Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday!
This week I am going to continue my series on Psalm 119.
For those who may not know, Psalm 119 is broken down into 22 stanzas and each stanza begins with one letter from the Hebrew Alphabet. Each stanza is broken up into 8 verses for a total of 176 verses. It is the longest Psalm in the Psaltry. And, Psalm 119 is an example of an acrostic, which is a poem where the first letter of each verse spells out a word, message, or follows the alphabet. In this case, Psalm 119 follows the Hebrew Alphabet.
My goal with this series is not lofty. I am not an expert on Psalm 119. I just love its symmetry and message, and I want to share that with you over the next 22 weeks. Perhaps I will be able to share some insight, some interesting tidbits and facts, or just some thoughts on how the verses strike me. My true goal is that this series is an extra encouragement to you, and helps you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. I hope you enjoy and are blessed!
Psalm 119: 105-112
Nun (the letter N; sounds like noon)
Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
I have solemnly sworn to keep Your righteous judgments.
I am severely afflicted; Lord, give me life according to Your Word.
Lord, please accept my freewill offerings of praise, and teach me Your judgments.
My life is constantly in danger, yet I do not forget Your instruction.
The wicked have set a trap for me, but I have not wandered from Your precepts.
I have Your decrees as a heritage forever; indeed, they are the joy of my heart.
I am resolved to obey Your statutes to the very end.
Psalm 119 is all about hearing and doing the Scriptures.
I’m going to be honest. I’m exhausted. I’ve been working hours and hours and hours prepping for my virtual classes that begin on Monday. This year, I am teaching two AP Lit and Comp classes, three English 9 Honors classes, and one AVID 11 class. I have to do everything online and the powers-that-be keep changing things on me. I’m nervous. I want to be in my classroom. I want to be with my students. But I have no say in the matter.
Here’s another bit of honesty. I want to give up. Not because prepping and lesson planning is exhausting (it totally is, but that’s not why I want to quit). Not because my Admin and DO keep changing things on me in a knee-jerk fashion. And, not because I’m nervous about being a virtual teacher. But because of all the meanness and vileness and stupidity surrounding me.
Teachers have become enemy number 1. Visit Twitter or Facebook and I’m positive you will find people screaming about how evil teachers are. According to the mean masses, we’re lazy, we’re incompetent, we’re covert Commies trying to brainwash children, and we’re just about collecting paychecks and taking all the breaks we can get. Everyone has been screaming that if teachers aren’t in a classroom they don’t deserve to get paid.
Here’s a little secret — TEACHERS and TEACHER UNIONS are NOT the same thing. I have not been asked once how I want to teach in this pandemic chaos. I’ve been commanded. I am not a Commie. I am not trying to indoctrinate anyone to believe anything other than reading well is absolutely necessary. I want the best for your children. I want them to learn how to read and write and think critically so they don’t get taken advantage of in their futures. I do my job because it’s the occupation God brought me to and our kids matter!
What does any of this have to do with this stanza in Psalm 119?
What struck me in this section is the psalmist’s feelings. Phrases like severely afflicted, constantly in danger, and the wicked have set a trap for me stood out in a big way. I can feel his desire to give into the temptation to give up. What’s surrounding him feels BIG and UGLY and OUT OF CONTROL, and who wouldn’t want to run away from all that negativity? But the psalmist doesn’t want to give in to this “give-up” temptation. Instead, he reminds himself over and over again that God’s Word is the lamp that lights his path and provides him with what he needs to overcome all the nastiness that’s striving to bring him down. At the end of this stanza, the psalmist is buoyed back up and he has resolved to resist the temptation to give up. Instead, he is going to continue to remain true to God to the very end.
This stanza reminds me of Hebrews 12:1-2: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
You see, it’s really all a matter of perspective. Who are we looking to? Are we looking at all the ugliness and evilness and negativity around us, or are we looking to Jesus and His Word? One way leads to defeat and darkness, the other leads to finishing the race strong and seeing Jesus in Heaven.
I’m exhausted and disheartened by all the world is throwing at me, but I refuse to give up! Like the psalmist, I, too, resolve to obey God to the very end. I hope you do, too!
NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN!
WHAT BIBLICAL VERSE IS ENCOURAGING YOU TODAY?
Check out more Thursday Encouragement from my fellow blogger friends:
Trisha @ Joy of Reading
Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home
Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective
Becca @ The Becca Files
Gina @ Stories by Gina
Rebecca @ Rev. Rebecca Writes
Andi @ Radiant Light
Leslie @ Words of Hope
Claudia @ Claudia Moser
Keneesha @ Women Loving God’s Way