a love psalm
"Hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live." —Deuteronomy 4:1
As he lay dying, Pope John Paul II asked that Psalm 119 be read aloud as a prayer in his presence. Psalm 119 is by far the longest psalm, and expresses a heartfelt love of and gratitude for God's word. Though the Pope had surely read Psalm 119 numerous times, he so loved the word of God that he wanted to hear it again on his deathbed. Each of the 176 verses in this psalm mentions God's word by using synonyms such as law, statutes, commands, words, ordinances, promises, decrees, or precepts. There are twenty-two Hebrew letters, and for each letter eight verses professing love for God's word are written. Thus a total of 176 verses comprise Psalm 119. This tactic is a memory device, so one generation could more easily memorize the long psalm and teach the next generation of Israelites to love God's word (Dt 4:9).
Witness a young couple newly in love. They spend hours finding new ways to express their love for each other, and they never tire of repeating their sentiments. Psalm 119 is like this. If you don't love God's word, the length of Psalm 119 will seem like ridiculous overkill. If you love God's word, reading and praying Psalm 119 will serve to increase your love for the Scriptures.
Pope John Paul II focused on God's word on his deathbed. Jesus focused on the Word of God in His last days on earth, and even quoted several Scriptures in His final hours (Ps 22:2; 31:6). May you also spend your living and dying moments in love with the Word of God.
Prayer: Lord, "I will delight in Your commands, which I love" (Ps 119:47). "Your statutes are the theme of my song" (Ps 119:54).
Promise: "Whoever fulfills and teaches these commands shall be great in the kingdom of God." —Mt 5:19
Praise: Tim uses the references to Bible verses as his computer passwords to help him memorize Scripture passages.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009
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