Psalm 119:33-40 (NRSV)
Verse 33Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I will observe it to the end.
Verse 34Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
Verse 35Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
Verse 36Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain.
Verse 37Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways.
Verse 38Confirm to your servant your promise, which is for those who fear you.
Verse 39Turn away the disgrace that I dread, for your ordinances are good.
Verse 40See, I have longed for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life.
My greatest passion in high school was being a part of our speech team, competing against other schools every weekend. I was so committed that I practiced after school and every night in front of the mirror in my bedroom. I knew my speeches forward and backwards so that they were ingrained in my memory and body. One year, I woke up with laryngitis on the morning of an important competition. Throughout the day, I couldn’t speak. But when it came time to perform that night, I got up in front of the room and my voice suddenly came to life. The words and emotions were so much a part of me that they overcame trial and illness! The psalmist is committed to following God’s ways and asks God to teach, give understanding, lead, and direct so that God’s decrees and precepts will lead to life, even when faced with temptation and trial.
Teacher God, may we commit so deeply to your ways and to your precepts that they will live in our minds and in our hearts, helping us to overcome any trial and tribulation. Fill us with understanding, and in your righteousness give us life. Amen.