SEEKING GOD’S LOVE
Holy Father, may the serenity and peace I feel in this prayer sustain me throughout this day.
Read Psalm 119:153–176
153 Consider mine affliction, and deliver me;
For I do not forget thy law.
154 Plead thou my cause, and redeem me:
Quicken me according to thy word.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked;
For they seek not thy statutes.
156 Great are thy tender mercies, O Jehovah:
Quicken me according to thine ordinances.
157 Many are my persecutors and mine adversaries;
Yet have I not swerved from thy testimonies.
158 I beheld the treacherous, and [a]was grieved,
Because they observe not thy word.
159 Consider how I love thy precepts:
Quicken me, O Jehovah, according to thy lovingkindness.
160 The sum of thy word is truth;
And every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth for ever.
161 Princes have persecuted me without a cause;
But my heart standeth in awe of thy words.
162 I rejoice at thy word,
As one that findeth great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood;
But thy law do I love.
164 Seven times a day do I praise thee,
Because of thy righteous ordinances.
165 Great peace have they that love thy law;
And they have no occasion of stumbling.
166 I have hoped for thy salvation, O Jehovah,
And have done thy commandments.
167 My soul hath observed thy testimonies;
And I love them exceedingly.
168 I have observed thy precepts and thy testimonies;
For all my ways are before thee.
169 Let my cry come near before thee, O Jehovah:
Give me understanding according to thy word.
170 Let my supplication come before thee:
Deliver me according to thy word.
171 Let my lips utter praise;
For thou teachest me thy statutes.
172 Let my tongue sing of thy word;
For all thy commandments are righteousness.
173 Let thy hand be ready to help me;
For I have chosen thy precepts.
174 I have longed for thy salvation, O Jehovah;
And thy law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee;
And let thine ordinances help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
seek thy servant;
For I do not forget thy commandments.
- Psalm 119:158 Or, loathed them
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectCan you list five ways in which you have experienced God’s love recently?
This psalm must be one of the most elaborate expressions of piety ever produced. The poet has created 22 stanzas, one for each letter of the entire Hebrew alphabet. Every line of each stanza begins with that particular letter. Each phrase expresses devotion to God and His law. Surely the writer has reached the pinnacle of godliness!
And yet the poem ends with an expression of deep spiritual need. For all his devotion, the poet recognizes that the mercy and kindness of God are his only hope. He is like a lost sheep in need of rescue (176).
As Christians we sometimes misinterpret Jewish piety. We know that the apostle Paul saw his Jewish piety as ‘garbage’ (Philippians 3:8), so we tend to dismiss it as a vain attempt to earn righteousness through good works. But this psalm displays a genuine love for God’s Word, and a delight in obedience. Any means of bringing pleasure to God is prized.
We are all like lost sheep (Isaiah 53:6). As Christians we know that Jesus is the One through whose suffering we are healed, and by whom we are rescued. But that does not mean that we can’t learn from this psalm. When was the last time you wrote a love poem to God? Do you see His commands as an imposition or as an opportunity for you to express your love?
God’s ‘love language’ is obedience (John 14:23). How can you express your love to Him today?
Lord, I love the Scriptures. I need a special infusion of energy to overcome a busy schedule, interruptions, and distractions that keep me from Your Word.