He: Psalm 119:33-40

HeThe He passage has at least two noteworthy characteristics. The first is that here we have a list of virtually every term that the psalmist uses for God’s word:

Your statutes
Your law
Your commandments
Your testimonies
Your way
Your word
Your judgments
Your precepts
Your righteousness

Nine terms in eight verses, each term occurring only once (with the exception of the word “way,” which appears in two different forms–“the way of Your statutes” in verse 33, and “Your way” in verse 37).

The passage’s second noteworthy aspect is its consistent repetition of the imperative mood–again, nine times in eight verses. We can learn a lot of things about prayer from Psalm 119, not the least of which is to dare to make direct requests: Teach me, give me, revive me. Our God delights in giving his children good things, so we need not be shy about asking for them.

Some of the requests here are curious ones. “Incline my heart to Your testimonies,” for example. It seems to me that it should be the responsibility of the psalmist to incline his own heart in a given direction. (Compare verse 112: “I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end.”) The same could be said about the requests of verses 35 and 37; we all have the choice of walking in God’s paths or not, of focusing on worthless things or not. I think the effort of the psalmist to live faithfully is a given in these verses, though; by phrasing his requests in this way, he is acknowledging here as he does throughout the psalm (e.g., vs. 10) that even his best resolutions can only bear fruit with God’s continued work of grace in his life.

Memorization notes

The page layout reflects the fact that the first three verses and the last verse of this section use the word “me” within the psalmist’s requests (Teach me, Give me, Make me, Revive me); the other four use “my” or “Your” (Incline my heart, etc.–with the exception being the occurrence of “Revive me” in the last half of vs. 37.)

Image: scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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