Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Devotional: Psalm 119.25-32 (Stanza ד)

   Pray and ask God the Father to open your heart to hear His message to you as you read the Bible. But also spend some time just talking with Him about how your day went.

   Abba, have mercy on me for my weaknesses. Help me to really understand Your Word as I read and think about it today. Stir in me through Your Word a greater desire to know Christ and live a life of following the Holy Spirit in all things. In Jesus's Name, Amen.

Passage: Psalm 119.25-32 (Stanza ד)
25   My soul claws at the dust!
       I live according to Your Word!
26   I spoke in detail about my lifestyle
       and I You responded to me!
       Teach Me Your laws!
27   Make me understand the lifestyle of Your expectations
       and I will definitely think deeply about Your miracles!
28   My soul drips with sadness
       Lift me up according to Your Word!
29   Remove any false way from me!
       and be gracious me with Your instruction!
30   I choose the path of truth
       I follow Your decisions.
31   I hold on tight to Your statements, Yahweh!
       Don't shame me!
32   I passionately pursue the path of Your commands,
       because You enlarge my understanding!

    This passage continues the longest chapter in the Bible with a stanza for the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, dalet (ד). In Hebrew, 5 of the 8 verses start with the same Hebrew word for "way/path/lifestyle." And v.25 and v.31 both start with the same word for "grabbing tightly." This means that there is a lot of focus on lifestyle, gripping, and because it is the only beginning that is different, on the dripping of the author's soul. As for within the stanza, it probably has two subgroups, vv.25-28 (which focuses mostly on the sorrow and dedication of the psalmist) and vv.29-32 (which focuses mainly on the psalmist's desire to obey and follow God completely).

   The main theme of this passage is about the lifestyle God wants for us and the psalmist's desire for that same lifestyle. And it makes me ask if I am really committed to God's lifestyle, if I really long to live for God and do His will. I want to be even more committed to living God's kind of lifestyle and being dedicated to Him by living out His Word.
   The other thing that really jumps out at me is the dual focus of the passage, how the psalmist is really struggling emotionally, but at the same time is still clinging tightly to God. Sometimes, it is easy to let emotional difficulties draw us away from God and from a strong commitment to Him. But I want to be more like the author who tells God honestly where he's at and clings to God even tighter when life is crazy.
    The other thing that resonates with me is that the lifestyle God commands us to follow can actually expand our understanding of the world and ability use our mind. A lot of times Christians think that following Christ and reading the Bible makes it harder for them to be or appear smart, but it is helpful to me to remember that in fact it is the Bible that expands my understanding of the world. I may be accused of narrowmindedness, but in fact, the Bible has increased my ability to understand life and the world. The Bible enables me to live a wiser and smarter life, but also to understand people and systems and even science better.

    Pursue living for God according to His way of life.
    Cling to my relationship with God all the more when life gets stressful, depressing, or frustrating.
    Allow the Bible to expand my understanding, allow it to shape my way of viewing and understanding life, people, and the world, including science, psychology, etc.

   Abba, I love You! Make me live for You just like Jesus did! Empower me by Your Holy Spirit to listen to the Holy Spirit's voice and obey His guidance. Lord, right now there are things in my life that are stressful and depressing and even frustrating. God, help me to cling to you more tightly because of those things and able to come to You with them all the time. Lord, teach me Your Word and let it shape my mind and expand my ability to understand. Don't let me be deceived by the way of falsehood that prioritizes other things or frameworks for understanding above Your message to Your people! I love You! Fill me with Your Spirit! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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