I’ve read the Psalms more than any other book in the Bible (at least, more consistently). I love the Psalms. And I’ve been enjoying reading the Psalms in the newest translation, the Common English Bible.
This morning, I read Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible at 176 verses. The psalm was written in twenty-two sections, eight verses each, corresponding to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. That is, each verse in the first section (vv. 1-8) begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, each verse in the second section (vv. 9-16) begins with the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and so on. Pretty awesome.
Psalm 119 celebrates God’s Word. The psalm uses a number of different terms to describe God’s Word. I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list, but here are a few words I noted (with the number of appearances in parenthesis) …
- Instruction (25)
- Word (22); Words (1)
- Statutes (22)
- Commandments (21)
- Laws (21); Law (1)
Interestingly, “Instruction,” at the top of the list, is the only word on the list that is capitalized throughout the Psalm.
You can read Psalm 119 at biblegateway.com. As I read through the psalm this morning, here are several verses that especially struck me (verse number in parenthesis) …
I have sought you with all my heart. Don’t let me stray from any of your commandments! (10)
I will always keep your Instruction, always and forever! (44)
My comfort during my suffering is this: your word gives me new life. (50)
The Instruction you’ve given to me is better than thousands of pieces of gold and silver! (72)
I’ve seen that everything, no matter how perfect, has a limit, but your commandment is boundless. (96)
Your word is so pleasing to my taste buds—it’s sweeter than honey in my mouth! (103)
Your word is a lamp before my feet and a light for my journey. (105)
Keep my steps steady by your word; don’t let any sin rule me. (133)
Look at how much I love your precepts. Make me live again, LORD, according to your faithful love! (159)
The people who love your Instruction enjoy peace—and lots of it. There’s no stumbling for them! (165)
I’ve wandered off like a sheep, lost. Find your servant because I haven’t forgotten your commandments! (176)
God’s Word is not just information or rules; it’s a way to live. The phrase “make me live again” also caught my attention. “Make me live again” appears 7 times in the psalm (plus “Let me live again” and “Now I can live again” once each). God gives us instruction to live a way that leads to life!
Great words from Psalm 119!
(This post is part of the Common English Bible Tour.)