Bible Readings and Devotion for April 21, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for April 21, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. There is are 176 verses in this psalm of praise for God and his Word. When I did read this psalm aloud once many years ago it took me over 15 minutes.
There are a couple of interesting things about this psalm. One is the format, and the other is the constant and recurring theme.
First let’s look at the format. This psalm is formatted as an acrostic poem. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an “acrostic” is a poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words.” In the case of Psalm 119, the acrostic is not a word, but an alphabet in proper order. It is the Hebrew alphabet, which is logical as the Old Testament is written in Hebrew.
The format is a set of eight verses grouped for each letter of the alphabet. These are in normal Hebrew alphabet succession. Each of the eight verse sections begins every verse with the Hebrew letter in succession. It would be like in English, verses 1-8 each begin with “A,” verses 9-16 begin with “B,” etc. The photo below shows the first eight verses of psalm 119. The Hebrew text reads from right to left, rather than our left to right. The Hebrew letter “Aleph” looks a bit like an “X.” You will see it beginning each verse on the far right of the image. This acrostic does not show up in the translation.
The second thing of note about this psalm is that every verse makes mention of God’s Word or Law in some way. As you read the psalm look for either of these words or any synonym of these in every verse.
The message of the psalm is that God’s Word or Law guides our lives. For me, the centerpiece of the psalm is verse 105, which reads: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Many have memorized this verse in the King James Version, which reads, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
This verse is one which I go back to over and over again. I also recite it to my toddler son every night at bedtime. I paraphrase it as, “God Word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.” It is a sort of prayer for me, and for my family, that we be guided by the precious and lifegiving Word of God in our lives.
For all who read this psalm and this verse, use it as an prayer for your own faith and life. As St. Paul prays for us in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.”
There is a beautiful song based on Psalm 119:105. It is written by Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, and sung by Amy Grant. It is called, “Thy Word.” This video shown in the link below presents the song with lyrics on the screen. Enjoy.
You may need to skip or watch ads at the beginning to see the video on YouTube.
Gracious and holy God, give us diligence to seek you, wisdom to perceive you, and patience to wait for you. Grant us, O God, a mind to meditate on you; eyes to behold you; ears to listen for your word; a heart to love you; and a life to proclaim you; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.