Praying to be taught (Psalm 119:33)

Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes,
and I will observe it to the end (Psalm 119:33 ESV).

What do you pray about?  A new job?  Health for you or someone you love?  A good blog to finally read?  I’m still praying to find my missing dumb cell phone.

The psalmist prays that God teaches him about God’s laws.  The psalmist doesn’t ask just to be taught the statutes, but the way of the statutes.  The psalmist is speaking of a path, a journey, a pilgrimage of obedience.  Where does the way go?  It moves the pilgrim closer to God.

Psalm 119:33 is the first verse in the He (pronounced “hey”) section of the psalm (119:33-40), where each verse begins with the letter He.  The Hebrew word translated as “teach” here, yarah literally means “throw” or “shoot”.  So, you may ask, why does a word that begins with a Yod (the Hebrew “y”) start the He section?  Great question.  The verb yarah appears here in the hiphil stem which, as may have guessed, begins with the letter He, thus it fits perfectly here in the He section.  In the hiphil stem,yarah can mean “teach.”

So, the psalmist makes a deal.  If YHWH to teaches him the way of his laws, he will observe them until the end.  To the end of what?  The end of the road, which for the psalmist will be the end of his life.  What a great goal–to be faithful until the end of life.

The psalmist likes talking about the  “way”.  It appears 13 times in Psalm 119, often in clumps, three times in the Aleph section (119:1, 3, 5), five times in the Dalet section (119:26, 27, 29, 30, 32) and three times here in the He section (119:33, 35, 37).

The psalmist finishes what he starts.  I’m hoping to finish what I started in blogging about Psalm 119.  I should be done in about 3 years.

God, teach us how to follow in the way of your laws.  We want to keep them until the end of our lives. 


  1. Here is another thought, Since Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and perfectly observed and followed the Way of God’s Law to the obedience of Death, even Death on the Cross! How much more should we pray that Jesus would teach us to follow His way in the details of our life, in our thoughts, will and actions even unto the End!

  2. Dave, just wanted to let you know how much I’m appreciating this slow walk through Psalm 119–a psalm I usually skip or merely skim due to its length.

  3. Joseph, I agree. Jesus’ help in this process is critical. Some people don’t think we should pray to Jesus. That’s ridiculous.
    Lydia, Thanks for letting me know it’s been helpful.
    Thanks for your comments.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s