“Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.” -Psalm 119:12
For several verses the Psalmist has been talking about resolutions he has made. It has centered around what he intends to do, although he is always keeping in mind that only through the Lord can we truly succeed and we need the Lord’s help in every area of life. The tone of this verse is different however, it shifts back to being completely on God.
The first word, ברוך (baruchah) is a verb meaning bless. Often times people do not think about blessing God. They will bless other people, but not God. That makes logical sense, why should we bless God when He is the source of all blessings. Does He really need blessed? Apparently so, since all over the Bible we find people blessing Him or instructions to bless Him. What does it mean to bless? Webster defines bless as, to make or pronounce holy; to consecrate or it can mean to praise, or glorify; to extol for excellence. Often times when we hear the word bless we think of asking happiness for someone or a character trait they need. This can be a form of blessing, but blessings are not limited to that. God clearly does not need more character, He is perfect, nor does He need someone praying for HIs happiness, he is the source of true happiness and joy. When we bless God, we are sanctifying Him as holy, we are recognizing all that He is. It is a form of praise and worship. We should be able to bless God for everything we do. After all, He is the one who has given us the ability to do things. If you cannot bless God for an activity, think twice about doing that activity.
The second word in this verse is אתה (ata). It is a pronoun meaning thou or you. Who is this pronoun referring to? Look to the next word for the answer. יהוה (yud-hey-vav-hey) is the proper name for God, the Lord of Israel. It is the name that God told Moses at the burning bush when Moses inquired about the Lord’s name. We do not know the correct pronunciation for the name of God, so you will never hear it said. The Jewish people are very careful never to take the name of God in vain, thus they did not use His proper name outside of the temple. When the temple was destroyed His name was not used and it’s pronunciation has been forgotten. So we cannot use it now, but some day when Messiah comes again we will use it to praise God. It is not a name to be taken lightly. Even though we cannot say it we should be very careful in writing it. It is a holy name. Do not take it in vain.
The word למדני (lamideny) means learn. It is also a verb, the form of the verb used in this passage means teach someone something. The Psalmist is asking God to teach him something. God should be the teacher, we the students.
The final word in this verse, חקיך (chukaycha) means something prescribed, a statute or due: an enactment, decree, or ordinance of God or man, although it is clearly talking about God in this verse. These are the things God has commanded us in the Bible, His holy word.
In this verse, the Psalmist starts out by blessing God. It is as if he was going along writing about what he intended to do, especially in regards to God’s word and could no longer contain Himself but had to bless God, praise Him and exalt Him for everything He is. When we truly study God’s word for what it is, we cannot help but bless the Lord. The Psalmist goes on to ask the Lord to teach him His statutes. If we are really following the Master, we too should ask the Lord to teach us His statutes, the things He has given us to do. We should want to obey them and learn them to show Him our gratitude for His free gift of salvation. He should be the teacher, we the humble student, eager to learn every word. Treasure His word and bless Him for it and all that He is. He is everything we need. He is perfect and complete. He is God.