Loving the law in Psalm 119, Mem

This section of Psalm 119 begins with its well-known verse: Oh how I love your law!    It is my meditation all the day (97, ESV). Perhaps for you, as it is for me, this is the most familiar of all the 176 verses in Psalm 119. Do you know what the next verse says? I admit … Continue reading Loving the law in Psalm 119, Mem

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Limited perfection in Psalm 119, Lamedh

"I have seen a limit to all perfection," says the psalmist, "but your commandment is exceedingly broad" (Psalm 119:96, ESV). Those words remind me of the oft-repeated Ecclesiastes refrain that "all is vanity...under the sun" (Eccl. 1:2-3, ESV). Our finite minds and physical vision limit our ability to see perfection. We plod through life with the … Continue reading Limited perfection in Psalm 119, Lamedh

Wineskin in the smoke, Psalm 119, Kaph

In this eleventh section of Psalm 119, the psalmist poignantly compares himself to a wineskin in the smoke (83, ESV). A wineskin repeatedly exposed to smoke would shrivel and harden until it lost its flexibility and became useless. What a fitting picture for the way chronic cares shrivel the spirit! As noted in my previous … Continue reading Wineskin in the smoke, Psalm 119, Kaph

Creation and humility in Psalm 119, Yodh

What anomaly exists in the tenth section of Psalm 119, named after the Hebrew letter Yodh? We shall see. According to the "Yod" page on the Hebrew for Christians website, Yodh is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet and conveys connotations regarding creation and humility. I write this on the day following the American celebration … Continue reading Creation and humility in Psalm 119, Yodh

The treasure of affliction in Psalm 119, Teth

Do you treasure affliction? I don't! But Psalm 119 shows me that affliction turns us more wholeheartedly to the riches of God's word. In the ninth section of Psalm 119, named after the Hebrew letter, Teth, the psalmist focuses on affliction. God sometimes uses affliction as punishment, and he always uses it as instruction. The psalmist begins by … Continue reading The treasure of affliction in Psalm 119, Teth

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 … Continue reading The covenantal promises of Psalm 119, Heth

Speaking in the wide place of Psalm 119, Waw

As I struggle this morning to write something that absolutely, positively must be written within the next two hours, the sixth section of Psalm 119 reminds me that God will not take the word of truth from my mouth and he will make me walk in a wide place. I believe most writers struggle with … Continue reading Speaking in the wide place of Psalm 119, Waw

The way of life in Psalm 119, He

The fifth section of Psalm 119, titled after the Hebrew letter, He (or Hei), emphasizes that God's law is the only way of life. The psalmist begins this section with a prayer and a promise: Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes;    and I will keep it to the end. Give me understanding, … Continue reading The way of life in Psalm 119, He

The sojourner of Psalm 119, Gimel

"I am a sojourner on the earth," says the narrator of the third section of Psalm 119, which is comprised of eight verses each beginning with the Hebrew letter, Gimel. We all are sojourners. This world is not our home. Trials and tribulations keep us from settling down and becoming too comfortable. But we must do more than merely … Continue reading The sojourner of Psalm 119, Gimel

The young person of Psalm 119, Beth

As we look at the second section of Psalm 119, which is titled "Beth" after the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, I am praying for a special young person who is going through major life changes. How appropriate this second section seems! Verse 9 begins with a familiar question: How can a young man keep … Continue reading The young person of Psalm 119, Beth