Bible Study: Aleph – Psalm 119:1-8


Psalm 119 stands out in the Book of Psalms not only for being the longest chapter in the Bible, but also for its unique structure and profound devotion to the theme of God’s Word.

  • This psalm is an acrostic poem, meticulously crafted with each of its 176 verses corresponding to the Hebrew alphabet.
  • It is divided into 22 stanzas, each containing 8 verses
  • Every verse in a stanza begins with the same Hebrew letter, following the order of the alphabet.

Aleph, as the first letter, can symbolize the primacy of God and the beginning of wisdom. It’s often associated with the teaching that understanding and wisdom begin with a knowledge and respect for God and His precepts, statutes, and decrees.

Verse 1:

“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.”

Reflection: This opening verse sets the theme of the psalm, emphasizing the blessings upon those who lead a blameless life by following God’s law. It highlights that true happiness and spiritual fulfillment are found in living according to God’s commandments.

Cross Reference:

  • Matthew 5:3-11 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. […] Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

Verse 2:

“Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart.”

Reflection: Here, the psalmist underscores the importance of not just outwardly observing God’s laws, but earnestly seeking God with a sincere heart. It suggests a deep, internal commitment to God.

Cross Reference:

  • Deuteronomy 4:29 – “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” 

Verse 3:

“Who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways.”

Reflection: This verse reinforces the ideal of living a life of integrity and righteousness. Walking in God’s ways is equated with living a life free from wrongdoing.

Cross Reference:

  • 1 John 3:6 – “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” 

Verse 4:

“You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.”

Reflection: The psalmist acknowledges God’s command for diligent obedience. This verse emphasizes the seriousness with which God’s laws should be observed.

Cross Reference:

  • Deuteronomy 6:17 – “Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you.” 

Verse 5:

“Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!”

Reflection: This verse expresses a personal yearning for consistency in obeying God’s laws. It reflects an awareness of the challenges in living a life of constant obedience.

Cross Reference:

  • Psalm 51:10 – “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” 

Verse 6:

“Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.”

Reflection: The psalmist connects the commitment to God’s commandments with the absence of shame, suggesting that moral and spiritual integrity comes from a focus on God’s laws.

Cross Reference:

  • Romans 10:11 – “As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.'” 

Verse 7:

“I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.”

Reflection: In this verse, learning and adhering to God’s rules is a basis for sincere praise. It highlights the relationship between understanding God’s commandments and authentic worship.

Cross Reference:

  • Psalm 143:8 – “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” 

Verse 8:

“I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!”

Reflection: The psalmist commits to obeying God’s statutes while seeking assurance of God’s continual presence and support. It reflects the our need for divine guidance and help in the journey of faith.

Cross Reference:

  • Hebrews 13:5 – “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” 

Important points from Verses 1-8:

  • These verses collectively emphasize the blessings and spiritual fulfillment that come from living in accordance with God’s law.
  • The psalmist highlights a journey of seeking God wholeheartedly, living a life of righteousness, and the importance of divine guidance and support.
  • There is a strong connection made between understanding, obeying, and praising God, illustrating the deep relationship between God and the believer.
  • The initial verses of Psalm 119 set a foundation for the rest of the psalm, focusing on the devotion to God’s word and the recognition of the need for God’s help in maintaining faithful obedience.