WITH ALL MY HEART
I praise You, Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth. Reveal to me fresh insights from Your Word as I read it now.
Read Psalm 119:129–152
129 Your statutes are wonderful;
therefore I obey them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
longing for your commands.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as you always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may obey your precepts.
135 Make your face shine on your servant
and teach me your decrees.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for your law is not obeyed.
137 You are righteous, Lord,
and your laws are right.
138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.
139 My zeal wears me out,
for my enemies ignore your words.
140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them.
141 Though I am lowly and despised,
I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is everlasting
and your law is true.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands give me delight.
144 Your statutes are always righteous;
give me understanding that I may live.
145 I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord,
and I will obey your decrees.
146 I call out to you; save me
and I will keep your statutes.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promises.
149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love;
preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws.
150 Those who devise wicked schemes are near,
but they are far from your law.
151 Yet you are near, Lord,
and all your commands are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your statutes
that you established them to last forever.
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ReflectHow good are you at putting God’s Word into practice?
I once decided, on a whim, to read through Psalm 119 in one go. I knew, one way or another, it mentioned God’s Word or law in almost every verse. I wanted to see what the main thing was that it said about God’s Word. It was a light-bulb moment! I concluded the main thing about God’s Word is to do it!
In the first eight verses of our reading, the psalmist is very practical. He wants God’s Word to direct his footsteps (133); he wants to obey God’s statutes and ‘Your precepts’ (128,134). He weeps because ‘Your law is not obeyed’ (136). Later, he again promises to obey God’s decrees and to ‘keep Your statutes’ (145,146).
I was once asked in an interview, ‘What do you think of the Bible?’ For the psalmist, the Words of God are not just deeply practical: they are a wonder (129), a delight (143), and eternal (152). He has found them trustworthy and true, and always carrying a sense of being ‘right’ (137,138,144). He longs for them: they give understanding (130,131) and, best of all, they speak to us of the Lord, who is very near (151).
This prayer seems to echo the psalmist’s heart, ‘Lord, make your word my rule, in it may I rejoice; your glory be my aim, your holy will my choice; your promises my hope … yourself my great reward.’*
May I truly delight in Your Word, my Lord. Let it sink deeply into my heart so that I can live it.
*Christopher Wordsworth, 1807–85, ‘Lord, make your word my rule’