This long psalm deserves a long introduction. The author is unnamed; older commentators almost universally said it is a psalm of David, composed throughout his entire life. More modern commentators sometimes conclude that it is post-exilic, coming from the days of Nehemiah or Ezra. It may be that David was the author, but we can’t say this with certainty, and it is not necessary to know; if it were important, God would have preserved the name of David to this psalm. No matter who the author was, it was likely written over some period of time and later compiled, because there is not a definite flow of thought from the beginning of the psalm to the end. The sections and verses are not like a chain, where one link is connected to the other, but like a string of pearls where each pearl has equal, but independent value.
Psalm 119 is arranged in an acrostic pattern. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and this psalm contains 22 units of 8 verses each. Each of the 22 sections is given a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and each line in that section begins with that letter. The closest parallel to this pattern in Scripture is found in Lamentations 3, which is also divided into 22 sections, and a few other passages in the Hebrew Scriptures use an acrostic pattern.
Since this is a psalm glorifying God and His word, it refers to Scripture over and over again.Psalm 119 is remarkable for how often it refers to God’s written revelation, His word. It is referred to in almost every verse. The Masoretes (a group of Jewish scholars between the 6th and 10th centuries AD) said that the word of God is mentioned in every verse except Psalm 119:122. Other people analyze this differently (with disagreement about verses 84, 90, 121, and 132). But Scripture is mentioned in at least 171 of the 176 verses.
According to Your word: This is how one takes heed. The foundation for a morally pure life is found in God’s word.
· God’s word shows us the standard of purity, so we know what is right and what is wrong.
· God’s word shows us the reasons for purity, so we understand the wisdom and goodness of God’s commands.
· God’s word shows us the difficulty of purity, and reminds us to be on guard.
· God’s word shows us the blessings of purity, and gives us an incentive to make the necessary sacrifices.
· God’s word shows us how to be born again – converted, so our inner man may be transformed after the pattern of ultimate purity, Jesus Christ.
· God’s word shows us the way to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, so that we have the spiritual resources to be pure.
· God’s word is a refuge against temptation, giving us a way of escape in the season of enticement.
· God’s word is a light that clears away the deceptive fog of seduction and temptation.
· God’s word is a mirror that helps us see our spiritual and moral condition, and thus walk in purity.
· God’s word gives us wise and simple commands, such as to “Flee youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22).
· God’s word washes us from impurity, and actually cleanses our life in a spiritual sense (Ephesians 5:26, John 15:3).
· God’s word is the key to the renewing of our minds, which in turn is the key to personal, moral, and spiritual transformation (Romans 12:1-2).
· God’s word gives a refuge against condemnation when we have been impure, and shows us how to repent and come back to a pure life.
· God’s word shows us how to conduct our lives so that we are an encouragement to others in purity.
Jesus spoke specifically of the power of His word to cleanse and keep us pure: You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you (John 15:3). Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17).
Collect for Pentecost 22—Lord, we pray that Your grace may always precede and follow us that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord. -12 October 2021
 Collect for Pentecost 22, Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St, Louis