129 Your laws are wonderful!
That’s why I guard them.
130 Access to your words gives light,
giving simple folk understanding.
131 I open my mouth up wide, panting,
because I long for your commandments.
132 Come back to me and have mercy on me;
that’s only right for those who love your name.
133 Keep my steps steady by your word;
don’t let any sin rule me.
134 Redeem me from the people who oppress me
so I can keep your precepts.
135 Shine your face on your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
136 Rivers of tears stream from my eyes
because your Instruction isn’t being kept.
And now, let me begin with a verse-by-verse commentary on Psalm 119. Hope you don’t have too much planned for the rest of your day…because it’s the longest chapter of the Bible.
Psalm 119 contains 176 verses arranged into 22 acrostic stanzas corresponding to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, where each line begins with the same letter. And the whole psalm is a meditation on how much the writer loves God’s Word.
I like the Bible. A lot. But I can’t say I’d ever write 176 verses about it.
There is, however, one verse in this passage I particularly relate to. There are times when I will admit that I read or hear an item of news and it just brings me to tears. I think about God’s love for us, and Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, and I think: how can we continue to hurt each other like this? How is it that we have learned nothing?
We usually think about God’s Word as something that corrects and corrals us – that keeps us in the right way.
But the scripture is so much more. Not only does it instruct and inspire us, it also makes makes our hearts soft enough to break with compassion when we see the wrong done in the world. And this is important.
It’s important because I think God’s hope is that when our hearts are breaking, that we’ll find the courage to go out and do something about it.
The Word is given by God in order to move us, so that we might move the world.
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
What is one type of news story that consistently makes your heart break? How might God be using that reaction to call you to action?
Prayer: God, we thank you that your Word not only inspires, but initiates action so that all people might experience the grace, love, and fullness of life you have promised us in Christ. Amen.