Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Word lover

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 119:1-16

TO CHEW ON: "I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate (look into) Your ways." Psalm 119:15

The writer of Psalm 119 — the longest chapter in the Bible — contemplated in more ways than one. A footnote in my Bible about the literary aspects of this psalm explains:

"This skilfully written psalm is an alphabet (acrostic) masterpiece divided into 22 stanzas with eight couplets (set of two lines) in each stanza. All the couplets in the first stanza begin with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, 'aleph,' the couplets in the second stanza begin with the second letter 'beth' and so on to the end of the poem" - Dick Iverson,  New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 779.

Of course all that literary finesse is lost in translation. Something that isn't lost, though, is the love for God's words (variously called "the law,""commandments," "testimonies," "statutes," "precepts," "judgments," "word," "ordinances," and "way").

Notice the actions the psalmist applies to this precious commodity:

walk in - Psalm 119:1
keep - Psalm 119:4, 5, 8
look into - Psalm 119:6
learn - Psalm 119:7.
heed - Psalm 119:9.
hide (in one's heart) - Psalm 119:11.
declare - Psalm 119:13
rejoice in - Psalm 119:14.
meditate on - Psalm 119:15.
contemplate - Psalm 119:15.
delight in - Psalm 119:16
not forget - Psalm 119:16.

We mustn't lose sight of the fact that this was the law of Moses the psalmist was talking about — not the easy-to-understand psalms (because they were in the process of being written), nor the stories of Samuel, Kings, or Chronicles, nor the passionate poetry of the prophets, nor the stories of Jesus, nor the epistles or Revelation. These were the ten commandments and the rules and regulations about offerings and feasts and food prohibitions and hygiene and how to deal with leprosy and a moldy house.

How could the psalmist love these words so much? I'd suggest it's for the same reason you and I love the words of our Bibles—because they reveal the mind, the personality, and the character of the God that is behind the words. They show us His justice, righteousness, creativity, and care for humanity in the prohibitions about the things that will harm us.

Finally, they were to the psalmist, as they are to us, God's means of re-establishing our broken relationship with Him. In the Old Testament it was through ceremonies and sacrifices foreshadowing the death and resurrection of Jesus as it unfolds in the New.

If the psalmist could be so enthusiastic about the parts of the Bible we can scarcely force ourselves to read, how much easier should it be for us to walk in, keep, look into, learn, heed, hide, declare, rejoice in, meditate on, contemplate, and not forget God's communication to us as we have it in the Bible today.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your precious word. Help me to love it as passionately, study it as closely, and follow it as carefully as the psalm writer loved, studied and obeyed the bit of Your word that he had. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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