“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word” (Psalm 119:114).
Psalm 119 is the longest of the Psalms. It may well be the most artistic.
There are twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet. This psalm has twenty-two sections, each named for a succeeding letter. So, in your Bible, the first section of Psalm 119 is headed “aleph,” the second “beth,” the third “gimel” and so on to the end of the alphabet.
Each section has eight verses, and each one of those verses begins with a word corresponding to that section’s alphabet letter. Thus the first section has eight verses, each verse beginning with a word starting with an aleph (or “A”). The second eight verses each begin with a beth (or “B”). On it goes, changing letters every eight verses. If you don’t think that’s tough, try writing your own poem that way!
So why the artistry?
The more complicated the structure, the more valuable the subject. And so, the writer does it this way, giving the poem great length and complicated presentation to underscore the importance and value of his subject, the word of God.
But I want to focus on one little phrase: “according to your word.” It occurs five times in the poem and on all five occasions, the writer refers to something God has promised: hope in desperate times (vs. 25), strength in days of sorrow (vs. 28), knowledge and good judgment for day to day living (vs. 65), relief in times of suffering (vs. 107), and understanding in times of confusion (vs. 169). Interestingly, the author knows these are the promises of God because he has read them in God’s word.
Like the Psalmist, make God your refuge and shield in 2020 by trusting in his promises – promises you will find in a daily reading of God’s word. You can’t know about them if you don’t read about them.