Several years ago, my pastor challenged the congregation to hand write the book of the Bible he was preaching from. He said it was a different experience in the Word and that it would cause us to be able to slow down and reflect on God's Word. I have always loved writing and can remember when I would take a book and just sit and start writing the book out by hand (I know, weird and a little nerdy). So, I decided to take up the challenge Pastor Ritch had given. Several years later, this is still something I do often. At the beginning of the year, we were starting Colossians in Bible study, so before we started, I wrote it out. I was able to pick up on repetitious words that I had never noticed before.
Recently, when I've had some extra time in my studying for the two Bible studies I am involved in, I have begun to write out Psalm 119. It is 176 verses long, so I'm just doing 8-12 verses at a time. While I enjoy writing out Scripture, I have also learned that if I tackle too much at a time, I stop focusing and just write without thinking. I'm also writing out from a different version than I normally read because it is even fresher that way. Did you know that all 176 verses of Psalm 119 speak specifically about God's word (well, except for a few, I think)? I already knew that and have loved the chapter because of it, but did you know that many of the verses speak about not being put to shame when we know His Word?
Did you know that many of the verses speak about affliction? I did not know these things. And the affliction has really caught my attention. Listen to this verse, "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word...It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes." (v. 67, 71) I was so struck by this verse because I realized that it was affliction that must have caused the writer to turn to God's Word. Before he faced affliction, when life was great and everything was going as planned, the writer went astray. But once he faced affliction, then he learned to keep God's Word. And this one: "My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word." (v. 28) This is a good one for me, because I am so prone to emotion overload. But when I focus on my emotion, my soul melts away. When I focus on the truth of God's Word, I am strengthened. V. 92 says, "If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction."
And this doesn't even begin to talk about all the strong words there are to describe God's Word in our lives. walk in the law...seek with whole heart...having my eyes fixed on all your commandments...guarding it according to your word...stored up your word in my heart...I delight...fix my eyes on your ways...delight in your statutes...will not forget...consumed with longing for your rules...my counselors...give me life...strengthen me...I cling to your testimonies...I will run in the way of your commandments...I will keep it to the end...I long for your precepts...I trust in your word...sought your precepts...I find my delight in your commandments, which I love...comfort in my affliction...your promise gives life...your statutes have been my songs...this blessing...I promise to keep your word...I turn my feet to your testimonies...I hasten and do not delay...I do not forget...teach me your statutes! And these are just from the first 64 verses!
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