57 Hello, Lord, You are my portion.
Haven’t I promised to obey your words?
58 Haven’t I sought your face with all my heart?
Heap your graciousness on me according to your promise.
59 Having considered my ways, I
have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 Hasten, I will, and not delay to
hear and obey your commands.
61 Howbeit the wicked bind me with ropes,
heaven forbid I forget your law.
62 Hallelujahs will fall when I rise at midnight
happy for your righteous laws.
63 Here I am—a friend to all who fear you,
helping all who follow your precepts.
64 Here the earth is filled with your love, Lord;
help me learn your decrees.
These eight verses are another stanza in the acrostic poem of Psalm 119. Featuring the letter Heth, the Psalmist continues praising Yahweh for His word. So, I took liberties and paraphrased so each line begins with H.
I think this Psalm gets read less than the others—though it does feature a few great memory verses. But it’s long, and it says the same thing over and over and over again. For one hundred seventy-six verses, this songwriter goes on about God’s commands and decrees. “Even if my enemy would tie me up, I could never forget your laws.” This guy is happy about God’s statutes!
In a world where everyone challenges the Bible daily, it’s hard to imagine finding the words to get so excited about scripture. And if we do, it’s usually about the New Testament. Except for one or two friends who love Isaiah, I don’t know anyone whose favorite book falls in the Old Covenant.
But the Psalmist had only part of the Old Testament, and he lived in that kind of world. He saw the idol worship and the murders. He watched the adulterers and thieves get away with their crimes. We might think it’s much worse now; however, in his day, only his nation worshiped the Creator—and even they did it poorly. While we can find Christians in every part of the globe, prior to the exile, those who believed in Yahweh were confined to a small portion of the Middle East. Still, the Psalm writer found one hundred seventy-six different ways to praise God for His word.
Meanwhile, three or four thousand years later, in a time when access to God’s word is at an all-time high, at least one-fourth of those who say they love Jesus don’t even read His love letter. Only a small percentage have read it cover to cover, and I’ve met many elderly saints who weren’t aware some of the books existed. Bibles lay in hotel and hospital rooms courtesy of the Gideons, each library hosts several copies, and discount books stores have them priced for pennies. Our church buys paperback pew Bibles so we can give them away if someone visits and says they don’t have one, and free Bible apps abound. We have no excuse not to fall in love with the word of God.
The Psalmist challenges us to examine our lives. Is the Lord really my portion? Is He all I need? If I lost everything, would God’s love and His word be enough?
I hope you’ll join me in reflecting on these verses this week as I linger in His word and ask myself, “Do I really love every one of Yahweh’s perfect and loving commands?”