Wide Place; Large Heart
Lord, kindle my fire again. Let me hear You.
Read Psalm 119:25– 48
25 I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.
33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.
41 May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,
your salvation, according to your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
48 I reach out for your commands, which I love,
that I may meditate on your decrees.
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.
Psalm 119 contains 176 verses, and all but three deal with God’s law. How high in esteem must God hold his Word?
The person who complained about the number of semi-quavers in a Mozart symphony missed the point! Part of the delight is in the interweaving, the repeating, the returning, the elaboration. I read this section again slowly, letting it reverberate, echo in my heart.
The God who speaks is speaking here. How desperate things become when one you love loses the power of speech! How can we know someone if they don’t say anything? I ponder the word “word” in today’s reading. I look at the verbs in verses 41–48 inviting me to trust, hope, obey, seek, delight (a playful word, 47), and to speak out God’s words. “My hands also will I lift up unto…” in verse 48 is a gesture of deference. I picture also a person at an international airport welcoming a child, a spouse, a lover. Lord, I thank you
that you are a God who communicates with your people.
My ways. Where am I on my journey with God? The alphabetic scheme
allows a concentration in verses 25–32 on “way” (derek in Hebrew). As yesterday, I ask myself today, “Am I walking, running or just plodding?” Am I stuck (“my soul sticks to the dust”; 25, literally), sleepless, ashamed (28,46)? I run my eye over the “way” words found in this reading: way, path, direct. Verse 29 (literally) ends, “and your law—grace me!” Do I know the joy of obedience? Verse 45 says, “I will walk about in a broad place.” Do I know the wideness? A child returns to a toy, a puzzle, a book again and again and again. Have I this sense of playfulness (47)? At the same time God’s promises are awesome, awe-full (38). I ask God to “enlarge my heart” (32b). The marathon continues: I need stamina, steadiness, stickability (Heb. 10:36).
“Preserve my life” (25,37). I think of some words and phrases that
have been life-giving, life-sustaining, perhaps for many years. I pray for new promises.
Lord, give me an even greater appreciation for what I hold in my
hand between Genesis 1 and Revelation 22—the mind and will of God himself.
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