Reading: Psalm 119: 1-8
When we were little we learned our ABCs. It was the first step in learning how to read. Without knowing our letters, we could not decode words that were new to us as we learned to read. Throughout life, much of what we learn, we read. The ability to read and understand and learn is essential to doing well in life. This skill is also important in our faith. In our journey of faith, much of our growth comes in quiet moments reading and meditating on the Bible or a devotional or some other book relating to our faith.
Psalm 119 is written using the ABCs. It is an acrostic. Each line of the first stanza begins with aleph,the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each line of the second stanza begins with beth, the second letter. This pattern continues throughout the longest chapter in the Bible. Unfortunately, we lose this unique feature in the translation. Yet the idea and thought behind it remain a great tool to learn God’s Word. The author was writing in an acrostic format to help the original readers remember better. In this Psalm, the focus was on God’s ways or on the Law. The pattern employed would help the readers to recall the Law, a very important part of life for all Jews.
At youth events where we have groups together for the first time, we often play the name game. It is played in a circle and we go around and around saying “John jackalope” and “Lisa lizard” and so on until we all know each other’s names. This is the concept in the Psalm. Learning is so often a pattern or something that captures your attention so you can retain it better.
Verse two reads, “Blessed are they who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their hearts”. I fully believe this is true. But to keep God’s statutes and to seek Him fully, we must first know God. To know God, we turn to the words we find in the Bible. We begin by knowing the words of scripture. There are many ways to come to know the words. For some, it is writing out a verse to come back to over and over; for others it is reading the same few verses for a few days in a row, taking time to really consider their meaning. One way does not fit everyone. We each need to find our ‘best’ way to learn God’s ways and then use that ‘tool’ daily to grow in our understanding of God and to deepen our faith. May we each take time daily to be in the Word and to learn His ways, so that we may be blessed as we follow God’s ways.