“Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are they who keep his statues and seek him with all their heart” (v. 1, 2)
Psalm 119 is an expansive declaration of commitment to the laws of God, inspiring the psalmist to pray for greater devotion and insight, and deliverance from troublers and slanderers. The entire psalm is an unabashed delight in God and his commands. Synonyms of God’s word abound throughout such as are found in the first eight verses: ways, law, statues, precepts, decrees, commands. The psalmist asserts that “blessed” is whoever keeps them; their life is blameless. “Blessed” is not solely an ‘external’ blessing – as if God were to pronounce a blessing upon someone. Rather, the blessing is profoundly ‘internal’ – the person who lives according to God’s commands experiences an abounding, enriching life from within. Jesus promised “streams of living water” would flow from within those who ‘thirsted’ and believed in him (John 7:37-39); such water derives from the Holy Spirit. The spiritual water of the Spirit would be like a never-ending stream of refreshment. Importantly, the Spirit leads those who thirst to obey the Word of God; he is, after all, its author, and he points people to believe in and obey Jesus. But obedience to God’s “law” and statutes” is certainly not ritualistic (as if one could please God by seeming to comply only behaviorally, while resisting internally in one’s mind and heart). Rather, blessed are they who “seek him with all their heart.” Here is language reminiscent of the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4ff) – to love God wholeheartedly and to abide in his word. God’s word is to be virtually attached to everything we do wherever we are, thereby serving as a constant reminder and witness to ourselves and others. The Shema pictures a life ’24/7′ of devotion to God – every hour, every day. Such a life is none other than a fanatical love for God – wanting his word to permeate everything within and outside us. The 18th century European nobleman, Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, who one modern author called the “noble Jesus freak” once said of himself that “I have one passion; it is he, he only.” The psalmist declares in agreement with the Shema that only a life that pours forth in love for God and in obedience to him is “blessed”.