Sunday Worship Preparation: Psalm 119n (Nun)

Psalm119nContinuing to make our way through the book of Psalms, and particularly Psalm 119 at present, we come to the 14th stanza of Ps.119, titled “Nun” because each of the eight verses begins with this Hebrew letter (comparable to our letter “n”, remembering that Psalm 119 is an acrostic psalm).

We are taking this trek through the Psalms as a guide in helping us prepare for our worship on the Lord’s Day. And even though Psalm 119, with its emphasis on love for the Lord expressed in love for His law, may not at first seem to be conducive for worship, we are discovering that in fact it is. From many points of view it is, but perhaps most clearly from this point of view, that just as God’s law reveals His will for our lives in all areas, so it does for worship too. Not our will but God’s will is sovereign and wise, and therefore, best – in worship too. And so, if we love the Lord, we love His law for the way it guides us in every aspect of our lives, including worship.

With this in mind, we meditate on this next section of Psalm 119. Here is the Word of God:

NUN.

105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

107 I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word.

108 Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me thy judgments.

109 My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.

110 The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.

111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

112 I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

In many ways that opening line along with v.111 express the theme of this psalm. God’s Word (law) is the lamp and light on our path through life. It guides us sovereignly, because it is the revelation of God’s sovereign will for our lives. And it guides us perfectly (both without failure and without error), because it is the revelation of God’s unchanging truth and righteousness. And because we have been redeemed by Christ’s blood and Spirit from our bondage to rebellion and disobedience, and have been set free to love and serve God – according to this very law, we have taken God’s testimonies as our heritage forever and find that they fill our hearts with rejoicing.

Can we say that this morning? Can we say that as we prepare to worship our great and holy God? Do we have God’s Word as our guide as we enter His sacred courts of praise and prayer? And are we rejoicing in that divine guidance, such that we are thankful we are not left to devise our own path for worship? Let us be, for this is the worship that is pleasing to the Lord! Not our will-worship (See Col.2:16ff.), but the Lord’s will-worship!

And if we confess that God’s Word is our guide and the rejoicing of our hearts, then we are fully committed to keeping it in our lives. We have seen many times already how the psalmist gives expression to this, and here it is again in this section. He has even sworn with an oath that he will keep God’s judgments (v.106). He is determined to walk in obedience to his Lord with steadfast perseverance – “alway”, “even unto the end” (v.112). And even though he is afflicted very much (v.107) and has wicked enemies laying snares for him (v.110), he has not strayed from God’s precepts. What a witness to the power of God’s grace! What a testimony to his love for the Lord! Is this our commitment too as we stand at the beginning of a new week? Will we show forth the Lord’s grace in our hearts and lives with such perseverance?

This testimony does not mean that the psalmist is without weakness and sin. Notice that in the midst of his affliction he asks God to make him alive (“quicken me”) according to His Word (v.107). Notice that he seeks God’s acceptance of the offering of his mouth and prays to be further taught God’s judgments (v.108). These requests demonstrate the humility of the psalm-writer and tell us that he was deeply conscious of his sin and weakness. He knew he was not perfect in his desire and in his deeds, and needed the grace of God to enable him to stay on the lamp-lit path of God.

Are we also conscious of this need in our own lives? Even as we are committed to obeying the Lord out of love for Him, are we also committed to praying to Him for the grace to do what He requires us to do? May we learn again from the testimony of this man of God.

May God bless our worship this day. May He for Christ’s sake receive the free will offerings of our mouths. And may we, in and through Christ, freely praise Him for His abundant mercy to us sinners.

You may also meditate on this stanza of Psalm 119 through this versification of it found in the Psalter used for public worship in the PRC. Visit the page to listen to the piano accompaniment as well. Here are the lyrics as found in Psalter #334:

1. Thy word sheds light upon my path;
A shining light, it guides my feet;
Thy righteous judgments to observe
My solemn vow I now repeat.

2. In my distress I plead with Thee,
Send help according To Thy word;
Accept my sacrifice of praise
And make me know Thy judgments, Lord.

3. In danger oft and nigh to death,
Thy law remembered is my aid;
The wicked seek my overthrow,
Yet from Thy truth I have not strayed.

4. Thy precepts are my heritage,
For daily they my heart rejoice;
To keep Thy statutes faithfully
Shall ever be my willing choice.

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