Psalm 119 is an “acrostic” in which the psalm’s 22 stanzas represent successive letters of the Hebrew consonants. Each stanza is composed of eight lines and the initial words of each line begin with that stanza’s representative consonant. The eight lines within each stanza of Psalm 119 were almost certainly chosen to highlight the eight synonyms of the “Torah” (i.e. God’s word) that occur throughout the Psalm and which are its recurring focus.
The stanza of verses 65-72 represent the letter ‘ט’ (“teth”), with all eight lines beginning with a word as “teth” for their initial letter. Five of those initial words (verses 65, 66, 68, 71, 72) are similarly translated (such as “good” or “precious”). As a result, the stanza emphasizes – at its first and end – that “goodness” is the obvious character of God and his ways. In verse 65, the Psalmist either recalls or seeks God’s goodness through his word (the “Torah”); in conclusion at verse 72, the Psalmist heartily embraces the same divine precepts as “better” or “more precious” than a ‘fat’ bank account or rich inheritance (how much more, then, is God more endearing than even little possessions!).
But how often we are anxious about our daily needs and future well-being! They seem to occupy our thoughts and compete for our primary attention. Yet the Psalmist’s idea of the “good life” was not the “cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes” and boasting of accomplishments and acquisitions (1 John 2:16). On the contrary, the “good life” was a close and growing adherence to God’s ways. Any development that steered the Psalmist back to God – even if it involved suffering – was also good: “Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I obey your word . . . It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (v. 66, 71; cf. Psalm 107).
“You are good and what you do is good,” the Psalmist claimed from experience (v. 68). He realized that whatever comfort, health, success, peace of mind, or acceptance by others he once had was an impoverished condition apart from conformity to God. On the other hand, illness, poverty, persecution or other unfortunate circumstances are ultimately ‘good’ if they lead a wayward person back to God and his gracious, life-giving principles which alone are the genuine “good life”.