119 Taw

The longest psalm ends in a crescendo of response to God.  Through the first 168 verses, the author offers thousands of words of devotion and love… for God’s words.  And though the author has been talking this whole time, you get the sense that he was actually having a conversation with God… and that he was listening deeply to what God was saying.  "Your word, God,"… "Your promises, God,"… "Your commandments, Lord"… "The things you have said, God, I love those things and I trust what comes from your mouth.  I want more!"

When you hear God, you can’t help but to react somehow.  Either you choose to repel- turning away because of unworthiness or maybe a distaste for God’s holiness– or you choose to respond- turning to because it is what God asks you to do.  The writer of this psalm has heard the refreshment and challenge of God’s word, the startling beauty in God’s commands, the scandalous grace in God’s promises, the stark limitless of God’s expectations- and the writer chooses to respond deeply to the Lord.

"Oh God," he says, "please listen to me— Because of all that you have said, I have one last request… Please, Lord, help me listen more to you.  I’m not worthy of your word, but, please, let it burst from my heart through my mouth!  Rescue me from death so that I may praise you!  Let your words, which you have embedded in my soul, sing from my lips!"

This is the way of following God.

169 O Lord, listen to my cry;
      give me the discerning mind you promised.
170 Listen to my prayer;
      rescue me as you promised.
171 Let praise flow from my lips,
      for you have taught me your decrees.
172 Let my tongue sing about your word,
      for all your commands are right.
173 Give me a helping hand,
      for I have chosen to follow your commandments.
174 O Lord, I have longed for your rescue,
      and your instructions are my delight.
175 Let me live so I can praise you,
      and may your regulations help me.
176 I have wandered away like a lost sheep;
      come and find me,
      for I have not forgotten your commands.

* For reflections on the prior 167 verses psalm 119, click here.

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