Psalm 119 Nun – Fish, Longevity
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.
108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.
Right >§§§> Left
The light on my path for my feet is the lamp of your word. I will follow your righteous laws. I have taken an oath and confirmed that. Preserve my life, Lord, is according to your word. I have suffered much. Teach me your laws and accept the willing praise of my mouth. I will not forget your law though I constantly take my life in my hands. I have not strayed from your precepts but the wicked have set a snare for me. The joy of my heart and my heritage forever are your statutes. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.
For some time now I’ve been separating the Scripture from my own writing using a typographical sign of the fish [ >§§§> ] so the meaning of “Nun” didn’t seem unusual. It’s a familiar image many Christians use to associate themselves with Jesus. The surprise was to find it hidden here in Psalm 119.
The fish symbol was a common pagan symbol long before it was chosen as an identifying mark for Christians. Early believers in Jesus Christ chose the
“fish” because it was a sign that would attract less attention than, say the sign of the cross might, because people were familiar with seeing it. It became a way to safely identify themselves to one another. The story is told that when strangers met, the Christian could draw a simple arc in the sand with his toe and wait for the other to respond. If the other was a Christian, he would respond by drawing the lower arc to form the outline of a fish.
The “fish” is the surprise set-up for these devotional thoughts. Did God reveal
נ Nun to the Psalmist king as a mark of a greater KING, yet to come, or was it just a poetic accident? Was that secret little Hebrew heading written as a familiar signal for generations in the future to respond to, and reveal their own identity?
This Psalmist king knew the law of God. He knew it made the path he wanted to follow visible to him. He knew seeing that path was one thing, but deciding to walk it demanded a way to identify truth and people he could trust. He knew the writings of the prophets. He knew life was his training ground with a divine purpose; intimacy with God. I think he knew the significance of נ Nun – Fish was longevity, that his identity with God would last into our future too.
The Psalmist king has become known throughout history as a “man after God’s own heart.” He knew his own identity was as sketchy and unreliable as any other human being except for his awareness that God’s truth [aka, the law] had saved and changed him. The Psalmist knew he could trust God to be just and fair even when his own behavior and words were not. Long before Jesus fulfilled the law, the Psalmist identified himself completely with the fullness of God revealed in His law, it’s precepts and statutes. The value that has been ascribed to his heart was that he gave the fullness of it to God without reservation; the very best parts as well as well as the very worst parts. That was the identification mark the Psalmist king made face to face with God trusting it would be recognized and God’s response would be to complete His identity with him. >§§§>