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Meditation Psalm 119i

ט Teth

Do good to your servant
    according to your word, Lord.
Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
    for I trust your commands.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I obey your word.
You are good, and what you do is good;
    teach me your decrees.
Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,
    I keep your precepts with all my heart.
Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,
    but I delight in your law.
It was good for me to be afflicted
    so that I might learn your decrees.
The law from your mouth is more precious to me
    than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

(Ps. 119:65-72 NIV)

The Psalmist uses the word good five times. Do good, good judgement, You are good, what You do is good, and it was good for me to be afflicted. I remember as a child being introduced to the novel and film of Pollyanna, a young girl who brought joy into the life of many people by playing what she called ‘the glad game’. Many of the people she came into contact with had become embittered in their lives by different experiences, but Pollyanna persuaded them to think about things they could be glad about. Leaving the fictional world of Pollyanna behind, think about what the Psalmist is doing. He is describing things that are good in his life. He prays that the Lord will do him good according to what God describes in His word. The Psalmist has had to read and study the word in order to discover what is good and he prays that that good will be manifest in his life.

Which one of us would not want to have good judgement, the God-given wisdom to be able to make not just right decisions but the best decisions. The Psalmist has learned from God’s word that God’s judgements are good. Looking back on our lives there are many times when it would have been better to have had good judgement. Good judgements for the things we did and said, good judgement for the things that should have been said and done. Like the Psalmist we want to be taught knowledge from God’s word so that we will be wiser and able to make good judgements. Like the Psalmist we have at times gone astray, and often that has left us afflicted. The Lord brings us back and gives more opportunity to obey His word.

God is good to the Psalmist and He has been good to us. It would be a good exercise to think of all those things that are good in your life. When we lived in Northern Ireland we held a monthly prayer meeting in our home for workers in the South of Ireland. Each person attending the prayer meeting would write each month to a different worker. We heard that one worker was greatly discouraged with the work and feeling quite discouraged. In order to encourage this worker, the group decided to put together the letters from this worker to remind them of all the good answers to prayer that they had received over the years. It is good to take stock and see how good God is and the good things that He has done for us. Though the Psalmist has learned, he recognises that there is more to learn and he prays that the Lord will continue to teach him from the word.

The arrogant have told lies about him but he is not going to be deflected by opposition like this, he will keep God’s word in his heart. The Psalmist is building spiritual resilience through his meditation in God’s word. The people who oppose him don’t care about his feelings and they are unfeeling themselves. They say whatever they want with no regard for the damage their words might do. The Psalmist doesn’t meditate on their words, he meditates in God’s word.

Looking back on his life the Psalmist sees that being afflicted was good, because through affliction he learned so much more about the Lord’s word.

The word of God is more precious than gold and silver to the Psalmist. The riches of God’s word will be his possession for all eternity.

The law of the Lord is perfect:

Prayer
Our gracious God and heavenly Father we thank You that You are good, and Your works are good. We have received abundantly out of Your goodness. Lord forgive us for having short memories. Over the years You have blessed us. We have received so much more than we deserve. Lord our God we give You our thanks in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.