Psalms – Prayers of Honesty and Praise
I remember a time growing up in church “youth group” when were expected to learn and memorize important chunks of God’s Word. Being the questioner that I was, and knowing that everyone else wanted to know but were afraid to ask, I brought up the need to painstakingly do this task to our Director, a very wise woman. Without missing a beat, she told me, “Memorizing God’s Word is like putting money in our banks. We build up a savings of knowledge that we will need later, maybe tomorrow. We pull it out when we need it most and apply it to the circumstances that come up in our lives.”
Then she drew a deep breath and continued, “You will be amazed, Susan, (yes, she said my name out loud and looked me right in the eyes with compassion). When you need His Word most, it will be there in the files of your mind.” She was diligent to teach us the meaning and how to apply it along with memorizing it. We earned points along the way for some sort of award, but what I remember most is the guidance from Marie, our leader, who planted the love of God and His Word in my heart as a teen.
The Psalmist reminds me of Marie’s passion as he writes our next portion of Psalm 119, “I hang on to these words for dear life!” It also reminds me of Mary, hanging on to every word, at the feet of Jesus. Read, hang onto every word…
Psalm 119, The Message
49-56 Remember what you said to me, your servant—
I hang on to these words for dear life!
These words hold me up in bad times;
yes, your promises rejuvenate me.
The insolent ridicule me without mercy,
but I don’t budge from your revelation.
I watch for your ancient landmark words,
and know I’m on the right track.
But when I see the wicked ignore your directions,
I’m beside myself with anger.
I set your instructions to music
and sing them as I walk this pilgrim way.
I meditate on your name all night, God,
treasuring your revelation, O God.
Still, I walk through a rain of derision
because I live by your Word and counsel.
FROM THE HEART…
God is to be worshiped. His Word is to be lived. We can only live His Word when we drink and eat from the Word that nourishes, comforts, guides, disciplines and cares for our souls. God is love. God’s Word teaches us about how He loves and how we can love Him back while loving others like He loves us.
When we humans strayed from the Word, the Word came down in the form of a Person, Jesus Christ, in the flesh, who moved into the neighborhood of humanity to bring us back to God. He also brought us back to what His Word said and explained what God intended for us to know, how to live and love without conditions. He reconciled us to God in his final act of obedience to God, His Father and ours. This supreme example of obedience and sacrifice for us is called Love.
We don’t deserve it, yet He gave His life for us. Oh, the reckless love of God, right? (Yes, I’m singing the song in my mind.)
How reckless is our love for God? I ponder that this morning.
How do I love God? What actions of love am I making?
What will change as a result of my pondering?
What am I hanging onto today, right now? My sin or His freedom?
Dear Heavenly Father,
I love you with all my heart, mind and soul. I love Your Word that speaks Your voice to us. I love how you work in our lives. I love watching You at work in my life and in the lives of those I love. I love how you teach us with grace and mercy, reminding us it is You who know all, is in all and controls all. I love your peace that overwhelms me when I draw on Your Word in confusing life stuff. Your Word reminds me of Who you are, who I am, and what you require of me. Your promises are true, loving and kind. And yes, I, too will sing Your Word for this is what I treasure. Help me to live by Your Word today and always. I’m listening. I’m hanging on to every word…like Mary at the feet of Jesus that day long ago. Here I am.
In Jesus Name, Amen
And I’m singing (an old youth chorus)…
Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet
And a Light unto my path….