To understand this psalm you must look at the last two verses where the psalmist asks God to restore him.
The psalmist declares the righteousness of God and of His Word, which is an expression of God. He also declares what it does for those who obey it, touching on The faithfulness of God to perform all all that His Word says.
He is declaring all The Word has done for him when he lived according to its rules. But now it appears he has fallen away from it and asks God to restore him to the previous relationship he had had with God and His Word. It is as if he does not know how to achieve this restoration.
He accepts The Word has correctly judged him and that God is merciful so asks God to restore him.
Why did the psalmist not go to the Temple and offer the sacrifice for sin. It must be assumed he did this, but while it removed trhe sin, it did not restore the relationship and thiswas the restoration he desired.
The relationship the psalmist sought vcould really only be achieved after the redemption obtained for us by Jesus at Calvary, when every barrier between God and man was removed.
Psalm 119 relate the experience of the psalmist with The Word of God. How he has found it to be from practical experience.
It is not a psalm of doctrine, but of practical experienc. Experience to which all can relate to in their Christian life!
It is to be remembered that when this psalm was written the psalmist had not yet been restored to the relationship that he desired with God. He is looking back at his Life at how the Word has dealt with him and in this retrospect of how God has dealt with him he finds the hope he needs to go on in his situation and trial.
V1-4 He looks at the Lifestyle of those who keep God’s Word and how God blesses them. He regrets not obeying the Word as this has resulted in the shameful situation he is in v 5-6.-He declares he will praise God and obey Him when He is restored. The psalmist has fallen for the lies that his stuation is a result of sin in his life.
V9-16 As a young man he delighted in obeying God and it kept him from sin. He has apparently wandered from God’s Commandments (Word) a d sinned. He wholeheartedly desires to obey God so he will not sin again, declaring he will be ore diligent in studying it and meditating on it so he will not forget it and disobey it v15-16. He has now memorised it so that it has become a part of him for God to use in his life and also teach him from it.
V17-24 He asks God to deal mercifully with him and to give him understanding of His Word so that he can keep His word! He has a new attitude to learning and obeying God’s Word so asks God to remove him from his currents situation and to restore him!
He feels he has learnt the lessons he needs to so God can restore him now. God just seems to ignore him as the psalmist wants restoration in his time and on his terms and not as God wants to restore him.
V25-32 He has declared his desire to obey the Word and-asks God to give him understanding so he can do this. He asks also to be delivered from the mess his life is in so he can follow the commands of God!
v 33-40 He is truly repentant and tells God that if God will teach him His Law he keep it till he dies v33. He asks God to teach and guide guide-and to lead him from his present predicament v37. He longs to obey God now and asks God to restore him and to remove him from The evil that is around him.
V41-48. He cries out to God to be merciful to him. He says that if God restores him he will declare God's works and this Word to he meets.
Sometimes God has to allow us to go through a form of hell so that we will desire heaven and will do all we need to go to get there.
V49-56 He asks God to remember His promises in The Word about forgiveness and restoration. It is these that have restored hope to him and encourage him to keep going.
It appears from v54-56 that his trial are caused by proclaiming God’s Word and not from sin But because it appears that God has not prospered him it appears he has sinned, This reinforced by v51-52.
So the psalmist is in a deep trial. He appears to have sinned but does not know he has sinned. He has studied the word and it has sustained him. So he asks God to show him where he has gone wrong as he does not know and cannot work it out from his knowledge of the Word!
v57-64 He remonds God of his love for Him and how he use obey God’s commands the moment he knew them. He has been abused by wicked people but still Loves God and gives thanks for The Word and God’s righteous Judgment, even though he cannot understand why he seems to be under it. He does not associate with evil people so that they are able to influenced by them v63 and again asks God to teach him His Word and To show where he has gone wrong in obeying them.
v65-72 Even though he cannot understand why God appears to bw punishing him but his faith in God and His Word is such that he accepts this trial as it has to be in accordance with God’s Word! He still obeys God’s Word even though those around him are able to mistreat him as if he out of favour with God and thus out His Protection. He thanks God for the rial as it gives him more understanding of the Laws of God and thus of the nature of God v71! He holds the Word of God in such high esteem they are more precious to him than any thing the world offers him!
V73-80 He Knows God is his creator so he appeals to his maker to give him the understanding he needless for the trial to end v 73. He asks for God’s Mercy to end the trial and that the trials is is really a sign of God’s faithfulness and Love v75. He wants God to restore him so he can again meet with others who Love God and His Word! It appears the part of stress of the trial is the isolation from others who love The Word and who could have given him encouragement and understanding of his situation v79.
He asks for the Word to be in him so strongly that he will not sin v80
v 81-88 He has almost given up believing he will be rescued from his situation. But he still has faith in God's Word and its declaration of mercy and restoration. He has nothing else left to hope in. He cries out to God. to comfort Him. He is clouded in his mind because of the stresses he has but he still trusts God and His Word v83!
He asks God whether He will punish those that are attacking him. As far as he can see from his understanding of God’s word he has done nothing wrong and should be protected by God from these people.
In spite of all the psalmist has through he still trusts God and His Word! He asks God though, for somwthing to give him hope so he can still uphold God and His Word!
v89-96 The psalmist points to the source of the Word – God in heaven, the saet of all law and authority. He then proclaims God’s eternal faithfulness that is still present in his trials even though he cannot see it. If he had not known and believed the promises of God, in his trial he would have failed it v92.
He will never forget the Laws of God as they have given him hope! He has seen all the good that was around him gone and the evil people appearing to prosper. He reminds God that he is still His servant and asks Him to save him v94-96.
V97-104 He loves The Law of God so much it is all he thinks about all day. Through his constant meditation on God and His Word he has learnt spiritual knowledge and wisdom so is much wiser than the evil people around them with their worldly wisdom!
He has separated himself from all evil so that he could keep the Law of God and has obeyed God in trials God has put him through v102.
The Word of God or precious to him like a rare delicacy v103 and has given him an understanding of good and evil and as a result he hates evil of every kind. It is because he knows he ord so well he is puzzled as he cannot find out what he has donie wrong.
V105-112 The Word is guide to him to show what he must do to please God! He has determined to obey God no matter what happens to him. He is greatly afflicted and all he asks is for God to strengthen him to keep going (as He has promised to do in His Word) v107.
He is still worshipping and praising God and is not sure God is listening to hum so as he God to accept the offerings if his mouth.
He again asks God to teach him His Laws. He realises he alone is responsible for obeying God and so determines to obey the Law of God. Even though the wicked try to destroy him and stop him witnessing to God and His Word, by this showing they are wicked, he still declares God’s word: faithfulness and judgment exposing himself to their attacks as he does this.
V113-120 He hates worldly thoughts as they are useless and a waste of time preferring to-think if God’s Law. He declares God to his protector, even through God seems far away. But The Word says this so by faith he believes it. Heasks God not only to protection but to uphold him so he will be protected from evildoers and have the spiritual strength to obey The Word of God! He knows God judges and punishes all evil and is afraid in case he has actually sinned as he does nor appear to have been restored to God yet implying he may still be in sin and under the judgment and punishment of an evil doer.
V121-128 He has judged evil because he has upheld God and His Word and asks God to be delivered from those whose evil he has exposed. He cannot see God’s salvation of him and as weel as the Word prospering in the midst of the evil he is in so once again he asks for understanding of what is happenning to him!
He loves God’s Law and he upholds it all day (and night) and it appears to be no longer respected by The evil around him so he asks God to do something about the evil and defend His Name and Law.
V129-136 What God has done in the past hasdelighted him and fills him with wonder and thus encourages him to continue to keep God’s Lows. The Word of God that is in a person who delights in it and meditates on it gives spiritual understanding to them. This is one reason he longs for the commandments of God to be apart of him. He lomngs to relate to God as he once did when God guided his way through The Word in him. He asks to be delivered frome evil people so he can keep the Laws of God! The evil around him causes him to crfy out the way the word is treated around him.
v137-144 The psalmist declares his belief that all God does is correct and perfect which includes his current situation.
All through this psalm there is no doubt, criticism or complaint against God for what is happening to him. There is only unswerving trust in, faith in and Love for God and His word!
The psalmist is so upset over the way those around him treat God and His word that it is like a consuming fire in him. No matter what happens to the psalmist, he loves The Word of GOd and completely trusts in God and it!
V145-152 He cries out to God asking God to hear him, promising to keep His word if God hears him v145-7. He is so zealous for the Word to be a part of him that he stays up at nght to meditate on it as he considers it more important than sleep.
He asks God to remember His Love for hum and hear his cries to him. He knows God is near him and asks Him to encourage him to keep trusting Him and His Word!
v153-160. He reminds God of his faithfulness to Him and that salvation is only for those who obey God, of which he is one. He again asks God to show him tender mercy and restore him to a relationship with Him.
He declares how he has stood against those that reject God and His word and asks God to take this into consideration. and deliver him from his trial.
However he submits to God’s will for him to stay on the trial as he knows God’s Will is best for him!
V161-168 He has been persecuted by those in authority (rules of the land) but he has stood fast defending God's Word. He finds it delights him so much that it is like finding a great treasur.
He has peace in his trials because of his trust in God and His Righteous ways so that nothing that happens to him will cause him to sins.
He still declares his hope of Salvatore and points to his love for and obedience to God’s Word as the reason God should deliver him from his trials.
V169-176 He concludes his prayer asking God to hear him and help him understand what is happening to him. He declares his defence for and love of the Word as well as his trust in God which results in him praising God. He reminds God how he loves Him and His Law and if restored he will proclaim God’s Love, Mercy, Word and Righteousness.
He finishes by saying that he has no idea what he has done wrong (if anything) or understanding what is going on but he knows he can trust God and His Word!
Our attitude in suffering must be very important to God for Him to have used the longest chapter in the Bible to deal with it.
God does not answer the question of the psalmist as to what he has done wrong or deliver him form his trial. God does not speak to encouraged ths psalmist in any way
All the psalmist is left with is to trust Gods: Love, Control, Purposes, Plans and Righteousness.
So this psalm should strike a chord in all who would go deep in Jesus and who Love unto unto death and are willing to love and serve Himno matter what the cost.
This psalm is about a person’s faithfulness to God and His Word regardless of what God allows to happen to him as he love God and His Word so much.
He uncomplainingly accepts what God allows to happen to him whether or not he understands what God is doing as he trusts Gods: Love, Control, Purposes, Plans and Righteousness. As he believes they are best for him.
In a sense it is a Matthew 6:33 attitude that does what God tells you to do and trusts Him for everything else.
While God does not answer Him in the psalm it is interesting the next psalm begins:
Psa 120:1 In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.
Jesus is the commander of The Army of The Kingdom
A soldier does not need to know the plans of the commander but only to trust his plans are best. This means that whatever the command puts his soldier through it is best for the soldier and the plans of the King.
This is why a soldier may never know why he si going through something but all he has to know it is the commander’s plans for him and it is best for him and The Kingdom.