Monday, August 06, 2007

Psalm 119:13

"I have recited aloud all the laws that you have given us."

I have an amazing ability to memorize song lyrics and movie lines. I could probably sing the entire score from the musical Les Miserables, I can recite every line from Wizard of Oz, and I can quote most of Napoleon Dynamite. Granted, I have some trouble with Shakespeare and Sondheim, but who doesn't?

What is the purpose of reciting aloud God's laws? What was the Psalmist trying to do? I think part of it goes back to the previous verses about committing God's word to memorization and then to action. There's also value in repeating the Scriptures back to yourself. There's value in giving audible voice to the Scriptures as an expression of praise to God. But is there more to this verse that I'm not seeing? The Message translation says, "I'll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth," implying that it is more than just recitation; it's embracing and embodying the laws of God and teaching them to others. It's not just hiding it in our hearts, but also making it heard through our mouths.

This also brings to mind some other verses:
  • Psalm 19:14, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."
  • Proverbs 16:23, " A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction."
  • Matthew 12:34, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."
  • Romans 10:8, "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming"


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