119 nun

It looks like the name of piously black-robed sister, but "nun" in this case is really just the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet.  Pronounced like lunch time ("noon") rather than having nothing ("none"), this wee letter n launches the next section of Psalm 119 with one of the most famous verses in the entire Bible.  Millions upon millions of times for three-thousand years, verse 105 has been recited, sung, prayed, memorized, shared, translated, and spread through out the world.  In our lives that so often need direction, it is no wonder this verse has become so powerful.

Yet, while we love verse 105, we have often tended to neglect verses 106-112.  We fail to ask why the lamp is needed for our feet and a light is essential for our path.  The answer is simple, but frightening.  We need the lamp because the way ahead is frequently filled with shadows and darkness.  We need the light because the path is not always clear.  The writer reveals that even though he follows God’s laws he has suffered terribly along the way.  He begs God, on this path, to preserve him through it all- for he cannot see the turns, nor the conditions, nor the dangers that lurk around the bend ahead. 

Still, the author praises God and asks God to teach him further.  Though his life is constantly in danger, he is determined to remember God’s commands… to the very end.  Whatever end that may be.

Puts verse 105 into perspective a bit, eh?!  It’s a powerful verse because it is so real.  Somehow, despite the pain along the way, God’s word produces praise from our mouths and we ask for more.  And the praise and the request are not forced from us.  Somehow… and I love this… somehow the praise and the request come willingly.  What is it about God’s word that produces this beautiful desire within us for more?! 

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
       and a light for my path.

106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
       that I will follow your righteous laws.

107 I have suffered much;
       preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word.

108 Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,
       and teach me your laws.

109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
       I will not forget your law.

110 The wicked have set a snare for me,
       but I have not strayed from your precepts.

111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;
       they are the joy of my heart.

112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees
       to the very end.

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