Yod (Part 9)
Ps 119.73 Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
75 I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
78 Let the insolent be put to shame,
because they have wronged me with falsehood;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
that they may know your testimonies.
80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
that I may not be put to shame!
Anyone who wants to please loving parents will understand what the psalmist is praying about in these verses. It’s a meditation on where he came from and where he belongs. He’s remembering in prayer that God is creator and sustainer.
The prayer starts with the psalmist’s beginning in v. 73, “Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.” God made all things, but he didn’t make them all with the same purpose or value. When God created mankind, he paused, he slowed down, he took counsel (Gen 1:26). Only then did he create mankind in his image to reflect his glory and show God to the rest of creation. The psalmist is praying about what he is. He’s remembering in God’s presence, as he is speaking with God his father, that God made him to be godly and reflect God’s glory. So, the only way that he can be what he’s supposed to be is if the Lord gives him understanding so that he can learn (and obey) his commandments. He knows he has a loving father, he wants to look like him and please him.
Verse 74 naturally follows –– if he pleases God, he’ll also encourage the believers around him. Have you ever attended a social event where nothing bad happened, but at the same time you knew you didn’t fit in? Somehow, you knew they weren’t your people? On the other hand, have you ever simply felt solidarity with people from the start? I had an experience like this earlier this week. I attended a worship service for a reformed seminary and we sang “O God Beyond All Praising.” There were several hundred people––mostly men––singing together. It was awesome. That is part of what the psalmist is describing: “Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word” (v. 74). When people who admire godliness see one another’s piety––in words, but especially in actions––they rejoice.
Why though? Why is it such a joyful thing to see someone else honoring the very same God you worship? For many reasons! Two of them are that it is right and that it is beautiful.
If verse 73 is true and God made and fashioned us, then it is only right for us to be what he made us to be. Abundant life and blessing come through keeping God’s commandments. Misery comes from disobeying (just remember what happened in Eden). But, what is right is also beautiful. If only we believed that more! A lie our culture tells us over and over is that something can be wrong but still beautiful (that’s the plot of at least a few romantic comedies). But, that isn’t true. Beauty is in the eye of THE beholder. That’s not every person who watches, but the only one who truly matters. God created beauty and he determines what it is. Those who fear him, will agree and rejoice and worship when they see it.
The psalmist is meditating on being a part of God’s family. He wants to please his father, trust his father, be protected by his father, and fully enjoy the family and purpose he’s been given.
Dear Christian, is that your goal today? Will you make it your prayer to live what is right and beautiful today and make these prayers your own?