Psalms and Loving the Word
I sat in our small guest quarters room, my pretty pink prayer room. I had watered the plants while listening to a praise song and lighting a lovely candle. I had just structured a prayer using my hand-held prayer labyrinth, a leftover from a craft my friend and I made in a garden while on our prayer retreat last spring. I have been learning to reflect more, and to experience life with all my senses, and to take deliberate time to rest in this room without my watch or my phone.
Over the last month, I had really grown to love the psalms. For the first time, I read them out of order, but instead based on author, based on type of subject material, and with accompanying contemporary music if I could find something I liked online. I dutifully checked each psalm off my list after reading it, so I knew I had gotten through them all. But I circled the ones I loved, my favorite prayers and praises and laments. I didn’t realize before that the psalms were the ancient praise book for the Jewish and Christian faith. I never thought of them as song or prayer before. I had even picked out one of my favorites to memorize. Having gotten 23 under my belt in the spring, I was aiming for 139 now, but it was slow going, and at the end of the month I was only about six verses in.
I had to admit I didn’t read all 150 psalms in the last month. I had saved the longest, number 119 for last. I wanted to take a full day to absorb it, to see if the newfound love I had gained for the scripture in general this year could help me get through David’s perfusion of love for the law. Over the weekend, I had tried to scroll through it on my phone while waiting at a café, but I didn’t get very far. Today, I opened up an old NKJV Bible gifted to us by a mentor who left five years ago. This one had a commentary I’d never read before -a single page listing the seven words for the law that David uses in Psalm 119. I never realized before the difference between commandments, statutes, law, and all those other words. Or that all seven were used in the first few verses of 119 and almost every section after. I read about their different meanings and re-read the psalm with that in mind. Or at least the first four sections. Maybe it was going to take me all month to get through this single psalm, but I was finally starting to understand why David loved it so much.
I had never known that it took 80 English words to capture the profound meaning used for God’s “word” throughout scripture. I would have to think more on that, to ask Greg more about it. My quiet time was almost over and I was barely 20 verses in. But I think that was okay, what better place to tread slowly than a chapter where the man after God’s own heart gushes about what he loves about the way God communicates? I might not read through many books this month. I might have to revisit my goal of pondering a chapter of Proverbs each day. But I had a feeling I would enjoy this chapter of Psalms like never before.