I call with all my heart, O Lord;
answer me that I may keep your statutes.
I call to you to save me
that I may observe your testimonies.
I rise before dawn and cry out;
I put my hope in your words.
My eyes greet the night watches
as I meditate on your promise. – Psalm 119:145-148
Today we conclude Psalm 119, the longest of the Psalter. It is a psalm of praise to God for the gift of the Torah; it is also a psalm of intercession asking God to protect from sinners. It is a psalm of lament that looks at the cost of obedience, and reminds us how good the Law of God is. As in the section quoted above, there is an underlying theme of wonder at how God’s word directs and guides human lives.
Going back over the Psalm, there is a pattern about it, an acrostic, with each of its twenty two stanzas, of eight lines each, are in the order of the Hebrew alphabet. It is lost to us in the English translation, but the author meticulously arranged the words so that each of the eight verses in a stanza begins with the same letter, with each verse containing one word for ‘instruction’.
The words used for instruction are: law, edict, command, precept, word, utterance, way, decree, and teaching. The difficulty is, there are only 8 versus per stanza, but nine words for instruction, so the consistency isn’t exact.
What can we gain from reflecting on this Psalm? We can look for words of encouragement, to put our trust in God in all circumstances. Today, we can become psalmists too, writing down our words of praise to the Lord. What would you like to say to someone who is discouraged? To someone who is fighting a tough battle due to illness, or moral/political battle (such as fighting for the right of the unborn and the elderly)?
Let us take five minutes today and set ourselves before the Lord, to sing His praises.
May God bless you.