National Geographic recently had an article on the recovered artifacts found at Ground Zero. As the article mentioned, “every object tells a story…the objects tell of love, faith, lifestyles that came to a tragic end in 2001.”
As I perused the list and saw the pictures of the items found, I was drawn to the picture of some Bible pages that had been fused to a piece of metal. Some of the print was red, so I can assume that the section recovered came from the Gospels. But who did those pages belong to? Who had a Bible with them at their place of work? Who valued God’s Word so highly that His book was a part of their every day life?
Thinking about the owner of those Bible pages got me to thinking about Psalm 119. This hymn is the longest section in the Hebrew Psalter, and it is totally focused on God’s Word. There are 22 sections that all commence with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This eight verse structure probably helped the Jewish people memorize its words and apply its teaching to every day life.
Throughout the psalm, the psalmist used eight different words for God’s law. He called it the Torah (the Law), the Word, the statutes, the commands, the decrees, the precepts, the promise and the laws.
You might think that such a lengthy psalm focused on one topic would become repetitious. But in truth, the writer has an amazing way of rephrasing and elucidating the concepts so that every verse presents a fresh way to consider the word of God. Most commentators believe that David wrote this seminal song and that he did so over time. One writer called it a “royal diary” reflecting the many experiences of David’s life. And it seems to reflect personal growth. “The earlier verses are of such character as to lend themselves to the hypothesis that the author was a young man, while many of the later passages could only have suggested themselves to age and wisdom.” (Charles Spurgeon)
I think we would all do well to read and study this incredible psalm this week. A fresh perspective on the importance of God’s Word permeating our regular life might help us all. It would answer some important questions like: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word’ (vs. 9). It would focus our thoughts. “Your word O Lord is eternal. It stands firm in the heavens (vs. 89). It would help us with perspective. “It was good for me to be afflicted, so that I might learn your decrees (vs. 31).
Bottom line, if a horrible tragedy turned our worlds upside down this week, would those coming after us find evidence that God’s Word was precious to us? Would portions of His word be found in our writings? Could others find copies of our Bibles placed in strategic locations throughout our homes, offices, cars and gym lockers?
Let us all declare with David, “I long for your salvation, O Lord and your law is my delight. Let me live that I may praise you and may your laws sustain me” (vs. 174-175)!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel