Symmetry and Sanctuary

The longest of the Psalms is also the longest chapter in the Bible.  Psalm 119 stands as the Everest of the entire collection.  Its author is uncertain, but David or Ezra or Daniel are reasonable possibilities.  More than 20 of the 176 verses suggest that it was written under great duress.  The overarching concept though is that the Word of God dominated his entire life, from before dawn to midnight and “seven times a day.”

The Psalm is one of seven acrostic psalms and is composed of 22 stanzas corresponding to the Hebrew alphabet.  Each stanza is eight verses long with each of those verses starting with the same Hebrew letter.  Depending on the translation of Scripture that is used, there are 7-9 synonyms describing the Word of God.  Several stanzas contain all of them, and all contain at least six.  It reminds one of a kaleidoscope of patterns changing with every rotation.  These synonyms include law, statutes, testimonies, precepts, etc.  We will look at them in the next post along with the recurring themes in the psalm.

Remaining aware of the diversity of meaning through the similarity of words in this passage can require focus.  These ideas may help as you read and meditate on this masterpiece.  When you find a synonym for the Bible, circle it.  Underline those actions that you commit to take as a Christ follower.  And put a parenthesis around any prayer or request that you present to God.  You might also consider reading these stanzas aloud.