Thursday, February 18, 2010

So, you want to read Psalm 119... (Part 2)

Picking up where I left off yesterday...

Make friends with 176 people – Imagine that you have walked into a room with 176 guests who are there for a banquet. You may know a few on a first name basis. You may know some in a deeply personal way. Some you may have never met in your life. Now, take a moment and talk with them. Learn their story. Ask them questions. As you do this, you will become more familiar with them. You may even seem resemblance among them. Some may look like cousins or sisters. Some will look very similar to others, some very different. I appreciate David Powlison introducing me to the Psalm with this analogy. There are 176 verses. We know some very well. We may know about “hiding God’s Word in our heart” or about “Your Word is a lamp to my feet.” Some verses we have yet to really grasp. So, my encouragement here is to spend time with the verses. Ask them questions. Ask God to make these verses personal friends of yours. I think that as you do this, you will see some common threads running through the verses. Some will seem similar to others. Those are the threads that I want to call our attention to.

Think feast not fast-food – I remember hearing Paul Tripp say that we often approach the Psalms as spiritual fast-food, something quick to pick up on the run. He suggested that we ought to go to the Psalms with a mindset of eating a Thanksgiving dinner. We will eat and eat until our hearts are content, and there will still be leftovers. So, don’t “drive-thru” this psalm as if you can pick up a quick bite. Enjoy the flavor of each dish that is there, and stay at the table to enjoy the post-dinner conversation.

Follow the path to Jesus – Don’t miss Jesus who is also the self-disclosure of God. He is there in Psalm 119. He is the embodiment of all the good described in the 22 stanzas. When you read about the ways of God being just, you cannot help but be reminded of the fact that Jesus Himself was just and is just. You find common ground between the words of this Psalm and the words of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. God is intent on us knowing Him. He gave us creation, a conscience, His Word and His Son. Don’t miss what He is saying.

So, there is a ‘freshman orientation’ of sorts if you are new or unfamiliar to the psalm. I desire that God uses the psalm to grow my hunger for Him, and I pray that for you as well.