Your hands have made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
Those who fear You will be glad when they see me,
Because I have hoped in Your word.
I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort,
According to Your word to Your servant.
Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live;
For Your law is my delight.
Let the proud be ashamed,
For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood;
But I will meditate on Your precepts.
Let those who fear You turn to me,
Those who know Your testimonies.
Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes,
That I may not be ashamed. Psalm 119:73-80 NKJV
The tenth letter (Jod in KJV and YUD in HNV and Yodh in the NIV) and the tenth stanza and for the tenth time–we see the writer vow to keep and obey God’s Word.
Even though the writer acknowledges God’s place in His life–“you made me” he still wavers with his own shortcomings and it sounds like he’s on a roller coaster of emotional turmoil.
He wants people to rejoice when they see him, but he doesn’t to be put to shame before those same people. And in this stanza, as well as with others, we see a bit of arrogance in the writer, even though he talks about what should happen to the arrogant. Hmm!
Is he better than everyone else because he promises to obey God’s Word and meditate on His precepts? Does he think he’s fooling God who knows at every turn what he’ll do? Do we have these same attitudes–thinking we’re better than everyone else because we know some of the Word? Are we expecting others to turn to us because we have demonstrated understanding of God’s Word instead of them turning to God?
What I see in this passage (and may have missed in others) is a person more concerned about being shamed in front of others than in obeying God. If he truly understood God–as his maker–wouldn’t he know that God is not fooled by the words of our lips, but knows our heart and what we’ll do before we do it?
This is not to say we should ever turn from God’s Word. I know that every time I read The Word–even if I’ve read something twenty times or more–God is yet revealing Himself clearly. And perhaps, just perhaps, the writer of this Psalm realizes that no matter how much he meditates on God’s Word, he has yet much to learn and so we see redundancies in his expression throughout this Psalm.
Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy when we think we “have arrived” at a level of understanding we really don’t have. What happens with us in that mindset is that we become arrogant in our thinking that no one–not even God–can tell us anything and it is in that mindset that we can be brought to shame. Hallelujah! “Getting wisdom is the foundation for learning and with all of our getting, we need to get understanding.”
Lord, help us to keep seeking You as we meditate on Your Word daily, open to new revelation every time we read it. Help us to not be so full of ourselves that we have no room for You in our lives. Encourage our hearts in doing what You would have us to do and to turn others to you, and not us. It is to You we give the glory, the honor, and the praise for You alone are worthy!