I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life.
When I was pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, I would meet each Friday morning with my elders. We didn’t do business in that meeting, but, rather, spent time sharing concerns and praying. Our prayers would begin with the reading of a psalm, whichever one happened to be our psalm of the day.
I’ll never forget the day we were supposed to read Psalm 119. As we opened our Bibles, we looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Were we really going to read all 176 verses of this psalm, the longest in the Psalter? Yes, indeed, we were. So, for about fifteen minutes, we read Psalm 119 aloud, with each person reading a verse as we went around the circle. When we finished, we felt victorious, as if we had climbed a mountain of Scripture.
If you read all of Psalm 119, especially if you take the time to read it out loud, you’ll quickly notice a fair amount of repetition. This psalm makes one basic point, again and again and again. In fact, the structure of Psalm 119 is meant to convey a sense of thoroughness and completeness in making this point. It is an acrostic psalm, with twenty-two stanzas that begin with each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, in order. If we were writing a version of Psalm 119 in English, it might read something like this: Absolutely faithful is God’s Word. Blessings come to the one who loves his truth. Come and follow the commandments of the Lord. …Zeal for your Word fills my heart.
Psalm 119 pulls out all the stops in celebrating God’s truth. His Word not only guides our steps and keeps us from getting off course, but also, in a phrase, it gives us life.
Why do we read, study, reflect upon, and pray the Scriptures? Because in them we find life, life with meaning and purpose, life with depth and truth, life both now and forever. The Word of God guides us so that we might live life to the fullest. It shows us how to find significance in every aspect of life as we live for God and his glory.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How has your life been enriched by the Word of God? How has God spoken to you recently through the Scriptures?
Thank you for showing me how to live with meaning each day as I see my life connected to your grand work in the world.
Thank you for teaching me through Scripture how to be faithful in my workplace, my family, my church, and my community.
Thank you for showing me how I can live, not in my own strength, but by your power. How grateful I am for biblical teaching on the Holy Spirit and his gifts.
Thank you for revealing the nature and purpose of the church, helping us to be the people of God, a body consistently growing in you as each part is active.
Thank you for showing us in Scripture that we are called into your mission, and that we can live out this mission each day in every area of life.
Finally, thank you for revealing in the Bible your love for me, your grace through Christ, and your invitation to live in relationship with you.
All praise be to you, O God, for your Word gives me life! Amen.