Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Get Back to the First Century: Psalm 119:97-176

97     ¶ MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.


98     ¶ Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.

The Torah IS Wisdom and gives one an edge against ones enemies, for it is the powerful, Living Words of God Himself!

99     I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
100     I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

Actually, the Hebrew eludes to that David understands more than his teachers and the ancients because of them, but this is also a fair translation, for it hints that God gives new insight into the Scriptures to each generation. And, it comes by study and meditation; it just doesn’t drop in ones lap.

101     ¶ I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.,
102     ¶ I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
103     ¶ How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104     Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

Need I say more?

105     ¶ NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

The Torah should guide our every footstep and it gives us enough light to see as far as God wants us to go, one day, one step at a time.

106     ¶ I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

David has sworn to keep the Torah no matter what!

107     ¶ I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.

Again, David knows that only the Torah contains the Words of Life. Did not the Talmidim (Disciples) of Yeshua say this very thing about Him, who is the Living Torah? (John 6:68)

108     ¶ Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.

David does not keep the Torah because he feels he HAS to, he does it because he WANTS to, and therefore wants Divine instruction and insight on how to keep it better.

109     ¶ My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.

David is 100% dependant and devoted to the LORD and His Torah.

110     The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.

He admits here that the Torah is what forewarned him and kept him safe from the pitfalls of the wicked and their schemes.

111     ¶ Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

The Torah is so precious to Him that it is the key thing he will pass on to his descendants, and he has claimed the promises in there for himself and his family.

112     I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

He is dead set resolved to keep the Torah no matter what, and this theme has already been repeated over and over in this Psalm.

113     ¶ SAMECH. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.

Maybe this is where his son, Solomon, in Ecclesiastes, gets his inspiration; because David and Solomon both say that anything that is not connected to the Torah in some way is vain, useless, a waste of time.

114     ¶ Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

The Torah is a solid rock to hide behind, within, and stand on in days of trouble.

115     ¶ Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.

David proclaims temptations are useless for the Torah is all He desires and is tempted by, kind of like James when he says resist the Devil and he will flee. (James 4:7)

116     ¶ Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

117     Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.

David knows it is his acceptance and adherence to God’s Laws that will protect him. Just like the laws of physics: tie a rock to a string and throw it and it will only come back to hit you. The laws of gravity: jump off a building and you fall and kill yourself.

118     ¶ Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.
119     Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.

David knows the Torah refines ones soul like pure gold and those who are wicked get scooped off like impurities from precious metals, even if one does not keep the Chukim.

120     My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.

Just like a child fearful of a fathers spanking, there is fear and respect and this is what keeps him on the straight path.

121     ¶ AIN. I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.
122     Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.

David wants God to fight for him because he has ruled and reigned to the best of his ability through the precepts of Torah.

123     ¶ Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.

Salvation (Yeshua) can only clearly be seen through the Torah.

124     ¶ Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.
125     I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.

Again, he so desires to have insight, knowledge, understanding and wisdom in regards to what the Torah is all about.

126     ¶ It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.
127     ¶ Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
128     Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

David wants to fight for and establish God’s Torah among the common people because he knows, for the most part, they do not know it or keep it. David is a Superman of sorts, wanting to fight for “Truth Justice, and the Torah way.”

129     ¶ PE. Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.

Q. Why does David keep the Torah? A. See verse 129.

130     ¶ The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

The Torah is so simple anyone can understand and apply it.

131     ¶ I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.

He thirsts for Torah as one dying of thirst for water in the desert. When he reads it, meditates on it, he drinks it up like a tall glass of clear, cold water and it refreshes his soul, sustains and gives him life!

132     ¶ Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.

He wants God to relate to him as He did all the Great Patriarchs that were before him.

133     ¶ Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

He is saying make me walk in Your Torah, not in iniquity, which is Hebrew for Torah-less-ness or Lawlessness.

134     ¶ Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.

He is saying, “God, you promised if we keep Your Law, Your guidelines for daily living, that You would be our Deliverer and will protect us.

135     ¶ Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.

Again, He asks God to show him favor and to teach him all that his finite mind can attain from the Torah.

136     ¶ Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

What an example for all of us, we too should be heartbroken and weep for the ones who do not keep the Torah, oh what favor and blessings they are missing, all because of ignorance and because of man made and demonically influenced religious doctrine and false history.

137     ¶ TZADDI. Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.
138     Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.

The Torah comes from God who is Righteous; therefore, the Torah is Righteous and True.

139     ¶ My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.

David will go crazy without God’s Torah in his life.

140     ¶ Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Not only is the Torah Righteous, but Pure too. Since it is the very Words of God, it embodies all He is.

141     ¶ I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.

Though David is king, he sees himself as the low man on the totem pole and even if he had to clean the crappers in the palace, he would still keep the Torah.

142     ¶ Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.

Hmmm, the Torah is not only Righteous and Pure, but it IS TRUTH. The very answer Pilate was seeking from Yeshua! (John 18:38)

143     ¶ Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.

In the midst of the trials of life, it is Torah that makes and keeps him happy and gives him true pleasure.

144     The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.

He is saying that since the Principles and Morals behind the events in the Torah are True and eternal and they give life, he wants to know them inside and out, fully!

145     ¶ KOPH. I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.
146     I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.

David wants God to know how serious he is about His Torah. David knows he can never repay God for all He has done for him, but he knows the LEAST he can do is do what God has said and keep His Commandments.

147     ¶ I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
148     Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

David wishes he could go without sleep and devote every spare moment to the Torah… I have wished that very same thing too!

149     ¶ Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.
150     ¶ They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.
151     Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.

David knows God will keep David safe and alive because he is 100% sold out to God and His Torah. David believes no matter what, Truth (Torah) prevails and the Good guys always win in the end.

152     ¶ Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.

Again, the Torah is not just until the Messiah comes, but is ETERNAL, FOREVER, and INFINITE!

153     ¶ RESH. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.
154     Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.

David is reminding God that the Torah is a covenant and since he is doing his best to keep it, he is reminding God to keep His end of it too, which is life, salvation and deliverance.

155     ¶ Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.

Here again David is connecting Salvation (Yeshua the Messiah) to the Torah. Yeshua is the Living Manifestation of the Written Torah.

156     ¶ Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.

Again, the Torah gives life!

157     ¶ Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.

David here is saying that he fears God more than his enemies, for he knows just as God delivered Israel many times in the wilderness from their enemies, he knows and believes that God will do the same for him.

158     ¶ I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.

David says he hates to see anyone fall especially when it could have been prevented simply by keeping God’s Torah. He wishes he could get others to see and understand the benefits of keeping Torah like he does.

159     ¶ Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.

See how madly in love with Your Torah that I am? In your kindness give me more energy so I can pour over this Document even more!”

160     ¶ Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

This is pretty self-explanatory: God’s Torah is true, every commandment, every story, and it is eternal… So, why are we not all keeping it?

161     ¶ SCHIN. Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
162     ¶ I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.

When David wrestles over the Torah and finds something new, it is as if he just won a battle and is reaping the spoils of the war. To David the Torah is more valuable and precious than any of the material possessions he may acquire in a battle.

163     ¶ I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.

Here again David is proclaiming that the Torah is Truth. I guess this answers Pilates question to Yeshua. (John 18:38)

164     ¶ Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.

“TRADITION!” Tevye’s famous exclamation is oh so very true. I would guesstimate that 90% or more of Jewish Tradition has its foundation in the Tanak. Other traditions in Judaism come from the particular culture they find themselves in, or they derive from the Talmud, the Jewish compendium on Torah Law. There is virtually nothing done in Judaism that doesn’t have meaning behind it.

Many believe, and if you ask most Rabbis, they will tell you Jews pray regularly three times a day, and Muslims, five.

Then the Scripture of David popped in my head the other day where it says:

Psalms 119:164 Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.

And, I began to think, “Seven. Why seven?” I know that seven is the number that represents completion and perfection. But I then noticed that most Orthodox Jews, too, pray seven times a day.

Daily-Prescribed Prayers:
1.    Shacarit - Morning prayers
2.    Mincha – Afternoon / Midday prayers
3.    Ma’ariv – Evening prayers

Prayers for Meals:

1.    Breakfast
2.    Lunch
3.    Dinner

Then you have the final prayer of the day:

1.    Bedtime  Shema

This equals out to 7 daily prayers.

I then began to think, was this accidental or was it done with this in mind? I think it may be accidental, because the reason Rabbis do not count the prayers over meals is because to any religious person, they are almost a given. That is why they emphasize the three daily prayers of Schacharit, Mincha, and Ma’ariv. And they will tell you that Avraham taught us to pray in the morning, Isaac at noon, and Jacob at night, and that the 3 prayers correspond to the sacrifices in the Temple that we can no longer give because the Temple is no longer standing. Therefore, it is believed that it is the responsibility of every Torah Observant Jew to pray these three times daily.

Whatever the reasoning behind our traditional prayers, I think this is a good tradition to keep. Any tradition that encourages and helps people to communicate and to draw closer to God is a good tradition.

Rav Sha’ul says, “Pray without ceasing;” (1Thess. 5:17), meaning, always keep your Neshamah (soul / spirit) in an attitude of constant prayer. The seven prayers of Judaism back this verse that Rav Sha’ul penned because as said earlier, seven means completion, fullness and perfection.

The siddur we pray from, which makes up many of the seven prayers in which we pray daily, is said by the Rabbis to be our love letter to YHWH in response to His love letter to us, which is the Torah. Moreover, this could not be considered as vain repetitions, (as some do), because no one ever gets tired of hearing the same words, “I love you,” no matter how many times it is said, as long as it is said with sincerity and devotion. The Rabbis would be the first to say that if you cannot pray from the siddur in such a manner it is best that you do not pray at all, because it is like a mechanical, meaningless, blemished sacrifice, which is abominable to God. In addition, when someone is truly in love they find any and every excuse to meet with and spend time with their lover. So if we truly love God as we claim, why wouldn’t we want to pray seven times a day?

In addition, when we pray it is traditional to face East. Why? Because that is the direction of where the Temple stood. And we remember the words of Sholomo Ha Melek (King Solomon).

I Kings 8:30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.

We also have a tradition to wear a Tallit, a prayer shawl, where we cover our selves up during some of these prayers. I like to think of it as sometimes you meet in public, like on a group or double date, and sometimes you just want privacy between you and your beloved.

Yeshua Moshieynu (Our Messiah) said:

Matt. 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Unless you were very rich, there was no such thing as a closet as we know it, and so “the closet” became a Jewish idiom for ones Tallit.

Not only is God like our lover, but He is also our King, and when we pray we sometimes wear a Tallit, and don Tefillin. I liken this unto getting dressed in the proper attire to see a king. We also bend our knees and bow every so often during our prayers from the siddur. Why? Because you bow in humility when you honor or make any supplication to a king, how much more so the King who is above all kings!

Sure, during the course of a day you may, and it is okay to, toss up a quick prayer here and there very informal like, because not only is God our Creator, Lover, and King, but He is also our Father. And a Father can be approached at any time, and a Father such as ours loves to spend time with His children.

Prayer is not simply a religious thing, but it is more of a relational thing.

165     ¶ Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

I love this verse and quote it often, if someone is truly Torah Obedient, then nothing will offend them, because they have the wisdom of the Torah on their side. I see all too often religious people who call themselves brothers and sisters in the spirit, getting all bent out of shape when someone tries to give them genuine, loving, constructive criticism. On the other hand, they may get offended because they disagree on the color of carpet that should be in the sanctuary! Some translations say, “Nothing will make them stumble.” Well, same result, because they have the wisdom of the Torah on their side, they will see pit falls and stumbling blocks before they reach them. It also says in this Psalm that the Torah (Word) is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. This is another reason if we love and keep the Torah we will not falter. If you know and keep Torah, you will have, as this verse says,  “Shalom Gadol” Great Peace. See Matt. 11:6, 24:10

166     ¶ LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation (Yeshua), and done thy commandments.

Since Yeshua is the Living Torah, His Commandments are no different from the Torah itself. Since God and Yeshua are One, since they are Father and Son, Yeshua’s Commandments are the same as the Father’s, and here we see that that is the Torah.

167     ¶ My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.
168     I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.

David is not afraid to make this “grandiose” statement, he asks God to check him on it and to see if he has not done his best to adhere to the Torah wholeheartedly.

169     ¶ TAU. Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.

If David said this once, he has said it a hundred times.

170     Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.

David wants God to know how serious he is about His Torah.

171     ¶ My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.

David will praise God for each new revelation and insight he gets from the Torah.

172     ¶ My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.

He won’t keep it to himself either, he will tell everyone he can!

173     ¶ Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
174     I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.

If David said this once, he has said it a hundred times.

175     ¶ Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.

He is saying let the Torah have its perfect way in me!

176     ¶ I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

Does this sound like someone who feels and or fears that they have to keep the Torah to be saved!? Certainly Not, God forbid!

Psalm 19

This is like a mini Psalm 119 describing the perfection and supremacy of Torah.

1     ¶ To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2     Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3     There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
4     Their line is gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
5     Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6     His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
7     ¶ The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8     The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9     The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10     More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11     Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them, there is great reward.
12     Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
13     Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14     Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

I hope you enjoyed this commentary of Psalm 119.