The Joy of Every Heart

Psalm 119:105-112

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to observe your righteous ordinances.
107 I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O LORD, according to your word.
108 Accept my offerings of praise, O LORD,
and teach me your ordinances.
109 I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.
111 Your decrees are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.”  NRSV

When one reads Psalm 119 it is tempting to think that the Psalmist is bargaining with God for deliverance from his enemies. “God, I did my part and obeyed your laws, now do your part and save me from my enemies.”

Drawing that conclusion would do a great injustice to the depth of faith of the Psalmist. Rather, the Psalmist here has lived his life devoted to and in love with God and God’s ways. His faith and obedience are what define his life and give it purpose and meaning. The Psalmist expects God to be true to Godself, true to the image of God that the Psalmist’s life of faith and obedience developed for him. That’s why he can say, “Your decrees are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.” Loving God, loving self, and loving neighbor as we love ourselves, should be the joy of every heart.

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