MEDITATIONS FROM PSALM 119
#21 More understanding
January 5, 2011 Reading: Psalm 119:97-104
“I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation” Psalm 119:99
sincere teacher would be thrilled and accomplished to see his student
excel to the point where he surpasses him in the understanding and
knowledge of the subject he has been teaching him. David has been
speaking of his love and affection for God’s Word. And now he reveals
the source of that affection, “Your testimonies are my meditation.” In
fact, he has gained a greater understanding than that of his teachers,
and he gives the credit for this accomplishment to his habit of
is no boasting in his statements—he gives the credit for his greater
wisdom to the Word of God, and by implication to Jehovah, who speaks
directly to Him. The Spirit of God did not suddenly become the Teacher
of God’s people when Jesus ascended. When God instructed Moses to build
the Tabernacle, he set aside and equipped Bezalel and other artisans to
do the work, and said,
have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in
knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship . . . “and I have put
wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans” Exod 31:3,6.
The queen of Babylon told her husband, Belshazzar, about Daniel, and said of him,
is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in
the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom. . . were
found in him” Dan 5:11.
man who gives himself credit for his understanding of the Word of God,
is puffed up with pride, and, in God’s eyes, his ministry is nothing but “wood, hay, and straw,” and will be burned up on the Day of Judgment (1 Cor 3:9-15). He who is blessed in such a manner must know it is a gift from God, “for
to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the
word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same
Spirit . . . But one and the same Spirit works all these things,
distributing to each one individually as He wills” 1 Cor 12:8-11.
Among other things, we should glean from our text—
1) His was not a casual approach to God’s Word.
2) He retained that which he learned.
fruit of his meditation has three benefits: i) they make him wiser than
his enemies, vs 98, ii) they give him more understanding than his
teachers, iii) they give him more understanding than his elders.
three categories of persons—enemies, teachers, and elders (those who
are older than himself), are those who, in the natural world, might
have more understanding.
did not have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude when it came to God’s Word,
he meditated in it day and night (Psalm 119:148). He read it, meditated
on it, remembered it, hid it in his heart, etc.
retained that which he learned. He carried it in his heart, so, no
matter the circumstances in which he found himself, he could quickly
bring it to mind, and thereby draw strength, encouragement, and comfort
benefits of his meditation was like a tree that bore multiple
fruits—they were multifaceted—he could call them to mind anywhere and
1) The source of his wisdom. The word of "the only wise God, "here
(a) Your commandments.
(b) Your testimonies.
(c) Your precepts.
2) The increase of his wisdom. It arises from
(a) The abiding indwelling of the word: "ever with me," Psalm 119:98
(b) Meditation upon the word, Psalm 119:99
(c) Obedience to the word, Psalm 119:100.
3). The measure of his wisdom.
(a) Wiser than his enemies, whose wisdom was "not from above, but
earthly, sensual, devilish."
(b) Wiser than his teachers, whose wisdom was "of this world."
(c) Wiser than the ancients, whose wisdom was that of unsanctified age
and experience” — W.H.J. Page, of Chelsea, 1882.
There are various ways to meditate—by observing, “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD” Psalm 107:43; by study and searching God’s Word to discover His mind, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” Eph 5:17; and consideration, by considering what we read and hear, “Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things” 2 Tim 2:7.
great sages of the world that do excel in secular wisdom, are but fools
to the child of God. They know the secrets of nature, and he knows the
God of nature; they dispute about the chiefest good, but he enjoys it;
they know the use of natural things, and he knoweth the use of
spiritual. This wisdom and skill of natural things, compared with the
fear of God, is but vanity. And the wisest man must become a fool, that
he may be wise with this kind of wisdom” Thomas Manton, 1620 – 1677.