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This is NOT a commentary on the whole of Psalm 119!

One night back in December I was setting in a church while the choir was singing.  The Pastor was soon to ask me to come to the pulpit to preach.  Then it happened! The Lord laid a thought on my heart. 

It seemed like He prompted me to select a few verses from Psalm 119 that dealt powerfully (at least to my heart) with the Word of God.

I did and the results went on our "Bible Nuggets" page.

I have conserved them here for you.

If you are a fellow Bible lover you will enjoy these articles.

                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 A Preacher in his Study







PSALM 119, VERSE 18 ...

I've long thought that Psalm 119:18 was one of the greatest verses in the Bible for a believer in Christ!

It records one of the most powerful prayers of Scripture. Let's look at it today in some detail.

Psalm 119:18 --- "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law."

Of course the "law" is the dear Word of God.  David is hungry to learn from the Scripture ... and He asks for the Lord's help!

In a way this prayer is identical to simply asking God for wisdom.  For the Bible indeed is the Book of Wisdom.

The verb "open" is written in a Hebrew form that shows INTENSE DESIRE!  The Psalmist here is diligent with his request.  Also I noticed that the verb is in the imperative mood.  While this is "hard-to-explain" for  Bible teachers ... we must accept it as written!  An imperative verb expresses a command!  (You can't COMMAND God and tell Him what to do!)  I believe what is being shown us here is that David is so earnest in wanting to understand Scripture that he strongly urges the Lord to  freely reveal Truth to him!  In its most precise sense the verb means "to uncover!"  When used in its basic meaning of "uncover" or "reveal" (or that general thought) the verb appears about 109 times. 

But here's something unusual, the verb is also translated "carry away" or "captive" or "captivity" another 61 times!  (This is so dramatic that some Bible scholars believe these vastly different definitions must indicate somehow 2 different words!)  But clearly in the "spelling" at least, they are NOT different words --- just very different definitions for the same word!  But, wait a minute, let's not wrestle with our human logic ... let's just "plug in" the definitions the Holy Spirit uses to our verb and see what happens!

"Open" would also mean "take me away captive!"   (Is that not exactly what happens when we get "into" the Word of God and really begin to enjoy its truths?  We are so delighted and consumed by the Scriptures that we seem to be spiritually "captivated" by it!  I'm telling you right now --- the Word of God is gloriously addictive.  (I've never had any booze or any cocaine or even marijuana --- but NOTHING could possibly make me "feel" and "delight" and "thrill" to reality itself as can the Word of God!  You fall in love with it ... and that relationship will last for a lifetime! 

The secondary verb "behold" means "to scan" then "to look at intently" with the implication of "regarding with favor, pleasure or care!"  (Exactly!)  It's used 95 times in the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis 15:5 where God told Abraham to go outside and LOOK at the stars and count them ... for his seed would would be innumerable (like those stars)!  The Hiphil stem means there's a "cause" that propels the looking!  The cause is undoubtedly the magnetic drawing power that the Word of God has in the lives of real Christians!  It's translated:  "look, behold, consider, regard, see and respect!" 

"Wondrous" is a Hebrew adjective.  It is first used in Scripture in Genesis 18:14 where it is translated "too hard!"  (Is anything "too hard for the Lord?)  In its literal "root" meaning the word derives from a verbal form:  "to separate, to distinguish!"  (To be different!)  That just may be the idea here:  God's Word is DIFFERENT (marvelously so) from any other writing ever!  It is a living Book!  ("Quick, powerful!  Hebrews 4:12)  In Psalm 131:1 it's "things too high!"  The Psalmist well may be asking the Lord to reveal to him the "hard things" of Scripture! 

I have known of a number of preachers of the past who ... before opening their Bible to study, worship or prepare sermons ... would ALWAYS bow their heads, close their eyes, and ask the Lord God Almighty to open their eyes to the beauty and truth of the Bible ... and cause them to "see" wondrous things therein!

That's a pretty good idea!

The Holy Spirit" still does "wondrously!"

That's today's "nugget."

                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell 




PSALM 119, VERSE 147 ...

In Psalm 119:147 the Psalmist says:  "I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word."

I want us to notice a couple of things about this great verse in today's "Bible Nuggets" column.

First of all, see his attitude toward the Word of God!  (The noun for "Word" is dabar and emphasizes the "thing spoken" with particular reference to its power!  There is POWER in the Word of God!  Hebrews 4:12)

This godly man "hoped" in God's Word!  This Hebrew (yachal) verb means "to wait or to expect!"  It's in the Piel stem ... meaning the action is intensive!  He vigorously, vehemently hopes in the Word of God!  It is used in THIS VERY FORM five times in Psalm 119!  (verses 43, 74, 81, 114 and 147)  We MUST fully learn what it means!  Here are some ways our verb is used in the Bible! (Perhaps the best way to learn the Bible definition of a word is to study how the Holy Spirit used it in His writings, the Scriptures themselves!)  It is translated "wait" 12 times and "tarry" 3 times during its word "career!"  For example in Genesis  8:12 (its first use) after Noah sent the dove out of the ark the first time ... he "stayed" (yachal --- used in the sense of waiting) seven more days and sent forth the dove yet again.  THERE MUST BE TIMES WHEN (BEFORE AN ESPECIALLY DIFFICULT PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE) WE MUST STAY/WAIT/TARRY UNTIL GOD GIVES US THE MEANING!  I've heard of preachers who studied a text for months (some even years) before feeling that they had enough of its precious "meaning" to preach it!

Another use of the verb is simply "to trust!"  In Job 13:15 old Job says "Though He slay me, yet will I TRUST (yachal) in Him!"  It's all right to TRUST in the Word of God!

By the way, to those of you who truly "hope" in the Lord God, --- "The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope (yachal) in His mercy." Psalm 147:11  (The more you trust the Word of God --- the more God delights in you!)

But secondly notice when this hoping in the Word of God is done!  The verb "prevented" simply means "to go before."  David came before God and His Word prior to the dawning of the day!  The "dawning of the morning" is just one word in Hebrew.  It means "twilight" --- just as the darkness of night yields into the first rays of light even before the sun rises!  David is "at it" early!  Often with these web-pages I am typing God's Word to you folks at 5 or 6 in the morning!  I sure want to think of this verse as I do so!  (It's 3:28 this Saturday morning as I type these particular words ... and I assure you I have "prevented" the dawn!)  How sweet it is to study the Bible is the early hours of the day!  (But most of you know that already!)

Lastly, the verb "cried" is to be noted.  "Shava" is only used 21 times in the Bible!  It is in the Piel (intensive) stem!  This is crying heartily and diligently! Now watch this carefully.  The root of the verb means "to be free."  It has the connotation of being "free from trouble!"  The Psalmist actually thought the Word of God could free him from his troubles!  (Know what?  I do too!  I believe it has the answers to every problem we face!) 

But furthermore concerning our verb "crieth" (shava) ... in Job 36:19 it (spelled the same but "pointed" ... vowel points ... differently) is translated "riches" and in Isaiah 32:5 it's "bountiful!"  The Psalmist waits before the Word of God as a hungry soul ... knowing the bountiful and wealthy and plenteous table of God is spread before him!  (Talk about a buffet!)

Then in Lamentations 3:8 the verb is translated "shout!"  The verb (remember, it is intensive or "Piel" stem) has a definite element of emotion in it!  He gets so excited about the Word of God he is shouting aloud!

What reactions to the Scriptures of Truth!  (That's what Daniel 10:21 calls the Bible ... the SCRIPTURE OF TRUTH!)

I pray you can find "Nugget" material in today's verse!  The Lord knows I sure have!

By the way, I know of a preacher who studied all the "early in the morning" experiences in Scripture!  Times when people met God early!  He has published those sermons.  If anyone is interested, e-mail me and I'll gladly give you the book Title and author.  I believe it is still in print and available.

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




PSALM 119, VERSE 148 ...

Yesterday we looked at Psalm 119:147 --- "I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried:  I hoped in Thy Word."

Today I've found a "nugget" in the very next verse, Psalm 119:148 --- "Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word."

You see the antithetical thoughts don't you?  At first he's up early in the morning to hope in God's Word!  Then ... he's up in the middle of the night meditating on Scripture!  (When does he sleep?  He's ALWAYS "in" the Bible!)

Let's examine verse 148 a bit (with verse 147 handy also).  Both verses use the same word for "prevent."  It just means to "go before."  He was hoping in God's Word BEFORE dawn and meditating in it AFTER midnight!

"Night watches" is an interesting Hebrew term.  It's spelled "ashmurah" and means (only found 7 times in the Bible) "watch --- as a period of time in which to guard something."  Five times it is translated "watch" and twice "night watch."  It comes from a root verb that means "to hedge about!'  (To guard, to protect, to tend to!) Lesson:  In the "night" seasons of life (like the one in which we're now living spiritually) we should be especially vigilant to guard the things that are precious!  But the Psalmist's point is that he's found something so great ... that he just can't sleep. He believes it (God's Word) is more important that that night watchman's sword or spear or bow and arrow, etc.!

What's he doing with the Bible this hour of the night?  He is "meditating" in the truths of Scripture!  Our verb here is a different Hebrew verb altogether from the word for "meditate" in Psalm one!  (Or Psalms 63, 77, or 143!)  It is used in Psalm 119 five times as a verb and twice more as a noun!  ("siyach") What does it mean?  The root idea is "to ponder."  (From a Latin verb that means "to weigh!"  It also gives us the word "pendant" --- something heavy that hangs around a person's neck and goes with them everywhere)  I guess we had better PONDER God's Word!

But the verb comes to mean (after "pondering") "to converse or to talk."  The Psalmist is apparently speaking God's Word out loud through the dark hours of the night!  Of the 20 times the verb is used in Scripture, it is translated:  "talk" (5 times), and "speak" (4 times) ... and "meditate" (5 times), even "complain" (2 times) and once each for "Pray, commune, muse, and declare."  (Deep thought that becomes deep speech!) The "root" (also called a "radical") of our word is also used a number of times in Scripture for a "bush, shrub, or plant!"  (Can God be saying that each time we "meditate" in His Word we are planting a spiritual shrub ... no doubt an "evergreen" ... in our lives that can grow and refresh our us day by day?)  It is also translated "pray," as if our very prayers are to consist of Scripture!  (Glory!)  But ... 9 times in the various forms of our "root" word it is translated "complaint or complain!"  (Are our very "complaints" to God to be housed in Scripture!  If you don't believe me, check the word as it's used in Job and Psalms especially!)

But here's maybe the most "beautiful" point of all!  In Proverbs 6:22 the Wisdom (Word) from God can "talk" (siyach) to us!  See this:  We are to "talk, meditate, utter the Word of God through our lips ... AND IT TALKS RIGHT BACK TO US WITH WISDOM, STRENGTH, LOVE, ETC!  (We talk it ... it talks back to us!)

Enough said.

I have found some "nuggets" today!  Have you?

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




 PSALM 119, VERSE 133 ...

Today I've just got to talk with you about Psalm 119:133!  It has taken hold of my heart this morning as I write.  It is a prayer the Psalmist prays for himself unto the Lord!

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

(Again we see the "link" between purity and being "in" the Word of God!)  You can't have one without the other!

The first "surprise" of the verse is found in the opening verb.  "Order" is in the imperative mood!  David (or the "Psalmist" if he isn't specifically David) is here TELLING the Lord what to do!  (Imperative mood equals a command!) That's pretty strong!  It is not written disrespectfully ... but confidently!  You can approach God BOLDLY even in our age of Grace!  (Hebrews 4:16)  Also I remind you that in Old Testament terminology God clearly says in Isaiah 45:11 --- "Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me." (Wow!)

The verb "order" means to confirm or to set up (root verb = to be erect).  It's translated: "established" (58 times), "prepared" (85 times), "fixed" (5 times), "firm" (2 times) and "confirmed" (2 times).  Being firmly established, firmly anchored!  It's in the Hebrew Hiphil stem ... indicating "causative" action.  There is a "cause" or a reason or a drive behind God's doing this for the Psalmist!  In the context of our lone verse the CAUSE is victory over sin!  (Our method of victory over sin to this very day remains the Word of God as empowered by the Spirit of God!)  "IT IS WRITTEN" Jesus repeatedly said!

"Steps" is a noun that's rendered "feet" more times than "steps" in the King James Version.  It comes from a root verb that means "to tap!"  It's the sound of one's feet hitting the ground again and again as they walk across the path.  (The main idea:  the ways of life!  Our habitual actions!)  It's translated "goings" in Psalm 140:4.  I've just noticed something else about this word.  The first time it's used in Scripture (Genesis 2:23) it is translated "now!"  (It has a TIME element in it!)  I've just  further discovered that it's translated "once" 14 times!  And expressed as "time or times" on 58 different occasions in Scripture!  So the Psalmist is really asking God to order his TIME in the Word of God!  (Wow!)

We additionally have a different noun for WORD here!  It is "imrah" and means something said.  (It's a synonym for the Scriptures of Truth!)  This particular word is only found 37 times in all the Bible.

"Dominion" (or to have dominion) is Hebrew "shalat," implying rule or power --- to "dominate" or to "govern"!   (only 8 uses in the whole Old Testament)  It's another causative active (Hiphil imperfect) verb, the second in our verse.  What's the "cause" that allows sins to rule over us?  The lack of being in God's Word!  (When pointed differently ... same spelling but different vowel marks, the word means "shields" and is so used seven times in the King James Old Testament.  Once sin is embedded within someone, does it have "shield" capability that can only be overcome and uprooted by the power of the Word of God?)

Lastly, the word "iniquity" must be studied.  "Aven" (Hebrew) means empty or nothingness!  The verbal background means "to pant," to breath heavily as in hard labor ... accomplishing nothing!  (That's a GOOD picture of sin!  Big cost ... little return!)  It's found about 78 times in the Bible.  (Another lexicon says it can also mean "to be strong."  Sin certainly can become stronger and stronger in one's life ... especially IF the Word of God is not applied daily in mega-doses!)  It is not extremely unusual to find different lexicons or dictionaries giving different etymologies on a word.  Words go through developmental histories just as people do. 

I hope today's "nugget" is not too long for you.  I think you will find it's worth the time (and effort) to "dig it out" on this Friday after Christmas.

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PSALM 119, VERSE 101 ...

I believe there is a direct link between the purity of our lives and how well we learn Scripture.  (I don't believe the HOLY Spirit will teach a filthy vessel much of the Word of God!)

In Peter's "pattern" of spiritual growth (2 Peter 1:5-8), he tells us that first comes FAITH!  Next comes VIRTUE (moral purity and cleanness) ... and only then comes KNOWLEDGE (being taught by God)!!!  (Of course five other things follow knowledge before "maturity" arrives!) See what I mean!  Purity precedes knowledge.

That leads me to our "Nugget" verse for today!

Psalm 119: 101 says:  "I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy Word."  The Psalmist apparently knew well that the Word of God would never properly impact his life ... unless he refrained himself from sin!  (Of course, it is also true that the MORE we're "in" God's Word ... the MORE victory over sin we will enjoy!  Jesus Himself said, "Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you."  John 15:3)

Let's examine the Psalm 119 verse. 

The opening verb "to refrain" means to restrict!  The Hebrew verb is alk (kala) and is only used 18 times in the Old Testament.  It has this idea:  "to shut up, to restrain, to keep back, to withhold or to forbid!"  In its first use, Genesis 8:2,  it is translated "restrained."  And in 1 Samuel 6:10 it's used when the men of Philistia "shut up" two calves in a pen!  (With different vowel points the word means a place where one is imprisoned!  1 Kings 22:7)  By the way, God Himself can keep you from sinning as well!  I base that statement upon a text in Genesis where God would NOT let Abimelech sin concerning Abraham's wife Sarah.  Listen to Genesis 20:6 --- "And God said unto him (Abimelech) in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her (Sarah)."  This thought gives new meaning to that phrase in the Lord's Prayer "Deliver us from evil!"

And the verb "might keep" is Hebrew rmc (shamar) and means literally to guard, to observe, or to give heed!  In some of  its 468 uses in Scripture, it is rendered as follows:  "observe" (46 times), "heed" (35 times), "beware (9 times), "mark" (8 times), "regard" (5 times), and even "watchman" (8 times)!  According to one of my computer programs, it is an IMPERATIVE verb, giving a requirement!  The Psalmist has placed himself under a "command" ... to KEEP God's Word!  A valid word picture is that of "hedging about" something in order to protect it.  It is "to tend" something as Adam was to tend the Garden in Genesis 2:15.  (Wow!)  Then we preachers are Bible "gardeners" too!  We tend the precious plants of Scripture, picking their luscious "fruits" and feeding them to the people of God!

And the noun for "Word" here is rbd (dabar) which emphasizes the spoken word ... as to its content!  (Not the act of speaking ... but the thing said!)  There is power in the very words of God!

Put this all back together ... and you will see a shining little "nugget" or two! 

Plus... it makes one great prayer for the new year coming!

Lord, help us to refrain our feet from every evil way!  And dear Savior, please keep us in Thy Word!

                                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PSALM 119, VERSE 80 ...

Glance with me today at Psalm 119:80.  It is a powerful verse.  Also it is a prayer to the Lord God! It says: 

"Let my heart be sound in Thy Statutes; that I be not ashamed."

Let's examine the words of this short verse carefully.

The Hebrew word for "statutes" (meaning the Word of God) is "choq."  It's root meaning is "to cut, to hack, or to engrave!"  God's statutes are those sayings of His that He wishes to "cut" into our very hearts.  (Just as He engraved in stone the very Ten Commandments!)

The Psalmist's desire is that his heart be "sound" in God's Word!  That adjective "sound" (tamiym) means "complete or entire!"  (It is exactly the opposite of our expression "half-hearted!")  It means "with my WHOLE heart!"  Even Christmas would not have removed this Psalmist's heart from the Word of God!  In the King James Bible this word "sound" is translated:  "without blemish" (44 times), "perfect" (18 times), "upright" (8 times), "without spot" (6 times), "whole" (4 times) and once each "complete" and "full."  You get the idea.  (The English word "integrity" carries this idea of wholeness too!)

And what is the result of a person being whole-heartedly in the Word of God?  Well, one result is that he will not be "ashamed!"  It is the continual state of being unashamed (Qal imperfect verb) that is happening here.  The root verb means "to pale" and from that it came to mean "be ashamed."  One source says that the word has overtones of "feeling worthless!"  (It's interesting that with all today's religious "psycho-babble," it's really the Bible that furnishes us all the self-esteem we can possibly handle!)  In our Bibles the word also is translated "confounded" (21 times)! God can keep us from being confused!  It's even translated "dry" one time (in Hosea 13:15)!    The word picture there is a dry river bed!  The Word of God can even keep us from becoming dry!

Maybe today our verse should have been about the Virgin Birth or some other Christmas event.  But somehow this morning I feel that the Word of God is ALWAYS an appropriate subject for his children.

That's today's "nugget."

(I personally got more than one "nugget" out of today's passage!)

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PSALM 119, VERSE 10 ...

In today's verse the Psalmist prays to the Lord.  His prayer concerns Scripture.  Let me show you what I mean.  (I have really learned to love these great verses in the 119th Psalm!)

Psalm 119:10 

"With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments."

Let's make it our life goal to seek the Lord God with our "whole" heart!

What does it mean to have "sought" the Lord?  The Hebrew verb here is "darash" and implies to search or enquire.  The picture behind the "root" word is that of "treading" or "frequenting" a place!  It means to go somewhere (or to someone) again and again.  That is, making it a habit to "visit" them!  (Seek the Lord every morning ... and every evening!)  In Genesis 25:22 our verb is used of Rebekah when she "went to ENQUIRE of the Lord."  To seek is to "enquire."   The verb well may have in  it the idea of prayer also.  It can be rendered "to require," meaning to ask for something.

Now on to the the actual request in the verse.  "Let me not wander from Thy commandments." His "commandments" are His Words in Psalm 119.  Here in the longest chapter in the Bible he uses terms like precepts, statutes, law, truth, etc. to represent the Scriptures.

The verb "wander" is Hebrews "shagah" and means "to err, to go astray, to be deceived, or even to make a mistake."  It's a Hiphil imperfect verb indicating a cause has come along that tempts him to go astray!  (Causative active verb)  This is another way of praying that part of the Lord's prayer that asks, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil!"  In the verb's first Bible use (Leviticus 4:13) it is translated by three words:  "sin through ignorance!" For further examples:  it is translated (of its 21 times in the whole Bible) "err" (11 times) and "wander" (3 times) and "go astray" (1 time).

Let's put the verse back together and pray it for each other now. 

Lord, incline us to seek Thee (pray to Thee, frequent Thy Presence) with all our being!  We ask of Thee to NOT let us stray (or err or be deceived or be tempted) from Thy precious Word. Keep us in the Scriptures!  May our hunger for the Word be a life-long pursuit!  In Jesus' Name we pray, Amen!

There's today's "nugget!"

I feel like I have just worshipped the Lord!

                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




PSALM 119, VERSE 164 ...

I've read this verse again and again, even preaching on it a few times.  But I've never seen it just like the Lord showed it to me this morning!  It's found in  Psalm 119:164.

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

This seems to be a promise from the Psalmist to the Lord.  But what has given this dear brother such an attitude of praise? 

The verb "praise" (HALAL) means "to celebrate, to rave, to boast, or to shine!"  It's an intensive verb (Piel stem) ... indicating vigorous action!  It's first use is in Genesis 12:15 where Sarah was "commended" for her appearance!

"Judgments" is one of the synonyms in Psalm 119 that represents the whole Word of God! The praise of this man of God centers around Scripture!  (Which he calls "righteous." Historical word searches say this noun has backgrounds in different Semitic languages. Meanings discovered include:  merciful, loyal and truthful!)  I'd say that all 3 apply to the Word of God.  It is truthful!  It is loyal (to the Lord God Almighty)!  And it is a merciful book to those who accept the shed Blood of Jesus!

But what I rally want to suggest to you is the meaning behind the little term "because of." It's used here as a preposition.  It is the Hebrew word "AL."  It most often means "above, over, upon, etc."  But in some cases it can mean "for" or "concerning!"  THE PSALMIST IS HERE ACTUALLY PRAISING GOD 7 TIMES A DAY FOR THE DEAR WORD OF GOD!

Why can't I follow his example?  I don't know if I'll hit 7 times a day every day ... but I sure can thank and glorify Him for the Bible He has so graciously given me!

Have you ever thought about just stopping from time to time and thanking God for the Word?  Let's start doing so today! 

I sure do praise God for Psalm 119:164!  (Oops!  I've already started!)

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PSALM 119, VERSE 20 ...

We are all well aware of the emphasis Psalm 119 places on the Word of God!  Its 176 verses focus on Scripture constantly.

Today's "nugget" verse gives us a glimpse of just how much the Psalmist really appreciates God's Word.

Psalm 119:20  My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

Now we know that the word "judgments" is a synonym in the Psalm for the Scriptures.  (As are the words "law, precepts, statutes," etc.)

The word "longing" we have studied before.  It means to crave or desire strongly.  The amazing thing about this particular verb is that in Hebrew it also can mean to loathe or to hate!  (I guess the Word of God is one of those things that if you don't LOVE it, in the Eyes of the Lord, you loathe it!)

But the "nugget" today is found in the little verb "breaketh."  Our Psalmist is "addicted" to Scripture! His very inner being falls apart if he doesn't get the Word of God often throughout the day!  The opposite of "breaking" is getting "fixed!"  Get it?  He had to have a daily (maybe even an  hourly) "fix" of the precious Scriptures of Truth!

"Breaketh" literally means ("garac" in Hebrew) "to be crushed!"  (Its only other Bible use is Lamentations 3:16 --- "He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes.")  This Psalmist is in "bad shape" if he doesn't get the Bible regularly. 

Lord, increase his number!

That's today "nugget."

                                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PSALM 119, VERSE 131 ...

Today our verse is found in Psalm 119:131.  It reads:  "I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments."  It is an amazing verse indeed!

I wonder if any of us love the Word of God to that extent!  No wonder the Psalmist so enjoyed the blessings of God!

He here pictures himself as a deer or some little animal thirsting for the Word of God! 

Let's literally examine these precious words!  (Remember that the Bible is verbally inspired!  That means every word!)

"Opened" means to open WIDE! (As when one yawns!)  In Job 29:23 our word is used when one who is dying of thirst opens wide his mouth to receive falling rain!  (In Isaiah 55 the Word of God is called exactly that --- falling rain!)  That verse in Isaiah 5:14 where hell hath enlarged herself says she "opened" her mouth without measure.  And again in Job 16:10 it is translated "gaped" when people gaped upon Job with their mouths (opening wide their mouths in astonishment at his suffering)!

"Panteth" is elsewhere translated in Scripture as swallowed up (6 times), snuffed up (2 times), devoured (1 time) and desired or earnestly desired (1 time each).  It means "to inhale eagerly!"  If someone asks you if you inhaled ... answer "very deeply!"  (The Word of God)

"Longed" is a verb that is only used once in Scripture.  (When this occurs it is called a "hapax legomenon.")  Obviously it means "to desire."  Both the first and last verbs in this verse are Qal perfects.  Their sense of timing is that of completed action.  The decision to OPEN his mouth and to LONG for God's Word was made in the past and is NOT going to change!  However (interestingly) the middle verb (PANTED) is a Qal imperfect, meaning that the panting will continue indefinitely!  His hunger for the Word is decided ... the symptoms that go with that hunger are still developing!  (Wow!)

And the last word in our verse, "commandments" is the Hebrew noun ... hwxm ... MITSVAH ... and means precepts or law.  It is an Old Testament term that usually refers to the whole Word of God!  We hear the word often today on the news when they talk of a Jewish bar mitzvah ceremony. That's when a boy has reached age 13 and becomes a "son of the law."

This is a great verse! 

Go back now and put it all together!  As you do bunch of Bible "nuggets" will fall out all over the place! I plan to spend some time meditating on this today!  Anyone wish to join me?

                                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PSALM 119, VERSE 97 ...

Let me show you something enthralling today!  It is found in the book of Psalms. "O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day."  (Psalm 119:97)

That's a short verse ... especially if one is looking for a "nugget!"  But there's one in there, for sure!

I think I just might have found it a few minutes ago (about 5:30 this morning).  Early morning times with the Lord sure are sweet.

Our verb for "love" here means "to have affection for!"  It's used some 250 times in the Old Testament and pictures "strong emotional attachment to something or someone with these 2 particularities: to possess the object loved!  or to be in the presence of the object (or person) loved!    The tense of the verb indicates this love is a settled issue!  It was decided long ago and remains fixed or constant! (Wow!)

"Law" is the Hebrew word Torah!  (They still use this noun today!)  It's a term used in the Old Testament to indicate the whole of Scripture.  It initially and literally means "to drip or to pour!"  (Something God's Word does when one studies it carefully!  It drips sweetness and strength all over its student!) Additionally the word came to mean "to shoot ... as one does an arrow!"  Once the Scripture has flowed all over you ... it becomes an "arrow" to use to shoot (in witnessing and teaching and preaching) into the hearts of those you love!  (These Hebrew word pictures are astounding!)

But the word that strikes me most is the noun here "meditation."  It is a unique Hebrew term used only 3 times in the whole Bible!  (That alone makes it unique!) It means "reflection or contemplation" ... then comes to mean "an utterance." It is something one thinks deeply about ... then speaks out loud to his or her friends! 

But that's not all!  Of the 3 times we find the word, twice it is translated "meditation" (Psalm 119: 97 and 99).  And once it is translated (King James Version) "prayer" (Job 15:4)!  Then ... here is a Bible example of Scripture (our meditation) being used as prayer!  Give God's Word back to Him in prayer.  I guarantee you ... He loves it!

Now just one last thing.  WHEN is the Word of God to be our subject of meditation?  "All the day" is our answer!  Those words "all the day" as a "string" (in that exact order) are found 27 times in the Bible!  Sounds like God wants us to be full-time Christians, doesn't it?

I thought you just might find a nugget or two in this little verse this Friday, the 19th of December!  I pray you have done so.

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




PSALM 119, VERSE 47 ...

Look at the verse the Lord has shown me today!  (I try to keep a "reservoir" of verses handy ... then pick the one as the Lord leads for a given day on the "Nuggets" page.)

In Psalm 119:47 the Psalmist says "And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved." 

The Hebrew word "commandments" is a synonym for the whole Word of God!  This man is excited about the Scriptures!

Notice the verbs he uses!  To "delight" is a Hebrew verb (SHAA) and means "to look upon, to fondle, to please oneself, to stare!"  What a word!  To add to its mystique, the Holy Spirit only used the word 9 times in the whole Bible!  It is a reflexive verb ... meaning that the action is directed or turned back upon oneself!  (Hence ... to delight oneself!)  The verb action is "imperfect," which indicates that the action is ongoing or habitual!

Now let's see how the verb appears elsewhere in Scripture.  Four times in the Psalms the verb is used!  Here are the references:  Psalm 94:19 and Psalm 119:16, 47, and 70. In the first use (Ps 94:19) God's "comforts" delight the Psalmist's soul!  (Glory to God!)  All three of the uses in Psalm 119 deal with the Word of God!  There are still other interesting places too! 

One shade of meaning for the verb "to delight" is to fondle or to rub or to be stroked!  In the upcoming Isaiah verse one has been so stroked, that the Hand has covered his eyes and they are blinded!  (To be "all over" something!)  See Isaiah 6:10 where SHAA is translated "shut" their eyes!

And in Isaiah 66:12 the word is translated "dandled," something God is going to do to Israel in the days of the millennium ahead!  "For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees."  Let's get some Scripture today and "dandle" it on our minds!  The dictionary says that "dandle" means:  to move a baby up and down in one's arms or on one's knees in affectionate play.

Lastly, the word "love" is used to express another of this Psalmist's desires toward the Word of God!  This verb is Hebrew "AHAB" and means to have affection for!  It suggests strong emotional attachment!  It also presumes being in the presence of the object loved!  (Have your Bible WITH you!)

I guess I got a little wordy today.  But this verse has thrilled my soul!

I don't know how you will respond to it ... but to me it is a "nugget!"

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PSALM 119, VERSE 28 ...

Today I'd like to look at another verse in Psalm 119. It shares with us another blessed by-product of having the Word of God in our lives!

Psalm 119:28 --- "My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word."

Notice the condition of the Psalmist in this verse. He is in "heaviness." This is a Hebrew noun which means "grief or sorrow." It's only used 4 times in the whole Bible! (Three times it is translated "heaviness" and once it is rendered "sorrow.") Here is a "depressed" believer!

Look at how this heaviness affects the follower of the Lord. It causes his soul to "melt." This verb has a root meaning "to drip" then (by implication) "to weep." (It is a simple active verb with a "completed" sense of action.) This sorrow has impacted the Psalmist and he is weak. Here are all Bible references where this verb is used ("pour out, melt, drop through"): Job 16:20, Prov 19:13, Prov 27:25, Ecc 10:18 and our text here.

Next, observe what David believes the Word of God can do for him! He looks to it for "strength!" He is obviously praying here. He asks the Lord to use the Word of God to impart to him strength in his hour of heaviness. (THE BIBLE DOES INFUSE US WITH STRENGTH!) The verb here is a Piel imperative of "qum." (pronounced kum, or koom) This means that the action is intensive. He's asking God to REALLY grant him strength through the Scriptures! (With great power and vigor!) The "root" idea behind the word is "to rise up" to to be "erect." It is picturing a limp weak soul ... weighted down with sorrow and grief ... being strengthened with the Word of God ... and therefore rising up in power and force. In the King James Version it (among its 628 uses) is variously translated: stand up, rise up, confirm, establish, perform, continue, etc.!

There you have it. Another one of the hundreds (if not thousands) of things the Bible can do for those who meditate in it day and night!

Someone reading this today is discouraged. Don't go get a pill and take it. Don't call for an appointment with some specialist. Don't worry and fret all day! GET YOUR BIBLE! START READING THE PSALMS (OR ANYWHERE ELSE GOD LEADS YOU) ... AND JUST SEE IF YOU DON'T GAIN STRENGTH AS YOU HEAR PROMISE AFTER PROMISE FROM THE SCRIPTURES OF TRUTH!

What was it Paul said? He in Romans 15:4 clearly mentioned ..." that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Did you see that? The Scriptures give comfort and hope! (... and strength!)

That's today's "nugget!"

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




PSALM 119, VERSE 50 ...

Today we complete what has become a little "series" in Psalm 119 about the Word of God!

The verse that has arrested my attention is found in Psalm 119:50.  

"This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me."

Notice that the Psalmist is under "affliction" as he writes!  The noun affliction comes from a family of words meaning "to look down upon" ... then meaning "to depress."  He has PRESSURE on him!   It wouldn't surprise me that today somebody reading these lines also has "pressure" being heavily exerted upon them!  (Our word is translated "trouble" three times in the Old Testament!)  What do you do when the trials of life are so burdensome? When "depression" comes?  Do what the Psalmist did!  Go to the Word of God!

What can the Scripture do for you when you're under such "pressure?" 

David here found "comfort" in the dear Word of God!  (A Hebrew word only used twice in the whole Bible, the other place being Job 6:10.)  The verbal background of the word means "to sign, to breathe strongly, to feel sorry for, to pity or to console!  Wow!  Remember that Paul also mentions the "comfort" of the "Scriptures" in Romans 15:4!  (The Bible calms and soothes and speaks sweetly to the believer's troubled soul!)  Hebrews 4:12 reminds us that Scripture is "quick and powerful!" 

But ... what specifically did the Scriptures do for the Psalmist?  They "quickened" him!  The verb means "to live!"  It is so translated 153 times in the Bible!  It's "revived" 12 times!  And "recovered" 8 times!  Our verb here is in the Piel stem --- meaning that the action is INTENSIVE!  The Scriptures are hyper-active in quickening and reviving us!  (A lot more study needs to be done on the Bible usage of this little verb --- but what we've done here is enough to convince me afresh of the POWER of the Word of God!)

Hand me my Bible, please!

                                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



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