Some Powerful Verbs
by Brenda Kuseski
The Psalms teach us how to offer God everything that’s in us—our joy, praise, fears, grief, and hopes. Psalm 119 is a 176-verse poem that celebrates the value of God’s revelation of Himself through His word. In Hebrew, each of the twenty-two stanzas focuses on a letter in the Hebrew alphabet (“from A to Z” if in English). In short, all the letters, all the possible combinations, all the words, all the thoughts that can be expressed in any language cannot exhaust the wonders of God’s revelation of Himself. One commentator has observed that the unknown writer of this Psalm ‘had a theme that filled his soul, a theme as big as life, that ranged the length and breadth and height and depth of a person’s walk with God. Nothing less than the use of the full power of language would suffice, and the alphabet was a most apt symbol.”
As I was reading the two stanzas contained in verses 33-40 and 41-48, I was struck by the powerful verbs that call upon God to work, and then offer the response of the devoted believer:
God’s actions: In vv. 33-40, the psalmist invites Jehovah to do His mighty works in his life:
33. Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees, and I shall keep them to the end.
34. Give me understanding, and I will keep your laws and obey it with all my heart.
35. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
36. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
37. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.
38. Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared.
39. Take away the disgrace I dread, for your judgments are good.
40. How I long for your precepts; revive me in Your righteousness.
This week, pray these same requests; they’re offered to you from God’s willing heart.
Our actions: The verbs in the next stanza (vv. 41-48) lay out our proper response:
41. Let your mercies come also to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise;
42. Then I will answer the one who reproaches me, for I trust in your word.
43. Do not take the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.
44. I will always obey your law for ever and ever.
45. I will walk in freedom, for I seek your precepts.
46. I will speak of your statutes before kings, and will not be ashamed.
47. For I delight in your commands because I love them.
48. I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.
This week, ask the Holy Spirit to help you respond to God in these same ways, to fill you with the living, powerful Word.