The Psalm 119 Challenge

Psalm 119 is famous (perhaps infamous) for being the longest chapter in the Bible, reaching 176 verses.

See, we don’t really pay much attention to Psalm 119. Psalm 23 is the poster child for the book of Psalms, and it seems like the other Psalms (especially 119) get ignored or skimmed. Typically, church kids memorize verses 11 and 105 of Psalm 119 at an early age, but I don’t think we usually look beyond those to the rest of the chapter because it’s loooooooooooong (remember, a whopping 176 verses).

The length, not the content, is Psalm 119’s claim to fame, and so its beauty and power have been forgotten. I’ve been going through Psalm 119 for my devotions for the last month, and I can’t believe that I used to think it was a meh chapter. Psalm 119 is about God’s Word and our response to it, and reading it has changed how I view Scripture.

The Psalm 119 Challenge 2016 feature image

The Challenge:

I challenge you to read all of Psalm 119 every day for the next 31 days (aka: the month of August).

The Benefits:

– Inspires a new appreciation for Scripture.

References to God’s Word as precepts, rules, law, testimonies, ways, commandments, and statutes are made 158 times over the course of these 176 verses. When you read how the Psalmist views God’s Word, you will be both amazed and inspired.

– Helps fight against temptation.

All Scripture can help fight against temptation, but after reading all the way through Psalm 119 for about six consecutive days, you’ll begin to notice that lines and verses from Psalm 119 will start coming to mind when you’re tempted. This has been a blessing to me personally.

– A closer walk with Christ.

Any time that you spend in the Word will strengthen your relationship with Christ. Psalm 119 is no different. This challenge is every single day in the Word, and I think very few (myself included) are used to 31 days straight of having a quiet time. This naturally draws you closer to Christ.

– Cultivates a curiosity in the other Psalms.

After reading Psalm 119 for a few days, you’ll begin to wonder what other gems you missed in this beautiful book. The Psalms are so full of wisdom and incredible examples of true devotion, true repentance, true love, true worship (guys, Psalms is one of my favorite books of ever).

Terms/themes to keep an eye out for while you read:

– Delight

– Meditate/meditation

– Long/longing

– Love/loving

– Keep/keeping

(You can download this list; it has more terms as well as some questions to consider. They’re kind of no-brainer questions, but I’m trying to be a good little blogger and give you “resources”.)

Tips for getting the most out of Psalm 119:

– Don’t skim; read carefully. Personally, it helps me to read Scripture aloud (especially a Psalm) because then I’m seeing the words, saying the words, and hearing the words. It reinforces the ideas and helps me stay focused.

– Set aside enough time. Of course, you can use this challenge in addition to your usual devotion if you have one, but I personally recommend letting this take over your devotion time for this month. It’s been taking me about 15 minutes to read all the way through Psalm 119, and I read average speed (I think). When you’re sitting down to read Psalm 119, it’s probably best to set aside at least twenty minutes to afford some time for prayer and reflection. As with any devo time, the longer, the better.

– Write down thoughts as you read. Keep track of any themes that you notice, verses that stick out to you, or any other ways that the Holy Spirit speaks to you. It’s fantastic to look deeper at these verses whenever you get the chances.

– Pray Psalm 119:18 before you begin reading. “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.”

– Morning is better. It’s best to start the day with Psalm 119 because then it affects how you think and act throughout the day.

My last request.

Every day, please pick one or two verses that you will focus on throughout that day. Write them down on an index card and keep it in your pocket. Whenever you get the chance—in line at the store, waiting for some water to boil, eating lunch, etc.,—pull that card out and reflect on those verses.

So! The gauntlet has been thrown! The challenge has been issued! Will you accept?

P.S. – I’ll be sharing my verse picks a couple times a week on Facebook and/or Twitter.

P.P.S. – And please share your findings with me! I would love to know how God uses this Psalm in your live just as He uses it in mine!