Tag: Psalm 119
Ep.251: Psalm 119: Words About the Word.
Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
With 176 verses, Psalm 119 is the longest psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible. Though he doesn’t agree, Author Walter Brueggemann comments that this psalm is “notoriously rated to be boring, repetitious, and without plot development.” That’s how I have viewed the psalm; it’s never been one of my favorites.
But now, re-reading the psalm, I am struck by the author’s heart for God. Though almost every verse talks about God’s law or his word or his promises, the poet moves through and beyond the written word to touch God’s heart.
The poet uses the word “love” 19 times in this psalm. Ten times he says he loves the scriptures, which he describes variously as God’s law, his promises, or his wisdom (vv. 47,48, 97, 113, 119, 127,140, 159, 165, 167). Eight times he talks about God’s love for people (vv. 41, 64, 76, 88, 124, 132, 149, 159).
Surprisingly, the poet sees God’s law as a love letter, not just a bunch of rules to obey, not just an irritating collection of regulations, not just strictures that lock down his freedom. Rather, the law is a channel through which God’s heart communicates with his heart, and his with God’s. It is a pathway by which he approaches God and God approaches him. It is the messaging app of his soul that gives him constant access to God.
Our father, we have often found that your law nags our conscience, reminds us of our failures, creates expectations we cannot accomplish, and requires purity we cannot achieve
Today, we receive your law as your language of love, in which we hear your heart, and respond from our hearts. With the poet we say,
The earth is filled with your love;
teach us your decrees (v. 64).
May your unfailing love be our comfort,
according to your promise to your servants (v. 76).
We receive your law as our guide to a wholesome and complete and honorable life. With the poet we say:
Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them (v. 140).
Great peace have those who love your law,
and nothing can stumble them (v. 165).
Through the scripture, you show us the path of wisdom.
Your word is a lamp to our feet,
a light on our path (v. 105).
We choose to walk in the light of your word, in the light of your presence, to live in dialogue with you, our God. With the poet we say,
I have hidden your word in my heart,
so I won’t sin against you (v. 11).
Teach us to experience the circle of longing and delight that the poet finds in your word as he says:
I long for your salvation, Lord;
your law gives me delight (v. 174).
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.
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