This afternoon on my bus ride home from work, I decided not to listen to music as I usually would. I’d had a pretty intense final lesson of the day and wasn’t feeling too great. I decided to read a bit of Bible. I ended up in Psalm 119. As some will know, Psalm 119 is pretty long, 176 verses in fact, making it the longest chapter of the Good Book. So rather than read it through, I thought it would be a good idea to listen to it instead. Bible app opened, headphones plugged in, the truth started pouring into my mind and into my frustrations and stresses. I don’t normally listen to the Word, audibly, preferring to read the words instead, however, today showed me that I need to make more of a habit of hearing truth this way.
The Psalm is composed by an unknown author, but appears to voice the prayers and requests of a number of different people. One thing that nearly every verse has in common though is its undoubted desire for more understanding of the Word of God in order that it would impact the individual’s life. So many of the verses just stood out to me and grabbed my attention like never before. I did a little study on the passage once I got home and came across the commentary in the ESV Study Bible. It introduces the Psalm by saying that it ‘celebrates the gift of God’s Torah, or covenant instruction, as the perfect guide for life…’ I could definitely see how this was the case for me, on a bus, centuries later. So many of the verses begun to stir a change of heart amidst my ‘end of a long Monday’ silent complaints.
A particular verse, which stood out for me was verse 27. The boldness of the writer struck me. The command, ‘make me understand’ rung true for me but yet is something I often don’t ask of God myself. Maybe I’m alone in that, but maybe not. How often do we say to God “show me what’s going on here please, I need to know!” Even rarer for me, though, is the reason he asks for this understanding… not so that he will feel better about the situation, not even that it’ll be resolved, but actually that he’ll be able to further meditate on God’s goodness.
How often do life’s stresses bring us to a point of asking God, ‘why’? Would we prefer to grumble and complain and inflict our sorrow on our nearest and dearest? How often are we under extreme pressure, but would rather further understand God’s truth amongst it all as opposed to just a quick fix and immediate relief?
Psalm 119 really spoke to me this afternoon. I will be meditating on it a little more over the coming days.