Similarities: Psalm 119:97-104

Psalms 119:97-104

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day…

If you are hanging in there, we are past the half-way mark now. I don’t know about you, but I am finding that sometimes all the “precepts” and “rules” and “commandments” and “statutes” are getting mixed up in my mind. It’s OK — keep pressing on and we will all get it sorted eventually.  The main thing is to meditate on adoration of the Word and by doing so, draw closer to the Lord who gave it to us.

As I think about all the synonyms that frequently trip me up in my memory work, I am reminded that similarity does not always equal monotony. When I was young (and not a disciple of Jesus), my criteria for what I considered  beautiful was narrow. I only saw beauty in a very few human faces. Now that I am older, I see some marks of beauty in all faces; some faint shadow of their Maker’s image, perhaps. In fact, the human face fascinates me.

Aside from tremendous deformity-causing birth defects, all faces are remarkably similar, sharing roughly the same shape and features. Still, within this relative uniformity, there is an astonishing amount of variety.  Granted some arrangements are more appealing than others, but when one takes the time to really look, there is plenty to enjoy.

Old, young, black, brown, white, well-fleshed or rail-thin, freckled, dimpled, or creased — there are so many individuals, so many stories represented, so many trials and joys engraved in each line and stamped in each furrow, and all of them packaged in the same basic format. There is so much beauty and tragedy in the lives of individuals represented on their faces that my heart swells just to think of it.

I see Psalm 119 like this, too. There are many of the same words used, many of the same concepts expressed, some in roughly the same phrases.  In English, some stanzas flow very naturally while in others I am very aware that not all elements of poetry survive translation.

Still, there is a beauty to the psalmist’s outpouring of love for the written word of God.  Each similarity we encounter is not sameness, but a different facet of the same elegant gem.  In each stanza, no matter how clunky it may initially sound, there is a glimmer of something wonderful — the pure and simple adoration of the Creator by one of His children.

O Lord, teach us to truly love Your law! As we continue to memorize and meditate on this psalm, help us to move beyond loving only those portions that are encouraging and bright to loving the parts that cause us to squirm under conviction and bring the sting of contrition.  

May it be that our meditation on Your law brings us the wisdom we need to live as “children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” (Philippians 2:15)

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