Well, I confess, officially we are supposed to move on to the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet, but I’m doing a second verse in Gimel, because it is so good that I can’t stand the thought of skipping over it. I hope you love this verse too.
Ps 119:20 My soul is crushed with longing after Your ordinances at all times.
Lord, forgive us our sins, because of Your glory and grace and patience, that You might be exalted on the earth. Make this verse a touchstone for us, and use it to change our lives. Thank You Lord!!!
This is such an awesome verse. Where do you even start? This is the cry of someone who is extremely passionate about the word of God. It is not a verse to consider as a scholar, but as a romance, a lover.
There is such a disconnect here, isn’t there? How can you so passionately love something as utterly boring as an ORDINANCE? We have all these words in this Psalm, like precept, ordinance, statute, law, testimony, commandment. These are words of huge dry books filled with boring things drafted by legislators and rarely consulted. No one in their right mind is passionate about such things. They are the very icon of boredom.
These words in english, in our culture, are clearly not conveying the real sense that the Hebrew words had for the Psalmist. We must toss aside our normal ideas about what the word “ordinance” means. Think instead, that it means a small piece of secret information about the majesty and splendor and riches of God Almighty. So, we haven’t really studied this yet, but we bring unconsidered cultural notions to the table that keep us from understanding.
In the parlance of God, a word creates the universe. In the parlance of God, Jesus Christ is the Word. The word is living and active. Words are incredibly substantive to God. Even an ‘ordinance’ is a treasure. A careless word is a big deal. No word of God is ever careless. The dryness of this to us is part of the fall. Shake your feelings about this being boring and dry and dusty off; take on the spirit of this verse. Every little word, every nuance of meaning, is a world of treasure. LONG for it!
My SOUL is crushed. This is the Hebrew word ‘nephesh’, meaning soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion. It indicates the seat of the appetites, the seat of emotions and passions. So it is not just his will, his sense of obligation, his sense of moral correctness, to which the ordinance of God appeals. It appeals to his base appetites, his instincts. In a sense, he lusts for the word. He is impatient with impediments. He’s had his mom’s great meatloaf and he wants MORE. He is a kid at Christmas time, and these ordinances are Christmas presents. He REALLY wants them. It isn’t some fakey holy thing. His SOUL wants them.