I've known, of course, that this day was coming for a while; the day we would come to the longest of the psalms (176 verses). The psalm is a "wisdom" or teaching psalm in praise of God's Torah. Words used to describe the Torah in this psalm include law, decrees, commandments, precepts, statutes, ordinances, word, and promise. Ps. 119 seeks to convince the reader/hearer that God's Word or Law is central for the biblical community. It is a gift from God. There is no way to do justice to this great psalm in one short devotion. So, today is Pt. 1 of Ps. 119.
Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. Happy are those who keep his decrees, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways. You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. I will praise you with an upright heart .. I will observe your statutes. How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word .. I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord .. I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes, I will not forget your word .. Put false ways far from me; and graciously teach me your law. I have chosen the way of faithfulness .. Teach me, O Lord .. give me understanding, that I may keep your law .. lead me in the path of your commandments .. turn my heart to your decrees .. give me life in your ways. Confirm to your servant your promise .. in your righteousness give me life. Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise. I trust in your word .. I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law. The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love. (Ps. 119:1-64)
In order to keep God's commandments or word, we first need to know what it says. A short Scripture reading, such as this morning meditation, is a beginning to that knowledge. God wants us to trust in him, remember to call upon him (talk to him in good times and bad times). God gives us life in the present and promises us life in the future - if we place our trust in God and seek him with our whole heart. This "whole heart" thing is a commitment, no doubt. I encourage you to spend a few minutes today reflecting on your "whole heart" commitment to Christ. Yesterday's sermon reminded us that Jesus warned his disciples, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Where is your treasure? Where is your heart?
Prayer: God, we thank you for your steadfast love for us. We thank you for giving us your word, so that we can learn more about you and the life you wish for us. Help us to seek you with our whole heart, to place as a priority in our lives worship, reading and studying of scripture, and prayer, rather than making such things an afterthought. Lead us in your ways, teach us and give us understanding, so that our lives may glorify you. Amen.