Campfire Scripture: A campfire, a manly Bible verse, a billy boiling and a starry night sky. Yep.
Book Author and Date:
The author of Psalm 119 is unknown. Possibly it was David. However it could also have been one of the prophets. This makes dating it essentially impossible.
Yes it is very unsatisfying isn’t it?
Knowledge, Discernment, Law.
Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is an acrostic. It is split up into one section for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The whole psalm extols the virtue of the law of God in some way.
What I Reckon:
Telling I think, that the largest chapter in the Bible, a song of praise no less, is more or less centered around God’s word, particularly the law.
The three themes that stand out the most in this passage to me are knowledge, discernment and God’s commandments.
The psalmist says that God’s commandments are something that ‘exists’ in a very real sense. God’s commandments are His moral law, just like logic and mathematics they are existing things. It’s not a material existence, but they exist nonetheless.
Psalms work by making a point, then they buffer that same point in the next line. Either they say a similar thing in a different way, or they expand the point, or they contrast it with its opposite.
Here it’s quite clear the psalmist is equating knowledge and discernment with God’s commandments. Knowledge, the psalmist says, comes with believing in the commandments.
I love the respect that the psalmist has for the law here. This is a common theme throughout scripture – obey the law. Obeying the Lord and his commands is central to righteousness.
All Campfire Scripture passages are taken from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise stated.
John MacArthur, 2006, The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (1995 edition).