by John Sainsbury
13 April 2023« Previous Day | Next Day »
I’ve been recently pondering the amazing Psalm 119. It is a masterpiece of alphabetical tribute to the word of God and, as we read it through, we notice that the writer uses several different terms to describe the word of God. Each one has a slightly different shade of meaning. But in verses 57-64 the writer uses all eight `law-words` to bring out his delight. So, if you’ve ever wondered why the Bible is worth devoting time to, then where better to look than the Hebrew letter Heth in verses 57 to 64.
The first is ‘word’ (verse 57). As God is everything I need, I pay attention to everything He says: His word.
The second is ‘promise’ (verse 58). This means something spoken and requires me to respond with my whole heart to what He says.
The third is ‘statutes’ (verse 59). This reminds us that God has made a covenant with us and He expects us to bring our lives into line with this covenant.
The fourth is ‘commands’ (verse 60). This literally means ‘orders’. If God is truly our Lord, then we are duty bound to do as He commands us.
The fifth is ‘law’ (verse 61). This means God’s directions or instruction. God’s law is not a negotiation. We are called on to do as He instructs us. As we do, though, this isn’t a restriction, but we’re actually freed to truly live.
The sixth is ‘laws’ (verse 62). This is a different word to ‘law’ and means judgments or rulings. The psalmist longed for God’s laws to sort out the chaos of life lived without them.
The seventh is ‘precepts’ (verse 63). This requires the listener to pay close attention to the detail of God’s Word.
And the final one of the eight is ‘decrees’ (verse 64). Decrees are permanent, as if carved into stone, and this indicates the eternal nature of God’s instructions to His covenant partners.
And so, with all eight different aspects of the word of God, the psalmist calls us to be those who don’t just read God’s word, with some semblance of interest, but rather to be those who pore over it and seek to make it the bedrock of our lives. As we do, far from restricting our lives, we will allow it to liberate us from our bondage to false voices, and hear instead the liberating truths of God’s word, promise, statutes, commands, law, laws, precepts and decrees.
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