Wednesday of Pentecost 8 – Psalm 119:57-64


57 The Lord is my portion;
    I promise to keep your words.
58 I entreat your favor with all my heart;
    be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 When I think on my ways,
    I turn my feet to your testimonies;
60 I hasten and do not delay
    to keep your commandments.
61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
    I do not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to praise you,
    because of your righteous rules.
63 I am a companion of all who fear you,
    of those who keep your precepts.
64 The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
    teach me your statutes!

The psalmist liked to play with words. As we have noted in earlier devotions, this psalm is an acrostic psalm. Each verse in this section begins with the 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet: Heth. Each verse of this very long psalm also has some synonym for God’s Word in it. One could almost think this was a game of sorts. But I think the psalmist is lulling us into a comfortable place so he can catch us and enter our hearts.

Look at verse 61. The cords of the wicked ensnare him. Was he caught up in some spasm of violence? Did he participate in it? Is this spoken with regret? I once sat with a man who tearfully recounted his wicked behavior as a child. He had been a bully, a terror to his classmates. He had been ensnared in the cords of wickedness and his road out of that snare had been painful and difficult. Now he looked back  upon it, knowing the Law of the Lord, with deep regret and shame. He did rise at midnight to praise God. He guilty conscience drove him out of bed and onto his knees in prayers of penitence and thanksgiving for forgiveness spoken.

The psalmist also knows his failings. Turn to verse 64. The world is full of God’s steadfast love. That word for steadfast love in Hebrew begins with a Heth and it starts this verse. It is a powerful word which speaks of God’s unfailing, eternal, gracious love for his creation. Based on that love, the psalmist begs God to teach him God’s statutes. He and you and I all need that instruction. Join the psalmist today in praying that prayer. God’s steadfast love, despite appearances, indeed fills the whole world. Today as I go forth, God will teach me and you His commandments. 

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