Updated: Jul 21, 2019
The well-known song by the Rolling Stones, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" was released in June of 1965. The song quickly made it to the top 10 of Billboards Hot 100 list, remaining there for 14 weeks. The song held the number 1 spot for 4 of those 14 weeks.
This song is just as popular today as it was when it was released 54 years ago. The Stones still perform the song, often ending their concerts with Mic Jagger belting out the familiar lyrics. Why is this song so popular? The lyrics of the chorus give us a clue: "I can't get no, oh, no no, no, hey, hey, hey, that's what I say. I can't get no satisfaction, I can't get no satisfaction 'cause I try and I try and I try. I can't get no satisfaction."
Each stanza of the song describes the ways many people try to find satisfaction. Jagger, who co-wrote the song with Keith Richards, sings that he tried to find satisfaction through buying whatever he wanted, smoking whatever he wanted, and having a girl in every town. He tries and tries to find his need for satisfaction met to no avail.
Aren't we the same? We look here and there trying to satisfy our longings only to find ourselves emptier than before. In reality, no person, place, or thing can fully satisfy us. We all have a God-sized hole in our hearts that only Elohim can fill. Creator God created us for perfect union with Himself. When sin entered the human race that perfection was lost and a crater of God-sized proportions was created within every human ever born. Like Jagger and the Stones, we try and we try, and we try to fill that crater with relationships, with things of the world, and with activities; only to find we still can't get no satisfaction! Until we turn to God and allow Him into our hearts that crater will only grow larger.
In Psalm 119:57 David proclaims:
"You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey Your Words."
The Hebrew word for "portion" is helkee and it means "an allotment". When the Israelites entered the Promised Land each tribe received an allotment of land, the portion of land they were to live on; except the Levites. God choose the Levites to be the priests to care for the Tabernacle, accept the sacrifices of the people, and present the sacrifices to the Lord. The Levites were set apart by God during the wilderness wonderings to carry the Ark of the Covenant:
"At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister and to pronounce blessings in His name, as they still do today. That is why the Levites have no share or inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the Lord is their inheritance, as the Lord your God told them."
And in Deuteronomy 18:1-2:
"The Levitical priests - indeed, the whole tribe of Levi - are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings presented to the Lord, for that is their inheritance. They shall have no inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the Lord is their inheritance, as He promised them."
God Himself was the Levites portion, their inheritance. Their lives were spent in service to Him and He was their sustenance, their supplier, their satisfaction. This is what David is saying in verse 57, he is proclaiming God as his satisfaction.
The Passion Translation renders verses 57-58:
"You are my satisfaction, Lord, and all that I need, so I'm determined to do everything You say. With all my heart I seek Your favor; pour out Your grace on me as You promised."
God wants to fill our God-sized crater, to satisfy our every need and longing. He wants to be our portion. When we find our satisfaction in God alone we find all we need. Like the Levites, when we make God the focus of our lives we find in Him our sustenance, our supply, and our satisfaction.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:57-58 is:
When we seek God with all our heart He becomes our satisfaction.
Where do you look for satisfaction? In what ways do you look to God to satisfy you? How can you make God the focus of your life?
With God as our portion we are satisfied, but we must be careful lest we become complacent in our spiritual disciplines. Like David, we must think about our actions, consider the places we go, ponder the words we say. Spending time in God's Word should prompt us to examine our ways. In Psalm 139 David cried out to God: "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Allowing God to search our hearts as we diligently read and study His Word enables us to examine our conduct. Knowing God's Word is vital to knowing our sin and moving to confess it before our Father. Through His Word God speaks to our hearts and opens our eyes to the places we have turned from His path. Proverbs 4:26-27 says: "Give careful thought to the paths of your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil."
David says in Psalm 119:60: "I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands."
Delay is the word used to describe Lot when the angel of the Lord was sent to lead him and his family out of the evil city of Sodom before God destroyed it. It means "to question, hesitate, to be reluctant". When Lot hesitated at the door of his home, reluctant to leave, the angels took him by the hand and led him from the city. When his wife looked back longingly at the city of sin she was turned to a pillar of salt. Lingering in the face of temptation always leads us into sin. Making haste to follow God's path as laid out in His Word brings renewed commitment to His ways.
For Lot's wife, the "cords of the wicked ensnared" her so much so that she could not bring herself to follow God's path. When we are surrounded with evil we must have a firm grip on God's Word and make haste to follow His lead. The NLT uses the phrase "firmly anchored" to describe how David overcame the snares of the wicked. In Colossians 2:7 Paul admonishes us to "let your roots grow down into" Christ. When we have God's Word as our anchor and are firmly rooted in Christ, we remain faithful to God's ways when faced with temptation.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:59-61 is:
Quick obedience to God's Word firmly anchors us in times of temptation.
When was the last time you truly examined your life? Spend time today prayerful pondering the direction of your life. Ask God to show you places you have lingered in the path of temptation. When God points out a sin, make haste to run to His Word and seek His way off of that path.
The more time we spend with God in His Word, the more we come to love His Word. The more we love God's Word, the more we learn to follow His Word. The more we follow God's Word, the more we come to understand His Word. The more we understand God's Word, the more thankful we become for His Word. This wonderful cycle leads to deep devotion to God and deep desire to learn all we can from His Word. Like Jeremiah we cry out: "When I discovered Your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear Your name, O Lord God of Heaven's Armies." Jeremiah 15:16 NLT
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:62-64 is:
Being thankful for God's Word gives us a teachable spirit.
How much time do you spend with God in His Word each day? What is your attitude toward God's Word? How can you show your thankfulness for God's Word today? In what ways has being thankful helped you learn from God's Word?
When we earnestly seek for God we will always find Him. He delights to reveal Himself to His children through His Word. Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse about God's plans for His children. We love to quote this verse, especially to graduates. But we fail to read the conditions stated in verses 12-13 of Jeremiah 29: "Then you will call on Me and will come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find me when you seek Me with all your heart."
In order to know God's plans, we must seek God's face. We must be firmly anchored in His Word to know His ways. We must be truly thankful in order to have true success in our spiritual lives.
Gathered manna from Heth (Psalm 119:57-64) is:
True satisfaction is found when we seek God, anchor our lives in His Word, express thanks for His Word, and learn to follow His ways.
How have you sought God today? Where have you anchored your life? What is one thing from God's Word you are especially thankful for?
In the next section, David moves from acknowledging God's goodness to asking for God to do good. Once again we see David mention God's promises to him and asking God to deal with him in accordance to those promises. When we take the time to really think about it we see that God deals with us according to His promises every single day.
Lamentations 3:22-24 reminds us:
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'"
Every day we wake up and are still breathing, God has dealt with us according to His promise. He has not consumed us because of our sin but has shown us His mercy. This does not mean that God tolerates our sin. God never turns a blind eye to sin; but He turns a loving eye to the soul of the sinner. When one of His children sins, like a loving father, God disciplines us.
The writer of Hebrews tells us:
"The Lord corrects and disciplines everyone He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes."
Hebrews 12:6 AMP
The discipline of God teaches us good judgment because it teaches us the error of our own understanding. In Proverbs 3:5b Solomon tells us: "Lean not on your own understanding." Our understanding is skewed by sin. God's discipline teaches us to see things from His perfection.
Perhaps the wisest advice Eliphaz gave Job in his time of testing is found in Job 5:17-18:
"Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For He wounds, but He also binds up; He injures, but His hands also heal."
God disciplines us in order to help us grow and learn dependence on Him. But He never disciplines us without restoring us. Again in Hebrews we read:
"They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:10-11
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:65-68 is:
God's discipline is good because it teaches us obedience.
When have you experienced God's discipline? How? What did you learn from His discipline?
There is a difference between afflictions caused as a result of God's discipline and afflictions brought on us by others. David knew his share of both. David had enemies who tried to kill him and destroy his dynasty. We have an enemy who tries to steal, kill, and destroy us. Jesus called him the "father of lies." Satan does everything he can to destroy our witness for God. He uses every means he can to accomplish this, especially other people. If Satan can get someone gossiping about one of God's faithful servants, spreading lies about their lives, he will!
The KJV translates verse 70:
"Their hearts are as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law."
To be "as fat as grease" meant that their hearts were dulled to God's ways, insensitive to Him; their lives were filled with the luxuries of the world rather than the goodness of God. These are the people Satan uses to do his bidding. He uses the arrogant and proud to spread lies about God's servants. But David gives us the best defense against such an attack in the latter part of verse 70:
"...but I delight in Your law."
When we find our delight in God's law it will not matter what other people say about us. A life of integrity lived in obedience and submission to God's Word is our best defense against the lies of others. When someone gossips about us the best way to prove them wrong is to live a life that honors God no matter what.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:69-70 is:
We overcome the lies of others by living God's way.
How have you experienced affliction caused by others? In what ways has Satan tried to destroy your witness? Where do you turn when others spread lies about you?
Returning to the theme of this section, David declares it is good to be afflicted. He doesn't qualify where the affliction comes from; God's discipline or the lies of others. Often times growing up we hear the advice "learn from your mistakes". The same should be said of our times of affliction. Our trials and tribulations are only worthwhile to the point that we learn from them. Turning to God's Word in times of affliction gives us wisdom. Seeing our troubles in light of eternity gives us strength to continue. Paul stated:
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Turning our attention to God's Word in times of affliction enables us to gain His perspective. His Word becomes our stronghold and we are able to look past the temporary hardship toward our eternal blessing. Love for God's Word grows from places of deepest pain.
When I was 11 years old my best friend was killed in a car accident. As I tried to comprehend Tammy's death, even at this young age I turned to God's Word for comfort. I'm not sure why I was prompted to read Ecclesiastes 3, maybe a trusted adult suggested it or maybe God's Spirit led me there; what I do know is that my love for God's Word grew out of that tragedy. The more I read, the more I was comforted, and the more I loved His Word.
David proclaimed God's Word was more valuable to him than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. David was king. He knew what treasure was. He was rich by the world's standards. Yet he knew that God's Word was more valuable than all the world's riches. He learned this truth through the afflictions he suffered. Time and time again David turned to God's Word when he was suffering. He could have bought his way out of his troubles but instead he turned to God for his deliverance. To David God's Word was better than anything the world could offer.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:71-72 is:
Love for God's Word grows out of affliction.
What have you learned from your afflictions and trials? How have your times of suffering grown your love for God's Word?
Seeking our satisfaction from God's Word in times of affliction teaches us dependence on Him and grows our love for His Word. Viewing God's Word as great treasure enables us to remain steadfast in His ways despite the trials we encounter.
Gathered manna from Teth (Psalm 119:65-72) is:
God's Word is all we need when facing trials and affliction.
John Mason said of God's Word:
"The Word of God must be nearer to us than our friends, dearer to us than our lives, sweeter to us than our liberty, and pleasanter to us than all earthly comforts."
Is this your attitude toward God's Word? How has seeking satisfaction from God's Word helped you in times of trials and afflictions?
I pray we will all stop trying and trying and trying to get satisfaction from things other than the Word of God!
Until next time,
God bless and keep you,
1) Don't forget to mark each reference to God's Word as you read through this weeks section of Psalm 119.
2) Prayerfully answer the questions found in this teaching.
3) Read through Proverbs 4 and list the ways God's Word disciplines and teaches us.
4) Read through Lamentations 3 and list the ways God disciplines Jeremiah and what he learned from this discipline.
If you're enjoying these lessons from Psalm 119, would you mind sending me an email telling me so? I'd love to know what you're learning from our time together. It would be great to have you join my email list as well. When you do you'll receive a weekly email devotion and prayer to help you start your week grounded in God's Word.