“I cry to you; save me, that I may observe your decrees.” -Psalm 119:146 (NRSV)
Our verses from yesterday and today come from Psalm 119, the longest chapter of any book in the Bible. It is an acrostic poem with each set of eight verses beginning with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Depending on the version of the Bible you have at home, you might have each letter of the Hebrew alphabet placed on top of each section. (The picture below is from a Bible belonging to my great-grandfather Arthur Allen.)
The psalmist speaks of their love for God’s word and statutes, something that resonates strongly with me. We tend not to be so law-focused as Episcopalians, but I do very much love God’s Law. No… not the hateful version that is used by some Christians to condemn groups of people that they themselves despise, but the Law that was set forth in the Torah that speaks of helping foreigners and the poor, letting the land have a Sabbath every so many years, and which was intended to be life-giving to the people. I love the Law that shows the love of the Lord for the people of Israel.
Amy Grant wrote a song years ago that I love. It’s called “Thy Word” that incorporates verse 105 of this psalm: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” While I am horrible these days at actually getting personal Bible reading done on a daily basis, I can absolutely say that Scripture guides my path, especially the Gospels. Knowing that I’m called to “seek first the kingdom of God” and told “do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:33-34) is useful, as is the wisdom that “where [my] treasure is, [my] heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). Micah’s admonition “to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8) guides my decision-making, and the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 is my standard for love. God’s Word holds me together when I need it most
Thank you, Lord, for Your Word which enlightens and guides me. Amen.