“Oops!” I think to myself, “colored that wrong.” Working my way through another stanza of Psalm 119 this morning which means I’m picking up my orange colored pencil (orange pencil crayon for my Canadian brothers and sisters) frequently as I underline references to God’s word. There’s a lot of orange underlining in Psalm 119. But before I erase it I notice something that makes me re-think my first think, “Or did I?”
I notice the repetition I highlighted in yellow, three times the songwriter asks the LORD, “Give me life.” Then I notice the corresponding “according to”. Parallel thoughts, I’m thinking, but one of these things is not like the other. Or is it?
Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to Your promise!
Great is Your mercy, O LORD; give me life according to Your rules.
Consider how I love Your precepts! Give me life according to Your steadfast love.
(Psalm 119:154, 156, 159 ESV)
The cry echoes three times, “Give me life!” Some translations portray the idea of preserving life. Most though seem to lean towards the idea of reviving, refreshing, or restoring to life. The eight verses beginning with the Hebrew letter Resh comprise another stanza, like yesterday, where the songwriter is seeking to persevere amidst “persecutors and adversaries” (v. 157). And he does so by doubling down on his hope in God’s law, commands, precepts, and testimonies. But, I imagine, while he holds on his strength ebbs and so, he cries out to the LORD three times, “Revive me!”
Revive me according to Your promise. Underline “Your promise” with orange. Revive me according to Your rules. Underline “Your rules” with orange. Revive me according to Your steadfast love. Underline “Your steadfast love” with orange. Oops, colored that wrong. Or did I?
If x=a, and x=b, and x=c, then doesn’t a=b=c? I’m thinkin . . .
So, doesn’t God’s promise = God’s rules = God’s steadfast love? I’m thinkin’ that too . . .
I’ve been reading this love letter to God’s word, Psalm 119, for the past 20 mornings and it hits me afresh this morning how much this letter, as is the whole of Scripture, a love letter to me.
Steadfast love is an attribute of God (should have underlined it in blue). Faithful love (CSB), unfailing love (NLT), lovingkindness (NKJV) is at the heart of the God who is Himself the definition and source of love (1Jn. 4:8, 16). So, wouldn’t the Word given to His children also be considered His steadfast love? I’m thinking so one more time.
I sing with the songwriter this morning, “How I love Your precepts!” And I’m sensing a sweet song from the Spirit echoing back, And God’s word is His steadfast love for you.
Revive us, Lord, according to Your Word . . . according to Your steadfast love.
By Your grace. For Your glory.