So, let’s have a further look at Bible Delight. As I said last week, the author divides Psalm 119 into twenty- two different sections. I don’t think I’ll be able to comment on all these sections, so I thought I’d just pick a few that stood out most to me. I’m sure as you read the book, other things will resonate with you also.
Ash starts the book with two sections that are designed to help us get our bearings as we read psalm 119. I found these really eye opening. One thing that I found especially helpful is the way Ash explains the use of what he calls “word” words. There are eight different words, used throughout psalm 119, to describe God’s Word. Over and again in the psalm we will see the psalmist talking about his love for “Instruction”, “Testimony”, “Precepts”, “Statutes”, “Commandments”, “Judgements”, “Word” and “Promise”.
I’d always read the psalm and found it really hard to relate to the way the psalmist talks about these words. When the psalmist “faints with longing” with laws and judgements, I honestly thought he sounded pretty strange. I couldn’t understand how the psalmist could use romantic words to describe things as hard and cold as laws and decrees.
So, when I read Bible Delight, I felt that I started to understand this psalm for the very first time! Ash explains that these eight words are all facets of one central idea. That central idea, that central jewel is the Covenant between God and His people. Ash says that although the word “Covenant” doesn’t actually appear in psalm 119, the Covenant is the wallpaper of the psalm- it lies behind every verse. So, as Covenant words they describe the very special relationship of promise, grace and love between God and His people.
What a revelation this was to me! Finally I could see why the psalm writer spoke so lovingly and with such passion about Laws and Statutes. The Covenant relationship between God and His people is one that is under-girded by grace. Ash writes persuasively and goes into detail, explaining from the Old Testament how these words can actually be viewed as grace words, instead of rule words. For me, it really unlocked the psalm and I felt I could finally start to relate to the psalmist. I started to see that the psalmist delighted in knowing God and walking with God in relationship. This was something that piqued my interest, something I would love to experience myself. This fresh understanding helped me keep reading and as I read, I started to see some really solid, practical outworkings of psalm 119…more to come later!