Bible Study. PSALM 119 (118) My God, I love your commandments.
1. TYPE OF PSALM: Praise of the Law of God
This psalm is the longest in the Psalter. It is an alphabetical Psalm, that is, each stanza begins with one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It is a song of praise to God's law and its precepts. In each of the verses reference is made to the Law of God with different names: law, word, testimony, judgment, sentence, decree, precept, order. And they are an invitation for us to observe and fulfill them.
2. READ THE WORD.
Psalm 119 (118)
I have said, O LORD, that my part is to keep your words. The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Let your kindness comfort me according to your promise to your servants. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.
For I love your command more than gold, however fine. For in all your precepts I go forward; every false way I hate.
Wonderful are your decrees; therefore I observe them. The revelation of your words sheds light, giving understanding to the simple.
What does the text say?
Since it is a very long Psalm, the liturgy only takes a few stanzas. Which we comment below. The Psalmist raises a praise of the Law of God, which he adopts as a lamp for his steps on the path of life (cf. v.10)
vv. 57.72 - In these verses the responsibility of the believer is mentioned. God has blessed us with the gift of his commandments. What should we do? Observe and obey those precepts. May we consider them something of incalculable value, more than all material wealth.
vv.76-77 - In these lines the psalmist makes a request, asks for consolation from the love and tenderness of God. He trusts his promise and that trust motivates him to keep his commandments.
vv.127-128 - Through the Law divine mercy is revealed, even when it corrects and punishes. The psalmist was thrilled before the excellences of the Law, which reflects the divine will towards men. For this reason, he is the constant object of his meditation and he tries to totally shape his life.
vv.129-130 - The fulfillment of the Law gives an intimate satisfaction to the virtuous soul: it gives science, prudence, wisdom to conduct itself in life, and, at the same time, it seeks consolation, intimate joy and calm conscience. "I swear and I will keep it: I will keep your righteous commandments ... I do not forget your will (...). I did not deviate from your decrees » (Ps 118: 106. 109. 110). The peace of conscience is the strength of the believer.
3. MEDITATE ON THE WORD. Does this reading say anything special to you?
Many times we have seen in the commandments only a series of prohibitions, as if they were against our freedom. But this psalm tells us that, on the contrary, the law of
God is our guide, it is comfort, it is the way, it is the source of happiness and peace.
In the dark the walker is lighted with a lamp, and in the path of life we have the word of God (v. 105). Human life also goes through periods of danger, the will of God is that we never feel alone (v. 109).
4. PRAY WITH THE WORD. What do you say to God?
Be your Word, Lord, lamp for our steps and light on our path; Although the wicked tie us, keep our lamp burning and feed the flame of our Christian faith, so that our world can be illuminated with the clarity that comes from Christ, with the wisdom that comes from fulfilling your commandments.
5. CONTEMPLATE THE WORD. How does your look change?
Fulfilling God's law does not mean that we submit, that we lose our freedom; on the contrary, it is our response to the love of God who has given us everything and wants us to walk in life with firm and sure steps, without falling into traps, dangers, deceits. Indeed, the psalm begins with these words: "Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart" (vv.1-2).