Reflections on Psalm 119 (ב Beth)

strugglePsalm 119:9-16

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

“I seek you with all of my heart. Do not let me stray from your commands!” (v. 10) The psalmist recognizes his inability to carry out in his body the purity he desires in his spirit. Several years later, Jesus would tell his disciples, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41) The language the psalmist uses here ― “Do not let me” ― conveys his confidence that he is permitted to shift his burden onto God when he is overwhelmed. He does not have to carry the burden of obedience alone, and neither do we.

Surrender begins with a heart attitude and a declaration of intent. Our part is to align our minds ― and our speech ― with God’s Word. “I will meditate on your precepts” (v. 15). “I find delight in your statutes” (v. 16). “With my lips I proclaim all the regulations you have revealed.” (v. 13). These are things we can do at all times even when our flesh fails us.

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About Douglas Abbott

I am a freelance writer by trade, philosopher and comedian by accident of birth. I am an assiduous observer of humanity and endlessly fascinated with people, the common elements that make us human, what motivates people and the fingerprint of God in all of us. I enjoy exploring the universe in my search for meaning, beauty and friendship. My writing is an extension of all these things and something I did for fun long before I ever got paid. My hope is that the reader will find in this portfolio a pleasing and inspiring literary hodgepodge. Good reading!
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