Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
You’ve probably noticed that the psalmist uses several words to describe God’s law. The writer of Psalm 119 uses “law,” “ways,” “decrees,” “precepts,” “statutes,” “commands,” and “word” to refer to the same thing. At first glance, the legal associations of these terms might make God’s Word seem like a heavy set of do’s and don’ts weighing on all our actions.
But that’s not how the psalmist views God’s Word. In this prayer for deeper understanding of God’s precepts, the psalmist connects God’s Word with God’s “wonderful deeds.” Specifically, the psalmist may be thinking of God’s “mighty hand and . . . outstretched arm” in freeing Israel from slavery in Egypt and bringing them into the promised land (Deuteronomy 26:8-9). Generally, the psalmist is referring to all of God’s mighty deeds on behalf of his people throughout history.
It’s obvious that in meditating on God’s Word the psalmist isn’t taking on a heavy yoke of shoulds and should nots. Rather, God’s Word crowds his mind with memories of God’s faithfulness to his people and to the psalmist personally.
That’s what God’s Word does for us too. It teaches us about God’s deep love for us and his power to save us. Such knowledge allows God’s Word to work in our hearts to increase our love for him and to nourish our desire to serve him in gratitude.
Lord, help us to choose the way of faithfulness, and set our hearts on your Word. Amen.
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