Summer Daily Devotional - Psalm 119:1-48
What You Mutter Matters
This entire week, our morning devotions will focus on one Psalm: Psalm 119. It is the longest chapter in the Bible and is found right in the center of our English Bible. How fitting it is that its central theme is solely on the meditation of God’s Word.
So as Summer comes to a close and we fill our minds with all that this Fall will bring, let’s fill our minds first with God’s Word.
Let me give you some helpful tips on how to get the most out of this Psalm. As with the rest of the Psalms, there is a clear structure and organizational pattern to 119 that centers around a single focus, which is the blessing that comes from meditating, delighting, keeping, focusing, rejoicing, and clinging to God’s Word.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Psalm 1 began that way: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…but his delight is in the law of the LORD.”
Psalm 119 seems to be an expansion of Psalm 1, because the author picks up the same themes of “blessed” and “meditate” that began in the first chapter and expands upon these.
The Psalmist uses several words to describe the same thing regarding God’s “law.” He uses: “commandments,” “precepts,” “laws,” “statutes,” “decrees,” “works,” “rules,” “testimonies,” “ways,” and “words.”
It’s important to know that when the author says “I meditate on your laws and decrees,” he’s not meaning we should meditate on Leviticus but more so on the storyline found in the first 5 books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
What is the storyline so far? That humanity is determined to abandon and reject God and, God is determined to bless His people and His world.
It could be easy to get lost in the “meditation” of the news, and to “meditate” just how far humanity has rejected their creator. But instead, what if we determined to meditate on how God has a plan and is determined to bring about His will here on earth, as it is in Heaven?
The Hebrew word for meditate (mentioned 8 times in 119) means to “mutter” or “murmur.” To murmur means to whisper in a low or barely audible voice. Think about that. How many times do you and I “murmur” about our frustrations or “murmur” about what’s happening in the world or “murmur” about our fears or “murmur” about the madness of our culture’s direction? At that point, what we’re functionally doing is meditating in enemy territory.
What the Psalmist is asking us to do us to “murmur” or “whisper quietly” or “talk under one’s breath” about the promises of God that are ours in Christ Jesus. He’s asking us to “mutter” to ourselves the promise that God’s will will be done, despite what we feel or see. How different do you think your day would turn out? How different would your perspective be about your future, about your job, about your kids, about your marriage, about our nation?
Let’s not close our eyes, worry, and call it prayer. Let’s mutter things that matter. Let’s mutter that God has a plan. Let’s mutter that He won’t fail us. Let’s mutter that He won’t leave us. Let’s mutter that the gates of hell won’t withstand the Church’s advance. Let’s mutter that this is God’s world and He’s actively taking it back, especially during the times it doesn’t look like it.
Watch your perspective change. Watch your marriage change. Watch your relationships change. Watch your worldview change when you mutter things that matter.
Muttering and murmuring with you,
Psalm 119 is one gigantic acrostic poem which means each stanza begins with the corresponding letter and then walks through the alphabet. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and each stanza is divided into 8 verses, which means there are 176 verses total. Within each stanza, each verse starts with the same letter (so each verse in the first stanza begins with the first Hebrew letter, Aleph. The second stanza of the 8 verses all begin with the second letter of the Hebrew Bible, Beth) and so on. What does it mean? God’s word is perfect and orderly.