Reflections on Psalm 119 (פ Pe)

landscapePsalm 119: 129-136

129 Your rules are marvelous.
Therefore I observe them.
130 Your instructions are a doorway through which light shines.
They give insight to the untrained.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commands. 
132 Turn toward me and extend mercy to me,
as you typically do to your loyal followers.
133 Direct my steps by your word!
Do not let any sin dominate me!
134 Deliver me from oppressive men,
so that I can keep your precepts.
135 Smile on your servant!
Teach me your statutes!
136 Tears stream down from my eyes,
because people do not keep your law.

“Your rules are marvelous. Therefore I observe them.” (v. 129, 130a) This declaration speaks to the changed mind and heart of the disciple, which is a process. For many people, the moment of surrender to Christ is like fleeing a burning building. They know they must abandon their own way, but they may not yet glimpse the beauty and goodness of what they are running into, which is God’s much better plan for their lives.

A central principle of true discipleship is the idea of replacement. It isn’t enough to simply stop doing wrong things. We must replace them with right things. Giving up our vices (idols) is a necessary start, but it leaves a hole that must be filled with something ― or some idol or another will fill it. The hole, as has often been observed, is a God-shaped one.

Scripture contains far more positive commands than negative ones. If we weight them accordingly, it would seem God is much more concerned with our doing the right things than our stopping the wrong things. Of course, we must do both, but the real power is in the transfer of focus (and our affections) from the world and the flesh to Christ. We ought to say along with Him, “My food…is to do the will of him who sent me.” (John 4:34)


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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