Loving God’s law

As a Sunday School student, I wondered about Psalm 119 and its 22 sections, each subtitled with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The psalm seemed mysterious in its structure and long. Since then, I have learned to love this psalm and its message that man, as the idea of God, is absolutely and lovingly governed by divine law, which is applicable in every circumstance.

Being a poet, the writer of Psalm 119 was rigorous and artistic in the psalm’s construction. Not only does each verse begin with the Hebrew letter heading its section, eight Hebrew terms for God’s law are found throughout the psalm. These terms are easily identifiable in English translations. In the King James Version, for instance, we find variations on seven words—law, testimony, precept, statute, commandment, judgment, and word.

Contemplating God’s law for 176 verses might seem kind of burdensome or heavy, but the Psalmist was absolutely joyous in his commitment to obeying God’s law. Here’s an example that I find very helpful: “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (verse 97). He loves God’s law so much that he turns to it throughout the day to guide his actions. In the following verses he tells us the result of staying close to God’s law: He is wiser than his enemies, he has more understanding than his teachers and the earlier prophets, and it keeps him from sin. Verse 97 reminds me that it is never a burden to put God first and to love one’s neighbor.

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No making fun!
October 5, 2015

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