Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 5.19.21

By May 19, 2021Daily Bread

Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.

Today’s Scripture:

Psalm 119:129-136
Common English Bible

129 Your laws are wonderful!
That’s why I guard them.
130 Access to your words[a] gives light,
giving simple folk understanding.
131 I open my mouth up wide, panting,
because I long for your commandments.
132 Come back to me and have mercy on me;
that’s only right for those who love your name.
133 Keep my steps steady by your word;
don’t let any sin rule me.
134 Redeem me from the people who oppress me
so I can keep your precepts.
135 Shine your face on your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
136 Rivers of tears stream from my eyes
because your Instruction isn’t being kept.

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

Psalm 119 has 176 verses making it the longest psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible.

Psalm 119 is one of several acrostic poems found in the Bible. Its 176 verses are divided into 22 stanzas, one for each of the 22 characters that make up the Hebrew alphabet. In the Hebrew text, each of the eight verses of each stanza begins with the same Hebrew letter. You will probably notice in your translation that each of the 22 sections of 8 verses is subheaded with the name of a letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and most printed editions show the Hebrew letters also.

In most of the verses of this psalm, the writer uses a synonym for Torah, the first five books of the Bible—words like law, word, precepts, ordinances, decrees, and commandment. The psalm is an extended prayer with an elaborate structure. The psalmist is both praising and committing to the teachings found in the Torah.

I think we have a kind of love/hate relationship with the concept of “law” or “ordinances” or “commandments.” We understand their importance, and we certainly want everyone (else?) to behave, yet, there is something within us that doesn’t want anyone telling us what to do or how we ought to be. In the Christian tradition, we have the apostle Paul’s words against the law as a means of self-justification and the reliance on God’s grace. We have the notion of salvation by grace through faith—not by adherence to a set of laws. Such ideas can lead us to view the law in the Hebrew scriptures negatively. But not the psalmist! In the 103rd verse of this psalm, the psalmist declares, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (vs. 103)

I invite you to think about the commandments and teachings in the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament today. What would life be like if those weren’t part of our understanding of how we should treat one another? Your answer depends on how you have been treated by those wielding a Bible. If you have been the recipient of the love and grace of God inspired by the pages of the Bible, then you would imagine a world with more hatred and less forgiveness. If you have been the victim of self-righteous, condemning zeal, then you may imagine that the world would be a better place without those commandments and teaching.

I remember a standup routine by the Reverend Grady Nutt, a Baptist Pastor, and comedian. He said that a true evangelist would have a big floppy Bible with long ribbon markers that he can crack like a whip. He claimed to have seen one such evangelist take a man’s ear off on the front row. He was poking fun at the self-righteous, condemning zeal that is contrary to the nature of God that we see in Jesus.

Every year we give Bibles to the third graders in the church. Part of the presentation service is a pledge that the children and the congregation say. It goes like this:

This is the Bible – the book of God’s love. It is full of amazing stories of faith, amazing people of faith, and amazing deeds of faith.

The Bible may have been written long ago, but it has great meaning in my life today!

Its words can inspire me, comfort me, teach me, and challenge me to be my best self – a true servant of God.

The Bible is not a weapon. I will not throw it at anyone. I will not use its words to hurt others just so I can feel better about myself.

This is the Bible – the book of God’s love.

There is a lot of theology woven into hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “Lead Me, Lord”. I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul.

Lead me Lord
Lead me by the hand
And help me face the rising sun
Comfort me through all the pain
That life may bring
There’s no other hope
That I can lean upon
Lead me Lord
Lead me all my life

Walk by me
Walk by me across the lonely roads that I may face
Take my arms and let your hand
Show me the way
Show the way to live inside your heart
All my days
All my life

You are my light
You’re the lamp upon my feet
All the time, my Lord
I need you there
You are my light
I can not live alone
Let me stay by Your guiding love
All through my life
Lead me Lord

Lead me Lord
Even though at times I’d rather go along my way
Help me take the right direction
Take your road
Lead me Lord
And never leave my side
All my days
All my life

You are my light
You’re the lamp upon my feet
All the time, my Lord
I need you there
You are my light
I can not live alone
Let me stay by Your guiding love
All through my life

You are my light
You’re the lamp upon my feet
All the time, my Lord
I need you there
You are my light
I can not live alone
Let me stay by Your guiding love
All through my life
All through my days
So, lead me, oh Lord
Lead me

I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!

Grace and Peace,


Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

Here’s more about this passage of scripture via Upper Room devotionals:

TREASURED WORDS

Today and every day, I will treasure God’s word.

read more

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