The intense, even obsessive, structure of this psalm would seem to lead one down a narrow path and into a cul de sac. Stepping through the alpha-bet it goes. Aleph-beth-gimel (the ABC’s of Hebrew) leads us along the way with guideposts that tell us how far we’ve gone and how far yet there is to go… no chance to stray. Like the instruction sets themselves, they encompass all one needs to get a glimpse of His glorious Heavenly presence. Why is it that our initial feelings of constraint morph into gathering freedom as we read and consume and inhabit the words going forth? Where’s the vise that we thought might enclose us? Instead, we’re trusting in and embodying this ordered space the more we flee into it.
By the time we’ve reached MEM in verse 97, we’re in love with this torah, with meditating upon it, for it keeps us from falling, even from stepping off the path. Even my speech is tasty to my lips and tongue, my mind and my heart. Obedience for his word builds up within me and seems to direct my behavior, my relationships, my humility before him. Wisdom has drifted in as a by-product and hatred has slid away.
Let us pray: Oh Lord, how lovely and loving are your instructions, your commandments and directions for all of life, the insights that you provide as a gateway to your will. Give us endurance, power, and imagination to go forward, walking journeys we never dreamed of to places that were beyond our understandings. How gracious to be led in your ways. Grant us peace and hope in your name. Amen.