meditation on psalm 119


105 Your word is a lamp for my steps;

it lights the path before me.

106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it:

I pledge to do what You say is right and just.

107 I have suffered terribly, O Eternal One;

give me the life You promised.

108 Please accept the words I offer willingly, O Eternal One,

and instruct me in the ways of Your justice.

109 My soul is continually in danger,

but I do not forget Your teachings.

110 The wicked have laid a trap for me,

but I have not drifted away from Your instructions.

111 Your decrees are forever mine,

for they bring joy to my life.

112 I have committed myself to do what You require

forever and ever, to the very end.

We each have a handful of songs that we desperately suppress in our subconscious. These are the songs that, if loosed, will run wild in our minds, unchecked for weeks. When I was in seminary, a professor introduced me to one of these behemoths. For some reason, there exists a video of notorious purple dinosaur Barney teaching young children the Hebrew alphabet. When I close my eyes, I can still hear his voice, "gimel, daleth, he..."

While the early Israelites may not have had the infectious tunes of plum dinosaurs, they did have Psalm 119 to educate them. This epic psalm is divided into 22 parts, one for each of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The brilliant psalm was used to teach the children beautiful truth about the Almighty while helping them learn the alphabet. Each stanza frames an aspect of the human/divine relationship.

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" is a familiar lyric for many in the church. This particular stanza may be found under the letter 'nun'. This section acknowledges God's Word as the way we (humanity) know where to go and what to do. I appreciate how the psalmist confesses that they need continued reassurance in understanding God's desire and faithfully living out God's instructions.

I find incredible encouragement that this life of faith is simple enough that they can teach it to children as they learn the alphabet (gives new meaning to the phrase as simple as abc...), yet there is recognition that learning this life of faith is a work in progress. So I pray today that you (we) would find peace in the simplicity of faith, that you (we) would be drawn into a mystery deeper than you (we) can explain, and that God is with you (us) on the journey. - Reverend Carl Anderson

Here is the alphabet song referenced. Watch at your own discretion.

Enjoy this song inspired by psalm 119.

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