Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
We should notice that last Sunday many churches probably observed Reformation Day, using different readings than those I have commented on. This coming Sunday many will observe All Saints, again using different readings. I have chosen to use the three year lectionary readings typical to the week, since Reformation Day is Wednesday and All Saints is Thursday.
We recently had a post based on Psalm 119:9-16. There you can see a brief summary of the overall organization of that Psalm. This week’s reading is from the first stanza, in which each line begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Notice also a fairly clear example of the parallelism which we normally find in Hebrew poetry. In general, the second half of each verse will restate or amplify the first half.
What of the content? As with the rest of Psalm 119 there is a strong emphasis on the blessing of God’s Word. But unlike some of the other parts of the Psalm, there’s an air of repentance and lament. God’s instruction makes us have a blameless way. It brings happiness and blessing! Those who seek God with all their heart are blessed indeed. What of verses 5 and 6? “God, Your Word is great! Sure wish I could keep it like those other people.”
This sentiment shows up clearly in the liturgies of confession and absolution found in much of Christianity. We gather and confess that we are sinful by nature and that we actually live out that nature in what we do, what we neglect, in thoughts, in words, and in actions that are bad in the sight of our neighbors and in God’s sight. If only we were really committed, we wouldn’t be ashamed before the Lord and His Word.
Notice what happens between verses 6 and 7? Six ends with shame. Seven begins with uprightness. It is God’s forgiveness at work between the Pslamist’s repentance and praise. Likewise, the Lord forgives us our sins. We fall short of the perfect delight in the Lord and His Word which He commands. Yet He is the Lord who forgives and restores those who turn to him. How blessed are those who walk according to the Lord’s instruction.
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