Observe Daleth, He, Waw, the 4th to 6th letters of the Hebrew alphabet, mark the next three stanzas of this acrostic Psalm.
Daleth ד: Revived from the dust. At first, the poet’s soul clings to the dust (25), but he later declares I cling to your testimonies, O Lord (31a). He recognizes his failures and resulting sadness (28) yet knows that God reveals Himself in His works. The poet deliberately chooses to keep to His way. Because of his obedience, God enlarges his heart, that is, deepens his awareness of God’s truth.
He ה: A plea for guidance and life. So many verbs! -- teach, give, lead, incline, turn, confirm, turn away, God's instructions to help the poet know His will. The poet's responses: will keep, keep and observe, delight, move him into God's realm; His law gives him life.
Waw ו: Liberty comes from loving God's word. Looking back on his life, the poet uses the Word for self-examination. He desires to keep God's law, especially in the face of mockers; his witness is sure because he hopes in and trusts that powerful Word, that law of liberty. He will not be disappointed, because his delight is in God's law -- based in love.
Interpret A single theme fills this extraordinary Psalm: God’s steadfast love, expressed through His Word, His law, rules, precepts, testimony, commandments, ways, statutes – all to be loved, sought after and followed wholeheartedly, because they lead to life. “Law”, Torah, in the Hebrew Bible, prefigures the new revised standard that Christ embodies – the law of love.
Apply Timothy Keller writes, “Contemporary people tend to examine the Bible, looking for things they can’t accept. But Christians should reverse that, allowing the Bible to examine us, looking for things God can’t accept.”
In a society that defies authority, “rules” are a Bad Word, supposedly depriving us of our freedom to ‘be whatever we want to be’, while insisting on ‘my truth’. But God’s law is based in His love -- not an easy love because He asks for our lives. As we yield them up to Him, we quietly walk His path, trusting His direction. He is our good Shepherd, King, Ruler.
In being ready to give an account for our sure hope (1Pet 3:15), we need to know Him and His Word to be effective witnesses to His order and righteousness, the new life He has given us. We do this by learning and obeying His law, fulfilled in Jesus. His Words are good!
Ask How do You see me, Jesus?
Pray Holy Lord Jesus, incline my heart to obey and love Your Word, Your commandments. In following them, I learn they are not a burden. They give me life, they lead me in Your right way, they show me Your love and care. In keeping Your Word there is great reward in living for and in You. Thank you for Your endless, sacrificial, steadfast love.
Sing Ps 119
Poor Bishop Hooper - Daleth
Poor Bishop Hooper - He
Poor Bishop Hooper - Waw
My Soul among Lions - The Words of the Lord
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.