I see Jesus as an infant or small child. Children are “blameless” they “do nothing wrong”. As a child He had an upright heart and learned the laws of his father. In the last line, “do not utterly forsake me”, I see that the act of becoming man is as far away from the Father the Son has ever been. There’s not much written about the youth of Jesus, so it’s hard to verify the specifics.
I see Jesus as a young man having learned the law, he puts it into practice. As the “Savior in training”, he memorizes the scriptures, hiding them in his heart. He repeats them over and over with his mouth. He meditates and considers the meaning of what he reads and delights in, not only what is written, but in following the law.
Jesus is found in the temple, as a man of twelve years old, sitting with the teachers of the law. In verse 19, he realizes he is different than other men. His longing for the law leads him to the temple where the arrogant rulers, the Pharisees, have perverted the law. He rebukes them for straying from God’s law and teaching others to do the same. His reception is not much better than it will be later, as they heap scorn and contempt upon him. He decides that the counselors of Israel, the Pharisees, will not be his counselors.
In the next three stanzas, I see the temptation in the desert. Verse 25 looks to me like “I am attacked in the desert!”. In verse 26, he’s driven by the spirit, out to the desert to reflect upon where he has been and his mission ahead. In verse 28, he’s tired and anxious about starting his ministry. Verse 29 introduces the Deceiver and his ways. In verse 31, Jesus “holds fast” to God’s law, as Satan tries to strip away his heritage. He doesn’t want to be put to shame, as Adam was, and knows true freedom is found only in God’s law.
As the temptation in the desert continues, Jesus prays for knowledge, understanding and direction that he will be obedient to the Father. In verse 36, the “selfish gain” is the bread that Satan would have him make from the stones. In verse 37, the “worthless things” are the authority and splendor of the nations that Satan offers Jesus if he would worship him. In verse 38, Jesus reminds the Father of his promise to bring salvation to His people through himself. Verse 39 is another reference to the disgrace of Adam that constantly threatens his life and mission.
With the beginning of this stanza is the conclusion of the temptation scene. The final temptation, (I paraphrase) “Does God really love you? Throw yourself of the temple and see if God catches you.” Jesus answers “the one who taunts him” with scripture from God’s law. In verse 43, his heritage has not been “snatched away” as Adam’s was. He is ready to begin his ministry and can see himself speaking before kings. In verse 48, he lifts his hands to the task that lies ahead.
At this point in Jesus’ life, he is still unsure how to bring about this “salvation” that the Father desires. But, like Abraham, he sets out in faith with the hope that the father will show him in time. Meanwhile, the Pharisees harass him at every turn. His indignation is apparent when he says in John 8:26, “I have much to say in judgment of you.” In verse 54, I can hear Jesus say in Matthew 8:20, “foxes have holes…”
In the next three stanzas, I see Jesus as he goes about ministering to the people. He speaks to the people in parables and many lines in these stanzas may point to different stories. In verse 57, I hear him say in John 4:32, “I have food to eat you know nothing about…” In verse 61, I hear him say about the Pharisees, in Matthew 23:4,”They tie up heavy loads…” In verse 63, he is a friend of tax collectors and “sinners”. As he walks among the people, verse 64 is fulfilled, “the earth is filled with your love oh Lord.”
The arrogant rulers of the temple continue to hound him. In verse 70, I see Jesus speaking to the disciples in Matthew 13:15, “for these people’s heart has become calloused…” In verse 72, I hear Jesus say in Matthew 16:26,”…what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”
In this stanza we see the result of his ministry – the people turn to Jesus but the rulers of the people, the arrogant Pharisees, continue to wrong him without cause. In verse 80, there is another reference to the shame of Adam. It is a constant battle, one fail is all that it would take to unravel the plan of God and bring the disgrace that he dreads.
In this stanza I see Jesus beginning to be distressed that he still doesn’t know how to work out the salvation that is his goal. His soul faints and his eyes fail trying to understand. He feels forgotten, wondering how long it will take for him to realize God’s plan of salvation. He grows tired of the constant traps of the Pharisees, who even tried to kill him on different occasions. However, he is set on “obeying the statutes of your mouth”.
This is the zenith of the Psalm! This is where Jesus finally realizes what needs to be done to bring about God’s salvation. In verse 91, he sees that the very law that condemned man will serve to save man. (see page _ for explanation) God has finally “opened his eyes to see wonderful things in his law” as it says in verse 18. In verse 94 and 95, I see Jesus understanding that the wicked must destroy him in order to bring about god’s salvation. In verse 96, Jesus realizes that the law of God was never meant to be a boundary or limit man in any way. It was meant to give perfect freedom and th authority of God to anyone who behaved as God does.
Now I see a dramatic shift in the mood and direction of the Psalm and correspondingly the gospels. Armed with his new understanding, Jesus is ready to complete his task. In verse 98, he sees that satan doesn’t suspect that the law could be used in this way. In verse 99 and 100, I see Jesus as he publicly humiliates the Pharisees and Sadducees when they try to trap him with words. These are sweet victories over those who have no regard for the law and in the final verse of the stanza he knows the path to final victory.
In this stanza I see Jesus setting his path toward Jerusalem and certain death. In verse 108 and 109, he is willing to lay down his life of his own choice. Counting on being snared by the wicked to fulfill the law, he sets his path to his own end.
Here I see the event in Jesus’ life where Peter tries to dissuade him from the path he has chosen. The apostles were looking for a military leader to free them from Roman occupation. While they heard his teaching and saw his works, they still thought that fighting was the answer. In verse 115, I hear “get behind me Satan” from Matthew 16:23. At the same time, I see a faith filled Jesus, unsure, praying that his hopes are not dashed. In verse 120, the contrast is between the physical and emotional fear of his fate and the fear of God and his law.
As the time draws near, Jesus reiterates that, according to the law he has been righteous and just. His well-being is not what we expect if he is to break the yoke of oppression that Satan has imposed on man. He is eager to bring salvation to men. He prays to be dealt with like the servant he is, and that God would act quickly. He is committed to the path of his death.
I believe that this stanza is a picture of Jesus as he curses the fig tree and a reference to the Genesis story. In contrast to the shadow of death, God’s word gives light. Unlike Adam, he opens his mouth and pants for God’s word, not to eat the fruit of that tree, grasping at the godhead. He prays that God would turn to him instead of, like Adam, turning him away. Sin ruled over Adam from that time on because he didn’t walk in the way of God. Jesus longs to remove the resulting oppression of men by Satan. In verse 135, Jesus chooses the light of God’s face rather than the shadow cast by the tree from which Adam ate. Finally, I see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, longing to gather them in his arms as it is written in Matthew 23:37.
In verse 139, I see Jesus clearing the temple. ‘Zeal for your house will consume me”. In verse 141, I see the authority of Jesus questioned by the rulers of the temple. In verse 143, is the beginning of his trouble and distress – his passion.
In this stanza, I see Jesus as he is celebrating the Passover with his apostles and feels the presence of his father leave him. He is distressed and abruptly leaves the most sacred of ceremonies before it is finished. In verse 147, he leaves the house before dawn, contrary to what Moses prescribed in Exodus 12:22,”not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. In verse 148, he prays in the garden through the watches of the night. In verse 150, I see the arrival of Judas leading those who will arrest Jesus. In verse 152 is a reminder that Jesus is cut off from the Father and no longer feels his presence, but must rely on past experiences.
The spiritual suffering has already begun. Now begins the physical suffering of Jesus. As his foes gather around him, he prays that God would defend him. As he looks upon the crowd who are demanding his death, he prays that God would notice the faith he has in God’s righteous laws.
As the rulers of the day persecute him, he doesn’t fear them but fears the word of God. His plan is succeeding, and soon he will achieve his goal. In verses 103 and 104, they bring false witnesses against him; their witnesses fail because his life was perfect. In verse 165, is the contrast between his physical stumbling as he goes to the cross, and the peace of those who do not stumble spiritually. In verse 166, as he hangs upon the cross, he waits for God’s promise of salvation. His death comes in verse 168, “all my ways are known to you”. At a man’s death is when all his ways are known to God.
Here is the presentation of Jesus before the Father. In verse 169 and 170, I see Jesus”coming before” the Father. Verse 171 and 172 follow the prescribed way to approach God, with praise and singing. In verse 173, Jesus makes his request before the father, reminding him that he has kept the law and that he longs to fulfill his task of salvation. His request is for life, the boundless life that the law was meant to provide. Having obtained this life with full authority over the law, he can now, in verse 176, seek his lost servant, Adam, who has not forgotten the promise of restoration.
Alepha 1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. 2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. 3 They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways. 4 You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. 5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! 6 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. 7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. 8 I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.
Beth 9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 12 Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. 13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
Gimel 17 Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word. 18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. 19 I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me. 20 My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. 21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from your commands. 22 Remove from me scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes. 23 Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. 24 Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.
Daleth 25 I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word. 26 I recounted my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. 27 Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders. 28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. 29 Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law. 30 I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. 31 I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord; do not let me be put to shame. 32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.
He 33 Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. 34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. 35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. 38 Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. 39 Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good. 40 How I long for your precepts! Preserve my life in your righteousness.
Waw 41 May your unfailing love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise; 42 then I will answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in your word. 43 Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. 44 I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. 45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. 46 I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, 47 for I delight in your commands because I love them. 48 I lift up my hands toc your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.
Zayin 49 Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. 50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. 51 The arrogant mock me without restraint, but I do not turn from your law. 52 I remember your ancient laws, O Lord, and I find comfort in them. 53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law. 54 Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge. 55 In the night I remember your name, O Lord, and I will keep your law. 56 This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.
Heth 57 You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to obey your words. 58 I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. 59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. 60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands. 61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law. 62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws. 63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts. 64 The earth is filled with your love, O Lord; teach me your decrees.
Teth 65 Do good to your servant according to your word, O Lord. 66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands. 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. 68 You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. 69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. 70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law. 71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. 72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.
Yodh 73 Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. 74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. 75 I know, O Lord, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me. 76 May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. 77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight. 78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts. 79 May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes. 80 May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.
Kaph 81 My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. 82 My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?” 83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees. 84 How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors? 85 The arrogant dig pitfalls for me, contrary to your law. 86 All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for men persecute me without cause. 87 They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts. 88 Preserve my life according to your love, and I will obey the statutes of your mouth.
Lamedh 89 Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. 90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. 91 Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. 92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. 93 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. 94 Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts. 95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes. 96 To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless.
Mem 97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. 98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. 100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. 101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. 102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. 103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
Nun 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. 107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, O Lord, according to your word. 108 Accept, O Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws. 109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law. 110 The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts. 111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. 112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.
Samekh 113 I hate double-minded men, but I love your law. 114 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. 115 Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God! 116 Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. 117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees. 118 You reject all who stray from your decrees, for their deceitfulness is in vain. 119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes. 120 My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.
Ayin 121 I have done what is righteous and just; do not leave me to my oppressors. 122 Ensure your servant’s well-being; let not the arrogant oppress me. 123 My eyes fail, looking for your salvation, looking for your righteous promise. 124 Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees. 125 I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes. 126 It is time for you to act, O Lord; your law is being broken. 127 Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, 128 and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.
Pe 129 Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. 130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. 131 I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. 132 Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. 133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. 134 Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts. 135 Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees. 136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.
Tsadhe 137 Righteous are you, O Lord, and your laws are right. 138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy. 139 My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words. 140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them. 141 Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts. 142 Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true. 143 Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight. 144 Your statutes are forever right; give me understanding that I may live.
Qoph 145 I call with all my heart; answer me, O Lord, and I will obey your decrees. 146 I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes. 147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. 148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. 149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, O Lord, according to your laws. 150 Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but they are far from your law. 151 Yet you are near, O Lord, and all your commands are true. 152 Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever.
Resh 153 Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law. 154 Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise. 155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees. 156 Your compassion is great, O Lord; preserve my life according to your laws. 157 Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes. 158 I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word. 159 See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, O Lord, according to your love. 160 All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.
Sin and Shin 161 Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word. 162 I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil. 163 I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law. 164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws. 165 Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. 166 I wait for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands. 167 I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. 168 I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you.
Taw 169 May my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word. 170 May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. 171 May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. 172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. 173 May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. 174 I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. 175 Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me. 176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.