121 I have done what is righteous and just; do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Ensure your servant’s well-being; do not let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes fail, looking for your salvation, looking for your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees.
125 I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.
126 It is time for you to act, Lord; your law is being broken.
127 Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold,
128 and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.
Right >§§§> Left
Do not leave me to my oppressors; I have done what is righteous and just. Do not let the arrogant oppress me; ensure your servant’s well-being. Looking for your righteous promise my eyes fail, looking for your salvation. According to your love, teach me your decrees, deal with your servant. Give me discernment that I may understand your statutes; I am your servant. Your law is being broken; it is time for you to act, Lord. More than gold, more than pure gold, I love your commands and I hate every wrong path because I consider all your precepts right.
Praying is hard. Emotions are involved and sometimes they actually become a barrier to praying at all. Who wants to admit they think the key to God’s behavior might be getting the wording just right to assure Him of your trust at the same time you’re trying to keep any negative thoughts from Him? That’s the opposite of what the Psalmist’s prayers and this section of Psalm 119 show us. His no-holds-barred method of praying is right there for us to see. He’s learned something about true humility; God does not see the Psalmist’s words or emotions as good or bad. His prayers are his true heart given to God whether they’re words of harsh desperation or high praise. God has given the Psalmist the courage to reveal everything in his heart to the God whose “eye” is always on him anyway. ע Ayin is right there for us to “see” too.
At first glance the word “humble” wouldn’t be how I’d describe the prayers of this Psalmist king. He’s as straightforward with his bold demands of God as he is with his praise. He adds no timid phrases like “thy will be done” to soften what he asks. His prayers combine his own desperate physical and emotional needs along with his fervent praise of the God who continues to be his teacher. God has given the Psalmist the assurance of true humility that recognizes nothing he says can remove God from his heart OR remove his heart from God’s own.
That is the kind of prayer I want to learn.
Romans 15:5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
AND – a conjunction used to connect words of the same part of speech, clauses, or sentences that are to be taken jointly.
There are some people who can thrive and grow together debating their significant differences on various topics. I want to be one of them. I’d rather talk about the things that we agree on even though I may think something different. That’s not endurance or encouragement, that’s avoidance. Mind and voice are not exclusive, they’re connected by divine design. That’s how I happened to notice every “and” in these two verses of Romans. That one little word can make such a big difference in my “attitude of mind” if I pay attention to my need for it.
It’s become the basis of my simple prayer for today. “May the God who gives…” give me endurance AND encouragement; one mind AND one voice so we can grow AND thrive together to glorify the God AND father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
Hallowed: regarded as holy; venerated; sacred
1. Abba, your name itself is holy.
2. Your name is the prayer.
3. Your name is sacred in the life of your creation…my life.
I’m grateful you have chosen to be an eternal presence in the world you made. I’m thankful for your willingness to teach me my life is your blessing. Teach me to see holiness through your eyes not through rules of my own making.
It was just a few years ago that I first heard of Lectio Divina (Latin for “Divine Reading”). It’s not a theological analysis of biblical passages but choosing to read and ponder your personal relationship with God through his Living Word.
Genesis 2:15 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
God took a risk when He gave Adam the possibility of choosing not to obey rather than physically preventing him from eating. Think about the trust involved in giving that freedom to Adam…and to us! That’s prime Divine Reading [and pondering].
For God to be willing to risk letting his creation make a wrong choice seems like the ultimate submission on his part. The omnipotent God staking His reputation on “our” choices because “He first loved…” is pretty amazing when you think of it. He did have a plan but sometimes I just wish he’d done it the other way.
Lord, give me this day the courage to make you proud.