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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

He has Mercy on Me: Psalm 119:121-136

So, due to a massive amount of homework, three different meetings, and a variety of other things, I failed to post yesterday.  I didn't read the passage either, unfortunately.  However, today is a new day, and I read both sections of the psalm before breakfast this morning.

In the verses for today, the psalmist is asking God for wisdom and understanding to discern God's laws, and asking God to treat him with love and mercy.
124 Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees.
125 I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

I think the psalmist realizes here the struggle we all have in understanding God's word sometimes.  God is patient and loving, however, and because he wants to impart to us knowledge he "deals with us according to his love" and "gives us discernment" to "understand his decrees".

Some days I read the passage and go, "What is this supposed to mean?  I don't get this at all.  I don't see how this applies to me or my life in the least."  The same thing happens in Bible studies or sermons sometimes.  God knows that sometimes we have trouble understanding Scripture, for whatever reason, and he lovingly and patiently gives us discernment and understanding.

It's a neat circle, too, because as we read Scripture more we gain more wisdom and understanding, as the psalmist continues,
130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
I am definitely simple-minded sometimes, but as God's words unfold (I love the sound of that), I gain understanding.

Verses 126 and 136 are two ways of phrasing the same thing, which is a common pattern in this psalm:
126 It is time for you to act, LORD; your law is being broken.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.

The psalmist is mourning the fact that God's law is being broken and disobeyed.  I don't like it when other people disobey God, but it's even worse for me when I disobey him.  I've experienced sinning and then bursting into tears with regret and shame and sadness because I have broken and disobeyed God's law.  I ask him to act on my behalf to help me obey him.

This leads right into verse 132-134, which say
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression, that I may obey your precepts.
This is such a beautiful prayer!

God, turn to me, Lord, have mercy on me, for I love your name.  Turn my life to focus on your word.  Don't let sin take control of me.  Save me from my own sinful self and from sin in the world, because then I will be able to better obey your teachings.

Today, I am going to know that God has mercy on me, and that he will help me live a life that glorifies him.

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