and talk with God about what He inspired?  Or, if you have already listened to God and talked with Him today, consider adding even a little more Bible reading and listening to God into your daily routine.  It may just turn your life around.


From Sunday School lesson prepared for October 23, 2022

References:

  • The Lookout, October 23, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
  • Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
  • The College Press NIV Commentary, Psalms, Volume 2, Walter D. Zorn, © 2004, College Press Publishing Co., Joplin, MO.

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