Considering the Word
Saturday and today, I looked to the Book of Psalms as inspiration for this daily devotional. Psalms is an anthology of 150 Hebrew religious hymns, many beginning with an instruction that the words are to be sung to the tune of a specific song. While some of the music is lost to history, other tunes still exist or have been written to reflect modern tastes.
For me, the psalms primarily exist as beautiful devotional poetry. When I saw today’s psalm, it reached out to me:
“Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord.
Psalms 119:1 NLT
Little did I know that Psalm 119 is unique for several reasons. It is the longest chapter in the Bible! A Scottish bishop sentenced to be executed once used this fact to his advantage. A custom at the time (17th century) allowed the condemned to have a psalm sung; by the time the singing of the psalm was about two-thirds complete, a pardon came through and his life was spared!
It is also an acrostic, a written composition in which the first letter in each section spells out a word or the alphabet. Psalm 119 is structured so that each section begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet (there are 22) and is 8 verses long.
Psalm 119 glorifies God’s written Word, and starts with this verse by letting the readers know that they can live a joyful life of integrity by living the Word of God. I’ll finish today’s devotional with the words of Charles Spurgeon in reference to Psalm 119:
"This wonderful psalm, from its great length, helps us to wonder at the immensity of Scripture. From its keeping to one subject it helps us to adore the unity of Scripture; for it is but one. Yet, from the many turns it gives to the same thought, it helps you to see the variety of Scripture. . . . Some have said that in it there is an absence of variety, but that is merely the observation of those who have not studied it. I have weighed each word, and looked at each syllable with lengthened meditation; and I bear witness that this sacred song has no tautology in it, but is charmingly varied from beginning to end. Its variety is that of a kaleidoscope: from a few objects a boundless variation is produced. In the kaleidoscope you look once, and there is a strangely beautiful form. You shift the glass a very little, and another shape, equally delicate and beautiful, is before your eyes. So it is here."