Giving The Perfect Testimony

Psalm 119

57 Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.
58 I entreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.
59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.
62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
64 The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.

This is the eighth section of Psalm 119. Having covered a more detailed overview of the Psalm, it is my intention to go more thoroughly through each section. Briefly, each section is according to the letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter contains 8 verses that begin with that specific letter. Cheth is the eighth letter, so each verse, in the Hebrew, begins with a word starting with the letter Cheth.
In Hebrew, unlike English, each letter was originally also a word. We do not know the meaning of every letter today, but we do know most. Cheth probably means "an hedge or fence". Since the Psalmist built the Psalm based on the letters, it is likely the meaning of each letter played in his thoughts as he composed each section. In this section, though the meaning is slightly uncertain, we do see a perfect theme match to the meaning of a hedge or fence. This Psalm is also based upon the usage of a host of words that are "legal" terms in the Hebrew. I have gone into a more thorough definition of each word, as it has been encountered, in the previous sections. I would recommend going there to find those expansions. I will cover additional words as we come across them.

Clear Conversion Testimony
57 Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.
We have an illustration presented for us in this section. The word for "portion" also means "share, tract, parcel of land". If we think back to the division of the Promised Land amongst the tribes of Israel, we will remember the individual families waiting in line to receive their allotted "portion". This Psalmist seems to recall that, and declare Yahweh to be his claim.
Much like a parcel of land, this section is marked with more than one boundary marker. This section finds that boundary marker of the name of the LORD at the beginning and ending. It is not found anywhere else within it.
If the letter "Cheth" does hold the meaning of hedge or fence, we can certainly see it has been built into this message. Having laid this marker stone, the Psalmist initiates the path that such a share means. Land is simple enough in moving on to it and farming it. What does such mean with Yahweh? In a more rough and literal translation we find, "my speech to observe (keep, guard) Your speech (preponderantly written word)." In modern thought, having chosen the LORD is the verbal confession of commitment to follow God's Word. It is the act of consecration and the decision to follow obediently.

58 I entreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.
The word translated "entreated" carries with it the foundation of sickness or weakness. Such helps us to see the Psalmist's approach to Yahweh was from the position of humility. He did not come with arrogance, a sense of deserving something. He came with the heart of one who was sick and diseased. In need of a cure.
The first word of "entreating" caused us to look at the state of the imploring individual at the foot of the throne. The next word of "favour" is the common word for "face". What we are seeing here is the only way to go before the face of God. One dare not go before the face of God, in supposed humility, with a partial heart. All the heart is required as we approach God:
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Matthew 22:37
The second part of this verse contains the word that brings us the closest the Hebrew has to the New Testament word for "Grace". The word "merciful" here is that for graciousness, to show favor and mercy. Our Psalmist is asking for God's grace as he had seen in His written Word. Remember our Psalmist was in the Old Testament period. Look at what he found and came wholeheartedly before God over. He wanted God's grace, "according to thy word". More literally it reads, "as Your speeches". In verse 57, we had the "I have said". Now we see that same word appealing to the verbal words of God that the Psalmist is standing upon.
How ignorant was that preacher who scorned the writer, or writers, of Psalm 119 as being a "legalist fanatic".

59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
We have the marvelous testimony of this Psalmist. He is recalling for us the path he took to come into a right relationship with God. We are shown how he entered to take possession of his "portion". He had not only read God's Word, he had heard His Words as a living revelation. With that light, he thought about how it applied to his path of life. With that consideration, and the realization of his wickedness, he repented.
The word for "turned" carries with it the thought of returning or turning back. It is the idea of going one way and making a change to go in another. That is the theme of "repentance". The Psalmist saw his paths were contrary to God's and humbled himself, seeking God's merciful grace. The path, his "my ways", that he had been going in, is reflected in that term for "roadway or highway". The "turning" connects that to the path his feet take. His feet were treading down the roadway to hell. He turned them to the roadway going the other direction. That roadway had a name. It is "testimonies". He chose to follow what God had given as a witness of His character.

60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
When he had heard God's Word, he didn't put off repentance. He hurried to obey God's Word.
Hebrew has the method of emphasis in doubleing a word or phrase. That is what we see here. This Psalmist "made haste" for the first word. The second, emphasis portion being "delayed not".
This man's response was like that of a man beholding a devouring wall of fire that lay just before him. His vision being slightly obscured so that he couldn't tell if that consuming fire of judgment was just moments in front of him or more distant after some years. All he knew was that is was the end of the road for him. To continue forward was sure and certain death. When he saw that, he noticed the parallel side road that took him to the gates of the Celestial City in honor. He dare not delay one more moment. He leaped, with every last ounce of strength (all his heart), across the separation ditch, to that parallel path of life. He besought God's merciful grace. Once he saw he had attained his footing there, he sprinted down that path of obedience to God's commandments (mitzvoth).
Thus far we find the clear conversion testimony. It gives a demonstration of what a true conversion will look like.

What Life Is Like Now
61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.
The word translated, "bands" has a broad meaning being, "cord, rope, territory, part, region". The word translated, "robbed" means "do again, testify, bear witness".
At this point we see an interesting comparison to verse 57. The Psalmist had forsaken the portion of this world in favor of the LORD being his portion. In a different wording, but similar parallel, we see the looking back at that which he had come from. When he chose the LORD as his portion, he turned his feet to the new path and left another "portion" behind. The choice of the one meant the abandoning of the other. The actual word here sheds extra light as to "what" was left behind. The portion of this world, that of wickedness, acts like a cord, or rope of enslavement. It is not just a choice of having our portion with God or this World. We naturally inherit our portion in this world by birth. It is that old nature of the fallen Adam. It is a nature that binds us to the enslavement of sin.
We see that "portion" of the wicked "testifies, bears witness, or does again" to this Psalmist. Trying to simplify that, it could be showing this world's power to try and pull him back, or it could point to the outrage in its opposition of him. With either direction, we have his personal testimony of holding fast to "remembering" God's directions for life, the torath.
Though the world rages, or tries to pull us back, the testimony, we must hold fast to, is remembering what God has shown us.

62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
Look at the splendid character transformation of this Psalmist. Before, his nights knew nothing of God. Now, it is his joy to arise and praise God because of righteousness that shines forth in His Word.
These judgments, that so rejoice his heart, are words that give peace that God will be bringing a day of reckoning to the wicked of this world. This world assaults His people through temptation and accusation, but he knows God will be bringing it days of wickedness to an end. That looked for hope, brings joy and rejoicing, even if it be in the middle of the dark of the night. That is a major change that takes place in the lives of those who come soundly to faith in the Lord Christ Jesus. Remember, Jesus Christ is part of God's righteous judgments. In Christ, God judged and condemned wickedness. He provided the way for our redemption from having our portion in this world. This world that is sitting under the condemnation and wrath of Almighty God. Being in Christ enables us to rejoice at the provision for our salvation as well as rejoicing that the wickedness will have an end.

63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
This Psalmist gives testimony to another of the important changes that has taken place in his life, since his conversion. He loves the fellowship of other believers. He doesn't use the term believers though.
The term, so common today, of "believers", is misunderstood in too broad a coverage. The Psalmist is more careful on his wording. He doesn't just gather with "Jews", as it would have been of his day. He differentiates those, who also have their portion in the LORD, as being those who "fear thee". That is fear the LORD. This is also further clarified in the last portion. Those who fear the LORD are those who "keep, guard, observe" (expanded definition of Hebrew term) His precepts. Too frequently, we see people who call themselves Christians freely fellowship with others, who call themselves Christians, who have no fear of the LORD. After the manner of the parable of the separation of the sheep and the goats, that Jesus gave, presently we see the goats freely mix with the sheep. The sheep will gladly and freely fellowship with goats who openly blaspheme God's name, lie, listen to vile and licentious music, and watch sinful movies. The sheep are usually content with this, but if not, they are condemned, and in risk of being driven far hence if they openly declare they will have nothing to do with such unequal yoking.
As for me and my house, I want to fellowship with those who gather in the fear of the LORD and obeying His Words. These are those who have cast off their portion in this world and united with their portion in the LORD. That portion that is found as a legitimate part of His Body in Christ.

64 The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
This final verse brings this section to a thoughtful end. We began with the Psalmist's seeking God's grace and mercy. We end with this same thought. We began with his portion in the LORD. We saw the portion of the wicked at work in opposition to him and we see "the earth", being filled God's mercy.
Though this world has its own portion, in opposition to the portion in the LORD, we see God is greater. His mercy fills this earth regardless. Though God still prevails in this world, this world will not share such an equal portion in the LORD. They must come out of it for that deliverance. That is what the mercy is all about. The offering of grace and forgiveness to those who "turn their feet".
That final ending phrase also has something of great beauty. It reflects the new character of the redeemed. It shows the heart that has been transformed with a desire to be taught of the LORD. His final cry is that of the child crying to be fed. In the new heart, his most basic cry for food is the desirous heart eagerly awaiting to be taught of the LORD. So ask yourself, "Does your heart make that same cry? Do you earnestly and eagerly pray to God for understanding, light and revelation of His Words?"
I would implore you, please take the time now to do some serious "thinking on my ways", as this Psalmist did. Are you ready to "make haste" and "delay not" in turning to take the LORD as your portion.
If you have already taken the LORD as your portion, do you see the fruit of the desires in your life, as seen in this Psalmist. If not, pray to the LORD to create that right heart with the right desires in you now. He will answer that prayer that comes with the "whole heart".

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All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible

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