The covenantal promises of Psalm 119, Heth

According to what I’ve read this morning, the eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Heth (or Cheth) stands for the chesed (loving-kindness) of the Lord. It’s a concept often translated as “steadfast love” in the ESV (English Standard Version). It appears frequently in the psalms, including the conclusion of this section of Psalm 119. 

The section begins with a confession that highlights the covenantal promises of God’s steadfast love.

The LORD is my portion;
   I promise to keep your words.
I entreat your favor with all my heart;
   be gracious to me according to your promise (57-58, ESV).

The psalmist promises to keep God’s words while asking God to be gracious according to his promise. God promises to love and care for his people; we promise to love and obey him. He steadfastly fulfills his promise; we frequently fail. But God always remains faithful.

The remedy for frequent failure is to recognize our sin and repent from it.

When I think on my ways,
   I turn my feet to your testimonies;
I hasten and do not delay
   to keep your commandments (59-60, ESV).

Recognition and repentence must be followed by action. We must quickly convert our actions to comply with God’s commands. His law shows us our failings and guides us in our return to righteousness.

Remembering God’s law provides guidance even when wicked people catch us in their traps.

Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
   I do not forget your law (61, ESV).

And recalling God’s words bring hope during the lonely watches of the night.

At midnight I rise to praise you,
   because of your righteous rules (62, ESV).

During our waking hours, we find the sweetest fellowship with those who love and obey God.

I am a companion of all who fear you,
   of those who keep your precepts (63, ESV).

Not only our relationships with others reflect God’s covenantal love, but the entire creation conveys his covenantal care.

The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love;
    teach me your statutes! (64, ESV).

Romans 1 tells us that creation so clearly reveals the existence of a Creator that every person in every time and every place is without excuse. Creation is God’s general revelation, but we learn specific details about salvation in Christ through the special revelation of his word.

May God reveal to you his covenantal promises, fulfilled in Christ, as you study his statutes and experience his steadfast love!

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