Psalm 119 - Aleph (The Secret To Happiness)
Updated: Sep 20, 2019
Psalm 119:1-8 NIV
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart –
they do no wrong but follow His ways.
You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.
Psalm 119 is the longest psalm, made up of 22 sections with 8 sentences each. Each of the 22 sections is given a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and each line in that section begins with that letter. Most ancient experts dedicate this psalm to David though some disagreed.
The Psalmist began this long psalm exalting those who are “blessed”. What does ‘blessed’ really mean? Some explain it as just being happy. But from the Psalmist’s perspective, it is more than the ‘happy’ we are familiar with, for example, winning a football game or graduating from school. He wanted to truly enjoy his life.
What is the secret to happiness?
What does “walk” mean to us?
We learned to walk since we were toddlers and will walk until we lose the ability, or pass on. So to “walk according to the law of the Lord” isn’t just about doing our quiet times or obeying some commandments, it is about our life-long journey with God. The Psalmist saw that those whose ways were blameless were happy with their life. That was inspiring to him.
He looked at those who “seek Him with all their heart” and “do no wrong" to God, and he realised that those who sought after God kept God’s words in their hearts like a treasure. He desired his life journey to be blessed like them. That’s how we can be blessed too; seek after God wholeheartedly, and walk in obedience to Him.
He looked at God’s rules, and saw that God “had laid down precepts to be fully obeyed”. Jesus had summed up all the many rules into two commandments – to love God and to love our neighbours. We are to be “steadfast in obeying your (God’s) decrees”.
We “would not be put to shame” as long as our deeds are all done out of love for God and the people around us. We wouldn’t want to face the shameful consequences that sins often bring us. Neither would we want to be ashamed when we face God in prayer or during judgment in future. We’ve got to obey God’s commands to love, and all the actions that spring naturally from a heart that loves God and others.
The Psalmist desired not just to praise God with his mouth, but also to “praise you (God) with an upright heart”. We can go to church and sing praises to God with our mouths, but are not upright in our hearts. God desires us to be righteous and not merely pay lip service.
Learning God’s words is the first step in getting our hearts right. Like the Psalmist, we know we are far way from full obedience to God, but that should not stop us from wanting to make our best efforts. The Psalmist made a resolute commitment, “I will obey”, a determined decision to try his utmost. And he knew he needed God’s help and forgiveness, requesting God not to forsake him. God has chosen to forsake Jesus on the cross, so that He will not have to forsake us.
God has laid down the precepts for our life. It is all in the Bible, and we can enjoy real life if we follow His ways. Satan tells us otherwise, that life is found elsewhere, like how he tempted Jesus. Life is good and enjoyable when we follow God’s ways.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.