ETL.024: Some Things You Probably Didn’t Know, But Should, About One of the Most Popular Psalms—119

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Psalm 119 is well known, but for an oddity rather than for what it should be known.  This Psalm is commonly recognized as not only the longest of the 150 Psalms, but also the longest chapter in the Bible.  It is 176 verses long.  But there is a reason a very specific reason for its length.  The structure of this Psalm makes it a literary marvel.

But not only is the structure of the Psalm an incredible fete, its message is delivered in a remarkable fashion as well.  Employing both repetition and variation, this Psalm essentially says the same thing 176 times and in 176 different ways.  Beginning with, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!” this lengthy Psalm goes on to extoll the virtues of God’s word; it’s beauty, value, importance, and desirability.  Seven primary synonymous terms are used to refer to Scripture. These are law, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, and rules.  Two others are also used, but much more sparsely: promises and faithfulness.

 

Some of the best known and beloved statements from Psalm 119:

  • “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (11).
  • “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors” (24).
  • “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces” (72).
  • “Forever, O Lord, you world is firmly fixed in the heavens” (89).
  • “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (103).
  • “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (104).
  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (105).
  • “Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.  Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way”  (127-128).

Links and email addresses for this show:

Jenkins Institute Podcast
http://thejenkinsinstitute.com/tji-podcast/

Contact us with comments, observations, or whatever you might like to say:
feedback@ireadtheword.com

 

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ETL.023: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith Interview with Pat Peters; All Christians Ministering Effectively and Compassionately to Hurting People

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Pat Peters began years ago as a youth minister attempting to encourage and train the young people he worked with to reach out to people in places of pain; at that time to people in a local hospital.  Before long, this led to his being invited to serve as a chaplain in the oncology ward of that hospital, which he did for several years.

Since then Pat has devoted a great part of his ministry as a preacher to serving people who are in places of pain.  In more recent years he has also devoted himself to training and encouraging individual Christians and congregations to do the same through workshops, individual speaking opportunities and even special training sessions with preachers in Christian universities and preacher training schools.

 

You will want to hear Pat discuss:

Recommendations for Christians to enter the world of the hurting

—a place we’d rather avoid
—how to have the right mindset going in

How to be be most effective in this situation

—letting them speak instead of worrying about saying the right right thing or making sure you get a chance to talk
—avoiding common mistakes (being afraid of saying the wrong thing, assuming you know the persons feelings or thoughts, telling “war stories” about similar (or not) situations
—practical things to do (listen honestly, make them the center of attention, ask them if they’s like to talk about it—the let them do it or not,

Thoughts on getting others involved in ministering to the hurting (and everyone is hurting in some way!)

 

Scriptures for Ministering to the Hurting

Matthew 22:34-40 and 25:40
loving our neighbor is so closely related to loving God

Psalms 22 and 23
“Psalms 23 always follows Psalm 22”
Psalms 22 expresses distress over God’s apparent absence and the hurting one feels, bhen Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd…”.

The book of Philippians is very encouraging

All the situations were people are in dilemmas and God helps them and passages of the constancy of through all kinds of situations.

 

Email Pat

Pat invites you to contacts to with questions or further communication about any of these matters
plpeters20@hotmail.com

 

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ETL.022: What You Don’t Know About the Most Beloved Book of the Bible: Psalms

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In our “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith” interviews the truth has been borne out that Scripture has played a vital role in handling not only the hardships and constant struggles of life, but the bombshells sometimes dropped on us.  That fact, coupled with a class that I recently began teaching brought my attention to a particular book of the Bible, the Old Testament book of Psalms.

The book is unique in the Bible in that its made up entirely of poetic material, the words of songs (roughly speaking), that were collected over long period of time in Israel’s history.  The fact that the content of this book are of this nature (as opposed to history or laws or doctrine) have led some to have an attitude that views the Psalms as somehow less valuable or less important.  What a mistake!

 

The Incomparable Value of Psalms

We most of think of things like poetry and praise and songs when we think about the book of Psalms; and that’s with good reason.  But there are some things about Psalms we may not know.

For instance that the book of Psalms is actually a collection of five smaller books.  Notice in your Bible before the title for Psalms 1, 42, 73, 90, and 107.  You’ll probably see the words Book 1, Book 2, and so on.  What is more each of these books ends with a “doxology” ( a word of praise). Notice Psalms 41:13 and 72:18-19 as examples.  We also discuss some other “collections” within the book as well.

Another feature of the book you may not know—I failed to cover this in the podcast, so this is bonus material in the show notes!—is that though the book is attributed to David, there are many other authors covering a very long time span.  The earliest Psalm was apparently written by Moses (see the heading for Psalm 90).  The latest that can be identified is Psalm 137 which obviously comes from the time of Babylonian captivity.

 

Historically valuable

• In the Bible itself—it’s the most quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament
• In the history of Christianity it has been cherished and valued
• Today as evidenced in it’s influence in our hymns (look at the Scripture index of a hymn book.

 

Teach us how to praise God

• Modern worshipers sometimes make a false distinction between worship and praise. They designate a certain worship assembly as a “praise service.”  All worship is praise, all praise is worship.
• We learn the language of praise from the Psalms. The very vocabulary and expressions we use to praise God ought to be heavily influenced by the Psalms.
• A common failing of modern praise songs is the lack reasons why God is to be praised.  The Psalms not only praise, but tell why God is to be praised.

 

Expressions of faith and praise from all perspectives of life

Perhaps one of the greatest reasons we love the Psalms is that they are expressions of faith and praise from all perspectives of life; even when things are difficult and we may be struggling.  In this way the Psalms can speak not only to us but for us as we go through all the highs and lows of life.

 

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