Some “I Have’s” in Psalm 119

Psalm 119 is one of the most beautiful psalms because of its concentration on God’s word. In all but five verses God’s word is extolled. Several words are used to express God’s word, such as precepts, law, commandments, testimonies, etc. Furthermore, the introductory words “I have” occur 31 times in Psalm 119. Space does not allow us to consider all of them, but several are very worthy of notice.

“With my whole heart have I sought thee” (vs. 10). This is the right object, sought in the right manner. Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.” For the sheep astray, there is only the “wormwood and the gall” (Lamentations 3:19) of weariness, danger, and disappointment. In Him is life. Seek the Lord by turning to His will (Jeremiah 29:13).

“I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies” (vs. 14). In the way of His testimonies there is joyful deliverance. His ways are ways of righteousness. Faith leads us into the promised land of the “unsearchable riches of Christ” through obedience to His word (Ephesians 3:8). “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).

“I have declared my ways” (vs. 26). “My ways,” no matter how crooked, foolish and fruitless they have been, should all be declared to Him. When we realize that “there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:3), we should exclaim, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13)! There should be a desire to understand and apply God’s word; to learn of the greatness and power in God’s acts of our redemption through Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). Because of the joys we receive from the forgiveness of our sins, we can then turn and declare His ways to others.

“I have chosen the way of truth” (vs. 30). This is a courageous and necessary choice. He has chosen to be faithful to us; why should we not choose to be faithful to Him? The psalmist prays that his choice will keep him from anxiety and adversity. The choice to be made, between faith and faithlessness; between Barabbas and Christ. The psalmist stuck to His choice (vs. 31).

“I have remembered thy name” (vs. 55). The name of the Lord is a wonderful solace “in the night.” For what God is, that is His name. Exodus 34:5-7 says, “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin …”

“I have believed thy commandments” (vs. 66). This is a noble confession. What mischief and failure are constantly being produced in the Christian because of a lack of faith in the word of God! The Lord has promised and “I have believed.” Titus 1:2 says, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that can- not lie, promised before the world began …” We know that God cannot lie and that instills great hope within us.

“I have refrained my feet from every evil way” (vs. 101). There are many evil ways that may look pleasant and profitable, but are not in keeping with His word. We walk by faith, not by sight. The easy way may be an evil way. To “keep thy word” we must refrain our thoughts and actions from the ways of the ungodly. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

“I have longed for thy salvation” (vs. 174). Salvation from the Lord is an experience we need to long for in all its fullness. Those who hunger and thirst after such righteousness will be filled (Matthew 5:6). We also long for the salvation of the Lord when we long for the salvation of the sinner. Surely the saved will long for this. Those who long for His coming again long for His final salvation.

“I have gone astray like a lost sheep” (vs. 176). A lost sheep can do nothing else but go astray. Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Think of what we wander from, in going astray — from God and His word: think of where we wander to. The Shepherd’s purpose is to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).

We are all able to say, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep” (Romans 3:23). However, could we also say that we have the attitudes toward God’s word that we have studied in this article? May God help us to rejoice in the word and desire it with all of our hearts.

Kyle Campbell