Psalm 119 מ Mem - Oh, how I love your law!
97) Oh, how I love your law!
It is my meditation all day long.
98) Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is always with me.
99) I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your decrees are my meditation.
100) I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
101) I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102) I do not turn away from your ordinances,
for you have taught me.
103) How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104) Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
Proper 24, Sunday between October 16 and October 22, Year C, verses 97-104
"Torah," in Hebrew means law, or instruction, direction or way, and also refers to the first five books of both the Hebrew and Christian Bible.
There is an annual Jewish holiday, Simchat Torah, which means "Rejoicing in Torah." It is customary to dance with the Torah scrolls. "Oh, how I love your law"!
What an amazing expression of love for the gift of God's Word. And particularly celebrating the way it is meant to be a guide for navigating this mortal life in accord with God's righteous design.
The psalmist believes he (it sounds like a "he"), has a deep understanding of God's torah, that he is closely connected to it, that he is making these words a living part of his life. Perhaps it is boastful, but it certainly speaks of the desire to be torah-directed and God-connected.
When your law, your way "is my meditation all day long," we hope that meditation is more than an intellectual or private act.
Love is more than an idea, more than an emotion. Love is also a verb, and God's love is always in action. The understanding so prized in these verses presumes that this love is put into practice.
We might use these words to reflect on what we are doing to cherish these words of wisdom, to walk with them and dance with them, to receive them into our very being.
"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth"!
Photographer unknown, Simchat Torah celebration. Used under (CC BY 2.0).
* New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV), copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.