“Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all day long.” (Psalms 119:97)
Once in a while – once in a long while – I do not agree with the psalmist. That does not make me a “bad” person, or any less faithful. Does not make you that way either, beloved reader, if you do not agree with the psalmist. It is not the first verse that I disagree with, but the verses that follow.
“Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is always with me.” (Verse 98)
It is not so much that I disbelieve the words, but that I do not like the attitude. It is the “I am superior to every one because I have God’s word in my hip pocket” thinking that I dislike.
“I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your decrees are my meditation.” (Verse 99)
If you know me at all, beloved reader, I do not situation myself as knowing more or being any better than anyone else. Having God’s words with me and studying it, does not make me any more knowledgeable except to realized how much I do NOT know!
“I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.
I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.” (Verses 100 – 101)
I am not sure I even could wish that I could have the unshakable confidence that the psalmist has.
“I do not turn away from your ordinances, for you have taught me.” (Verse 102)
I do love the “word of God” and I do try to follow it in all things and in all ways. But I will be the first to admit my fallibility. However . . . .
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Verse 103)
But, with the next verse I am back at being uncomfortable with the surety of it.
Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.” (Verse 104)
Psalm 119 continues after these verses cited, and the psalmist may very well develop some humility, which would take down the note of self-confidence a bit. And I have to admit, at one time or another some portions of humanity tend to pat itself on the back for being so “faithful” to the Lord. And if I were honest, there may be times I would have to confess to that sort of hubris.
Confess . . . that brings to mind this year’s theme of confession, penance, and forgiveness. However, this does not seem to be one of those passages that has much humbling confession and not much offer of penance, but maybe a sliver of asking for forgiveness . . . for failing a smidgen to hold to such perfection of faith! Therefore I must conclude, beloved reader, in this passage the psalmist does not speak for me. At least, not at this moment in my life. Shalom!