Monday, December 09, 2013

Life Lessons in Poetry

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bile. It has more verses than 14 Old Testament books and more verses than 17 New Testament books. It is a 176 verse prayer celebrating living by God’s word.

Psalm 119 is an acrostic, a feature we miss in our English translations. The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters, so Psalm 119 has 22 stanzas, one for each letter. Additionally, each verse in each stanza begins with that letter. For example, all the verses in the A (Aleph) stanza begin with A.

Here is one of the stanzas (He). It’s a great prayer for the week, by the way!

Psalm 119:33-48 (The Message)

God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!

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