For quite a few days now I have been meditating on the longest Psalm and have come to be deeply impressed with the many beautiful expressions of praise there for the Word of the Lord. In approaching this part of my meditation in the Psalms, I wasn’t especially looking forward to its content knowing the extended and repetitive nature of its many references to the commandments of the Lord. I guess I thought I knew what was there and didn’t need to dwell on it that much.
But I am now in the habit of taking a good deal of time in reading and meditating on one passage of Scripture at at time — even if it takes several days. And so this Psalm, being longer than usual, has occupied more than an average amount of time. And as I have read and re-read its verses, I have found a new depth of appreciation for the wonder of what the writer has given us here.
Evidently the writer has taken pains to set the theme of God’s great revelation in His law into an extended praise-worthy description by forming the entire Psalm into 22 sections, each corresponding to a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and each section containing eight statements that begin with the appropriate letter. This structure for the creation of the Psalm is itself an amazing demonstration of the wonder of the revelation of God’s law in the form of letters and words.
But the real richness of the Psalm is in the very high value given to the Law of the Lord in this way. Evidently the writer wanted the people of his day (likely in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah) to appreciate the great gift given to them through the revelation of this Word. As one dwells on these verses, one can’t help but feel the huge significance of the fact that God has revealed Himself through His commandments as given to Moses and the prophets of that time.
Each time I spend time mulling over these verses, I come away overwhelmed with the sense of how fortunate I am to be among those who have discovered God’s revelation in His Word as given to us in the Old (as well as the New) Testament. There is something in the meditation on God’s Word in our lives that quenches the deepest thirst of our souls — probably because the Law of the Lord is such a perfect reflection of His holy character. The expressions in this Psalm seek to describe some of the many ways in which God’s Word brings life to the soul.
The law of the Lord is able to keep us from sin and from being overcome by our enemies. It is able to give guidance in the midst of confusion and widsom in a world of foolishness. It is a source of deepest comfort and it brings lasting joy and happiness.
And so the writer says, Your principles have been the music of my life throughout the years of my pilgrimage (Vs. 54), and, This is my happy way of life: obeying your commandments (Vs. 56). He goes on, Your decrees are my treasure; they are truly my heart’s delight (Vs. 111), and, As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands (Vs. 143), and finally, I rejoice in your word like one who finds great treasure (Vs. 162 — references in the New Living Translation).
In a world that is full of the symbols of communication created by fallen humanity, it is so refreshing to focus on the symbols of life revealed to us in God’s flawless principles. This time of meditation in Psalm 119 has moved me to look ever more deeply into God’s revealed Word to find help and comfort for my own soul while I also look for ways to pass it on to others.