Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes!
Psalm 119:12 ESV
As verse 11 paralleled with verse 9 by both expressing the necessity of God’s Word in order to fight against our sin, verse 12 also parallels verse 10 by crying out to God for His help. Thus, the first four verses of this stanza form a back and forth pattern of what we must do (guard our way with the Word and storing up the Word in our hearts) followed by pleading for God’s strength (let me not wander and teach me your statutes). Thus, we see again the necessity of resolving and striving to serve and obey God with all our heart, yet doing so with the understanding that only the LORD Himself can keep us and strengthen us to continue our obedience.
The first line of this verse harkens back to the beatitudes of blessing found in verses 1-3. The emphasis here, however, is not upon how we may be rightly called blessed; rather, the psalmist is praising God as the Blessed One. Although we use the same word blessed to describe both God and humans, we must make a distinction in their meaning. As we said previously, our blessedness means being favored by God, that the Creator of all things has chosen to act benevolently toward us. While God does certainly favor Himself (as the One who is good, true, wise, and right, it would be wrong for Him not to do so), I believe that it is better to see God’s blessedness as acknowledging Him as the source of blessedness. We associate being blessed with joy, happiness, and satisfaction precisely because we rightly declare to God that “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). He is blessed because He is the source of all that we associate with blessedness, and we are blessed whenever we are recipients of His blessing. Indeed, holiness works in the same way. God alone is truly holy, yet we are called holy through our relationship to the Holy One.
After praising the God from whom all blessings flow, the psalmist again calls out for God’s provision, requesting that God teach His statutes to him. This is a perfect prayer to lie at the center of this stanza because just as the psalmist has already resolved to store up God’s Word, he will continue to resolve to speak the Word, meditate on the Word, and delight in the Word. However, while God delights to reward those who give diligent attention to the Scriptures, only the LORD can give us eyes to see and ears to hear the glorious gems found within. The Pharisees are a prime example of men who were studious in the Scriptures and yet failed to see recognize the Author standing before them in the flesh. As we memorize, meditate, and declare God’s Word, we must always keep the cry of teach me your statutes upon our lips.