Trusting in Yeshua is not mere intellectual acknowledgment but adherence to, commitment to, trust in, faith in, reliance upon Him as completely human, completely identified with us, and at the same time fully divine, completely identified with God.– David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary
The Bible isn’t an ordinary book.
It contains historical and cultural contexts which could revolutionize our perspectives and mindsets.
It encompasses God’s character and helps us become more like Him.
It teaches God’s will for our lives, how and even why to obey Him.
It has principles for every area of our lives, which help us get through even the most difficult and painful experiences.
Ultimately, it helps us get closer to God because we’re called to be in a relationship with Him. Being in relationship with Him brings transformation, healing, and freedom.
In this section of Psalm 119, the definition of the Hebrew letter Qoph helps us understand the importance of commitment to God’s Word. Through the psalmist’s prayer, you’ll see how commitment to His word
- strengthens your relationship with Him
- brings transformation to every area of your life, and
- increases your trust in Him
Definition of Qoph
Eye of a needle
Qoph is suggested to depict a sewing needle, specifically the eye of a needle, mainly because of how it looks.
In the Hebrew culture, the eye of a needle refers to a small gate opening in Jerusalem. Travelers would go through it at night with their camels and trading materials after the main gate closed.
Back in the day, the camel was known as the largest animal in the region, and it was difficult for one to squeeze through the small entrance. They’d have to take everything off of it so that it could go through.
In Matthew 19:24, Jesus says it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God. Without the context above, it could appear Jesus is implying no rich person could get saved or that He’s against wealth.
However, knowing the context helps us understand it means to leave our sinful ways. It means to change our old beliefs, habits, and commitments such as to worldly riches. By doing so, you commit to Christ and an ongoing transformation in Him (Romans 12:2).
Nape of a neck
The second definition for Qoph is nape of the neck (the back of your head), mainly because the word qāf in Arabic means “nape.” Many scholars also suggest it looks a head and neck shape.
The nape of the neck is where the cerebellum (the lower part of your brain) is located. The cerebellum plays a vital role in basically all physical movement. It’s what helps you drive, get in and out of bed, walk across a room, and make other voluntary movements.
But for it to function properly and optimally, it’s on us to make voluntary movements consistently. We have to make “voluntary” decisions to move daily and keep this part of our brain active. If we don’t, we will get less coordinated and balanced the older we get. It’s essential for our physical and mental health to exercise and keep learning on some level so that we can keep living and functioning day in and out.
These two definitions reveal the overarching principle of commitment. To follow Christ means to make the voluntary decision to put off the old and put on the new continuously (Ephesians 4:22-24). It’s commitment to growth in every area of your life. This commitment takes dedication, discipline, and learnability, just like you would with any relationship or health goal.
As we look at the following verses, the psalmist prays for deeper commitment to His relationship with God. Not only does he pursue God and His word to leave worldly things behind, but he makes physical commitments (voluntary decisions) to dedicate, discipline, and learn from God’s word to change for the better.
Commitment Takes Dedication
145 I cried out with all my heart; answer me, Lord! I will comply with Your statutes. 146 I cried to You; save me And I shall keep Your testimonies.Psalm 119:145-146
Following God is dedication to a holy lifestyle.
This doesn’t mean you become legalistic and religious about the way you live your life, but you stay open to change as you leave worldly things behind. Like going through the eye of the needle, a traveler had to take everything off of the camel and lead it to crawl through the entrance. It took dedication to complete this task.
Likewise, for us, we can take the psalmist’s example to come before God with a sincere and open heart, ready to take off whatever is holding us back from experiencing greater depths of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-25). But it takes dedication to follow through and even make verbal promises so that you hear yourself and stay accountable to it.
Through a verbal statement, you can commit to keeping God’s Word. When you state your intentions like this, you take ownership of working out the commitment through dedication. It makes you accountable. Like in marriage, after the wedding day and the vows, it takes daily dedication to strengthen your relationship.
Commitment to God’s Word takes dedication to live out your promises to God. It’s easy to come to Him and ask for various things with no intention to change your lifestyle; but here, the psalmist shows us it’s out of desire and dedication that he comes to God. His desire is to obey God’s Word because of relationship and devotion, not duty.
Commitment Takes Discipline
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words. 148 My eyes anticipate the night watches, So that I may meditate on Your word. 149 Hear my voice according to Your faithfulness; Revive me, Lord, according to Your judgments.Psalm 119:147-149
Along with dedication, it takes discipline to keep your commitment.
In these next three verses, the psalmist shares how he commits to God and His word. He doesn’t leave his promises empty but backs them up with disciplined commitment. He spends time with God in the mornings and evenings. He expects to learn from the word and meditates on its truth. He’s ready to change and get revived to grow in God.
Dedication to something or someone takes disciplined actions. It’s like going to the gym, you discipline yourself to go consistently to reach a goal. Your commitment to it takes discipline to achieve transformation. These voluntary decisions to change for the better are like your cerebellum: its purpose is to help you make voluntary movements daily. The more you move, the more healthy and functional it is.
The more you discipline yourself in any area of your life, you will experience transformation. This includes your relationship with God and commitment to His word. Renewing the mind, meditating, praying, waking up early, and trusting that God revives and hears your voice, all require discipline.
Just like any relationship or life goal you may have, commitment to God’s Word takes dedication and discipline to experience ultimate transformation.
Commitment Takes Learnability
150 Those who follow after wickedness approach; They are far from Your Law. 151 You are near, Lord, And all Your commandments are truth. 152 From long ago I have known from Your testimonies That You have founded them forever.Psalm 119:150-152
Finally, commitment takes learnability. Dedication and discipline are essential for growth in God, but commitment to His word takes having an open mind and a learnable heart for continued trust in it.
We change, but God’s truth doesn’t. This means that your perspective and your understanding of scripture can change. But no matter what, God’s TRUTH does not. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth (John 16:13), and we must trust in God for continued revelation of it. We cannot lean on our own understandings of it.
As the psalmist sees those who follow wickedness approach, he commits to trust that God’s Word is infallible. The world will continue in wickedness, but we should recognize that no matter the circumstance, He is near and all of His commandments are truth.
Dedication and discipline alone can make us forget that there is more to it. Learnability and an open mind helps us pursue deeper knowledge and truth within it. You can be dedicated and disciplined to go to the gym, but if all you do is cardio and expect muscles to grow, you probably won’t see the results.
Similarly to God’s Word, you can be dedicated to God’s commandments and disciplined in reading daily, but learnability is what will really help you trust God’s Word. For example, learning historical and cultural contexts will expand your perspective on certain teachings (like the eye of a needle). Learnability helps us trust in the Word!
Ultimately, commitment to His Word results in a stronger relationship with Him as we dedicate and state our intentions to Him. It produces ultimate transformation as we pursue discipline to spend time with Him and in His word. And, it builds our trust in the Word as we remain learnable.
Life with God is an overall commitment. There is constant growth and transformation in our relationship with Him. It doesn’t stop at our belief in Jesus, but continues through daily actions of living in constant renewal, revival, and commitment to Him.
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