“How happy are those whose way is blameless, who live according to the Lord’s instruction! Happy are those who keep His decrees and seek Him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they follow His ways” (Psalm 119:1-3 hcsb).
Hebrew poetry, like the psalms, uses a form known as “parallelism.” Parallelism within poetry offers a way of saying something and providing either a statement of equivalent meaning, a statement of antithetical meaning, or an expanded meaning. The first verses of Psalm 119 offer parallelism that provides an equivalent meaning.
For example, “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless” equals those “who walk according to the law of the Lord.” In other words, those whose ways are blameless walk according to the law of the Lord. Notice that this parallelism also brings clarity to what the psalmist meant about a way that is blameless. How does one have a blameless way? By walking in the law of the Lord, i.e., obeying God’s commands. And this is where verse 2 begins: “Blessed are those who keep His statutes.”
Verse 2, then, continues the parallelism of verse 1: Those whose ways are blameless equal those who walk according to the law of the Lord equal those who keep His statutes. Verse 2 also has its own parallelism between the first and second parts of the verse: Those who keep His statutes are those who seek Him with all their heart.
Once you become aware of this technique with Hebrew poetry (in Psalms, Proverbs, and the prophets especially), it helps to clarify a lot of “spiritual” language of the Bible. For example, how often do we hear a call to seek God? But how does one do that? It’s right here in Psalm 119:2—we seek God with our whole heart by keeping His commands. The thought of verse 2, however, continues into verse 3: “They do no wrong but follow His ways.” This also explains how one seeks God with their whole heart, by doing no wrong, which is walking in His ways. As we already noticed, a person’s way is blameless when they walk in the law of the Lord, which means keeping His statutes and commands.
The Psalmist provided us with the path of blessing, to walk in the law of the Lord, to keep His ways, which means that we seek Him with our whole heart. Then we will be blessed.
Lord, may we seek You with our whole heart by keeping Your statutes and commands. Amen.