Is the God of the Old Testament…?
Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes,
and I will observe it to the end (Psalm 119:33 ESV).
The psalmist prays that God teaches him about God’s laws. The psalmist doesn’t ask just to be taught the statutes, but the way of the statutes. The psalmist is speaking of a path, a journey, a pilgrimage of obedience. Where does the way go? It moves the pilgrim closer to God.
Psalm 119:33 is the first verse in the He (pronounced “hey”) section of the psalm (119:33-40), where each verse begins with the letter He. The Hebrew word translated as “teach” here, yarah literally means “throw” or “shoot”. So, you may ask, why does a word that begins with a Yod (the Hebrew “y”) start the He section? Great question. The verb yarah appears here in the hiphil stem which, as may have guessed, begins with the letter He, thus it fits perfectly here in the He section. In the hiphil stem,yarah can mean “teach.”
So, the psalmist makes a deal. If YHWH to teaches him the way of his laws, he will observe them until the end. To the end of what? The end of the road, which for the psalmist will be the end of his life. What a great goal–to be faithful until the end of life.
The psalmist likes talking about the “way”. It appears 13 times in Psalm 119, often in clumps, three times in the Aleph section (119:1, 3, 5), five times in the Dalet section (119:26, 27, 29, 30, 32) and three times here in the He section (119:33, 35, 37).
The psalmist finishes what he starts. I’m hoping to finish what I started in blogging about Psalm 119. I should be done in about 3 years.
God, teach us how to follow in the way of your laws. We want to keep them until the end of our lives.