2 Peter 3
Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands.
The Jews of Bible times not only followed God’s laws; they were surrounded by physical reminders of the word from the time they awoke to the time they went to bed. Whether in a box on their foreheads (a phylactery) or on their left arms, or written on the door frames and gates, God’s Word was everywhere. The writer of Psalm 119 speaks both humbly and with conviction; even as he declares his commitment to obey the law, he also sees his own weakness and spiritual struggle to do just that.
In this section of Psalm 119, the psalmist talks in length about and with great love for God’s word. Twenty times he refers to the word of God and his hope in it, whether calling it God’s commands, precepts, promise, laws, statutes, decrees or word. Even as the writer recognizes that God created him with His hands, he sees that he cannot understand and obey God’s commands without God’s help (verse 73). These verses are a ping pong match between praising God’s greatness as author of the word, and declaring his commitment to obeying the law, even as the evil of the day seems to be flourishing. The psalmist sees that even as he is “afflicted” and “wronged” (verse 75 and 78), he will still turn to God’s word for strength and comfort. He longs for God’s decrees to make his heart blameless (verse 80) even as his soul ‘faints with longing for salvation’ and he pleads with God to punish those who persecute him (verse 86). Even in the hours of suffering and not being rescued by his deliverer, he commits himself to meditating on, almost bathing himself in God’s decrees.
This is a man who has put God’s word to the test and found it trustworthy. Therefore he begs God to save him. Why? ‘I am yours,’ he reminds God. May we have a faith as strong as his!
Dear Lord, help me to run to Your word when I am surrounded by conflict, and even when in times of peace. Help me to long for Your word as the psalmist does! Amen