I have lately been drawn to Psalm 119. I was under the impression that it was recited in its entirety during Yom Kippur. After a lot of internet searching, I discovered that it is recited at funerals and on the anniversary of a loved one’s death. I had some difficulty with that concept for a while. Then I realized that this Psalm is full of thoughts, ideas and promises for those who have experienced a loss.
I have experienced loss in different ways. I lost my job and I am still looking for a job. I lost my way to help provide for my family. I lost my grandparents and I miss being able to share with them my children and my life. I lost friends when our paths parted.
These losses may not seem important to others but they are losses I have to work through. Through losing my job I lost my self-esteem and my self-worth. I am not always sure that I have something to offer others or businesses. This loss in my life requires going through the steps of grieving again. I have to grieve over the loss of a job. I have to grieve over the loss of my self-esteem and my self-worth. I have to separate my feelings of inadequacy with what I am actually worth.
I was reading in a devotional about my worth. I deserve to receive what I am worth. Money is not my goal and I am not in love with money. But money is a commodity that is needed to provide for my family and to give to others for their needs. I strive to see that I deserve to receive what I am worth. I also need to be objective about what I deserve.
Being objective doesn’t mean that I lower my expectations. In my case, I need to raise my expected salary requirements. I need to project that I feel my work is worth receiving and the way to do that is to see what the going rate for a particular job is and use that. God has said that a worker is worthy of his pay.
So what are my expectations of God? God is here working within me to make me want to do his will. He gives me the desires to follow him. He gives me the strength to follow him. He gives me the wisdom and knowledge I need to follow his path.
I expect God to help me through the days of grieving. I expect God to help me through days when the process is slow and my progress seems stalled. God pointed me to Psalm 119 as a way to keep moving and give me strength. He showed me how to use his word in prayer.
This psalm tells us of God’s word using different words to express different meanings or characteristics: law, commandments, precepts, testimonies, judgments, word, statutes, ways and name. God’s word is my way to show God how I feel and for God to show me how he wants to bless me. As I study his word and use it in my prayers he builds me up inside so that I can face my world. He gives me wisdom.
James 3:17 Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced.
Psalm 119 is written in 22 sections of 8 verses each. It uses the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The reason for this was thought to make it easier to memorize and recite. Each of the 8 verses begins with the same Hebrew character.
Below I listed each Hebrew character, the original picture symbolism and the phrase or phrases that spoke to me out each section. My hope is this will inspire you to spend time with this psalm and the rest of God’s word each day.
May God bless you and your time with him.
Aleph: learn; Stay on course, walk steady on the road.
Beth: house; Train me in your ways of wise-living.
Gimel: soul; Open my eyes to your miracle-wonders
Daleth: door; Get me on my feet again.
He: window; Guide me – affirm your promises.
Waw: hook; Let your love, God, shape my life.
Zayin: weapon; Your promises rejuvenate me.
Cheth: fence, surround; Train me to live by your counsel.
Teth: serpent, curve; You are good and the source of good.
Yodh: hand/bent; Breathe your wisdom over me, love me and hold me tight.
Kaph: wing/hollow of his hand; I am longing for your salvation.
Lamdedh: correction, learning; What you say stays as permanent as the heavens.
Mem: waves/water; Your word gives me an edge on my enemies, I am smarter than my teachers and wiser than the elders.
Nun: fish/snake; Put me together again with your word.
Samekh: support/prop; You are my place of quiet retreat.
Ayin: eye; Let your love dictate how you deal with me.
Pe: mouth; Let ordinary people see the meaning of your word.
Tsadhe: fish hook, tool for cutting down; You are right and you do right God.
Qoph: axe, back of the head; In your love, God, listen to me.
Resh: head; Out of your life of love, prolong my life.
Sin: tooth; My awe at your words keeps me stable, my life is an open book before you, God.
Taw: sign, mark, branded cross; Put your hand out and steady me.