Psalm 119:105-1121NIV New International Version Translations
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. 107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, LORD, according to your word. 108 Accept, LORD, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws. 109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law. 110 The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts. 111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. 112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.
The general scope and design of this psalm is to magnify the Divine law, and make it honorable. There are ten words by which Divine revelation is called in this psalm, and each expresses what God expects from us, and what we may expect from him: 1. God’s law; this is enacted by him as our Sovereign. 2. His way; this is the rule of his providence. 3. His testimonies; they are solemnly declared to the world. 4. His commandments; given with authority. 5. His precepts; not left as indifferent matters to us. 6. His word, or saying; it is the declaration of his mind. 7. His judgments; framed in infinite wisdom. 8. His righteousness; it is the rule and standard of what is right. 9. His statutes; they are always binding. 10. His truth or faithfulness; it is eternal truth, it shall endure forever.
The word of God directs us in our work and way, and a dark place indeed the world would be without it. The commandment is a lamp kept burning with the oil of the Spirit, as a light to direct us in the choice of our way, and the steps we take in that way. The keeping of God’s commands here meant, was that of a sinner under a dispensation of mercy, of a believer having part in the covenant of grace. The psalmist is often afflicted; but with longing desires to become more holy, offers up daily prayers for quickening grace. We cannot offer anything to God, that he will accept but what he is pleased to teach us to do. To have our soul or life continually in our hands, implies constant danger of life; yet he did not forget God’s promises nor his precepts. Numberless are the snares laid by the wicked; and happy is that servant of God, whom they have not caused to err from his Master’s precepts. Heavenly treasures are a heritage forever; all the saints accept them as such, therefore they can be content with little of this world. We must look for comfort only in the way of duty, and that duty must be done. A good man, by the grace of God, brings his heart to his work, then it is done well.
Items for Discussion
- Why is the imagery of a lamp lighting our life’s path appropriate when we think about God’s Word?
- What is the psalmist asking of God?
- God’s Word seems hard, even harsh, at times – why is it so important to approach God’s commandments with a joyful heart?
- In verse 110, how would you describe the snares of the wicked as something that could cause a person to stray from following God’s commands?
Matthew 13:1-9 & 18-23
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Matthew was a Jewish Christian who wrote especially for Jews. This book contains much of what Jesus taught. Matthew collected taxes, but he became one of the Apostles. Matthew used much of what Mark wrote.
In chapter 13 we find many of the parables from Christ’s teaching. He teaches the multitudes out of a ship, they standing on the shore, 1, 2. The parable of the sower, 3-9. He gives his reasons for speaking in parables, 10-17. Explains the parable of the sower, 18-23. Parable of the tares and the wheat, 24- 30. Of the grain of mustard seed, 31, 32. Of the leaven, 33. The prophecy fulfilled by this mode of teaching, 34, 35. He explains the parable of the tares and the wheat, 36-43. Parable of the treasure hid in a field, 44. Of the pearl- merchant, 45, 46. Of the dragnet, 47-50. His application of the whole, 51, 52. He teaches in his own country, and his neighbors take offense, 53-56. Our Lord’s observations on this, 57. He works no miracle among them because of their unbelief. 58.
Verses 1-2 The great crowds would be able to hear Jesus clearly as he spoke from the boat. A farmer may have been working near to them.
Verse 3 A farmer scattered the seeds by hand.
Verse 4 People walked on the paths and this made them very hard. So the seeds would lie on top and the birds could quickly eat these seeds.
Verses 5-6 In many places, there was only a very thin amount of earth on top of the rocks in that country. The seeds would begin to grow quickly. But their roots could not grow properly because of the rock. So the plant would soon die in the hot sun.
Verse 7 There were already weeds in this ground. Weeds grow quicker and use up all the space. The good seeds began to grow, but the light could not get to the young plants. So the plants could not last.
Verse 8 The good ground had plenty of earth. So the seeds could grow deep roots and find water. There were no weeds and the plants could continue to grow strongly. So there was a good harvest.
Verse 9 Jesus meant that people should think about this story. They should try to understand the extra meaning that he teaches.
Verse 18-19 Some people hear the message, but they forget it immediately. A person may be very proud of his own opinions. He will not listen carefully. He has refused to obey God for a long time. He is like a hard path. God’s word cannot even begin to make a change in his life.
Verses 20-21 People may be eager to believe God’s message at first. But they have not thought seriously about the results. So they do not believe very strongly. They are like the thin soil on top of the rock that does not let the plants’ roots grow. These people do not understand that they may suffer. They will have the same problems as people who do not believe the message. Family difficulties, illness or other troubles may affect them. Also, people may insult and attack them because they have believed the message. But because they only believe a little, they do not last. Their belief dies like the plant in the hot sun.
Verse 22 Some people desire to possess money or goods. They think about them very often. They work very hard to earn a lot of money. Some people have many responsibilities and interests, which take much time. Then these things push out the Christian life. So those people become too busy to pray. There is no time for them to study the Bible. God is no longer first in their lives. They do not realize what they are doing.
Verse 23. There are people like the good ground that produces a crop. They are never too proud or too busy to listen to God’s message. They believe it, even when they expect trouble. They realize what might happen to them as a result. They believe the message. So they change the way that they live. Also, they tell the message about God’s rule to many other people. Isaiah said long ago that God’s word would be successful (Isaiah 55:10-11). Disciples should ‘sow’ God’s message. There will certainly be a ‘harvest’ of people who believe it. They will understand and believe the message about Jesus.
Items for Discussion
- What is a parable?
- Why are parables so effective for teaching?
- Consider how you would alter someone’s emotions, their knowledge and their beliefs
- Jesus gives us a parable teaching us that not all people accept the Word of God (His Teachings) – Why do you think this is true?
- Lack of discernment and understanding carry a big risk – How do you overcome these when learning God’s Word?
- What is “rocky soil?” In other words, what kind of person would hear the Word of God joyfully but fail to respond to it?
- What is “good soil?” In other words, what does it take in a person to allow the Word of God to take root?
- How would “life’s worries” choke out the benefits of hearing and learning God’s Word?
- How can we use our own parables for teaching our children, families and friends about God?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations