Summer Reading, part twenty-two

Did you read all 176 verses of Psalm 119 yet? Let me share some of the highlights.

Psalm 119:1 begins with a blessing for those whose ways are blameless. But who among us is blameless? We’ve all messed up. That’s why I love Psalm 119 so much. It doesn’t dwell on our past sins. It picks us up where we are, and we are at the feet of Jesus, having received forgiveness of all our sins. If we choose to follow in the way of righteousness instead of chasing after sin, we will have faithfulness to God as our goal. In your mind, see yourself as already having achieved your goal. Then read verse one again.

Yes, we all mess up from time to time. Verse five agrees that we still have faithful obedience as our common goal. If you fall down between verses four and five, you can stand back up in verse seven and start over by the grace of God. Verse seven is encouraging and reminds us that we are teachable. “I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.”  

I need to put verse sixteen on my coffee cup to bolster my determination to get direction from God first thing each day. “I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” If we start our mornings with a diligence to be open to God, our hearts will look like the eyes of children, wide with wonder and amazement at God’s goodness.

Going to God with child-like trust will affect our prayers. We’ll be more transparent and intimate with him. We’ll hear him better. Verses eighteen through twenty will be the song of our hearts. “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me. My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.”

I love Psalm 119 because of all the “sound bites” and memory verse opportunities. You can take one spiritual goal and find several verses that would serve as encouragement for that goal. For instance, just in this one psalm there are at least eighteen verses about getting guidance and understanding from learning God’s word. Teachability is an important character trait. If you only study eighteen of the 176 verses in this psalm (7, 12, 18, 26, 27, 29, 33, 34, 64, 66, 68, 102, 124, 125, 135, 144, 169, 171), you will still get a lot out of your effort.

Read Psalms 120-126 for next time. Enjoy!

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