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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

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Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem, meaning each line begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. So you might say the psalmist walks us through the ABCs--or rather, the aleph-bet-gimels--of God's law.

We cannot but request some help when studying God's law. And we need to request it again and again. So teach me, the psalmist asks. Give me understanding, lead me, turn me toward you, remind me of your promises. When the psalmist speaks of her "heart," the Hebrew word implies her whole inner being. As we join the psalmist in this prayer, we ask God to orient our inner being--indeed our whole selves--toward the holy will of God: love, justice and praise. In this is true, abundant life (v. 40). Indeed here is a lovely image for "heart" on this Valentine's Day: a whole being turned toward God, outwardly seeping with love and praise.

Turn me, O God, toward you. Give me a heart and a whole self, filled with your love, that I may love my neighbor as you love me. Amen.

Christine Hallenbeck Ask, '15
Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Psalm 119:33-40 (NRSV)

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I will observe it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
36 Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise, which is for those who fear you.
39 Turn away the disgrace that I dread, for your ordinances are good.
40 See, I have longed for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.