Reading: Psalm 119
May my cry come before you, LORD;
give me understanding according to your word.
May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, LORD,
and your law gives me delight.
Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands (NIV).*
This is the final reading from Psalm 119. Today’s reading features Taw, the final letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Day by day we have been making our way through this acrostic poem—reading as it were from A to Z in the Hebrew language. All of it is written in praise of God’s word and His promises. It is difficult to fully appreciate the structural beauty of this lengthy poem, when it is translated into English.
This line from today’s reading is typical of the psalmist’s praise for the word of God: May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.
At times the psalmist appears to be proud, even boastful of his obedience to God’s word, but here at the conclusion of this magnificent poem, he takes on a more humble stance. I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.
There is something very human about this prayer—about this ending. We are very prone to stray. The prophet Isaiah reflects on this human characteristic. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).
Jesus is our carrier—our iniquity carrier. He carried our sins to the cross where he suffered and died, so that his blood could cover those sins—my sins—your sins. But our sin carrier is also our Good Shepherd, who goes out to find those who are lost. He is the answer to the psalmist’s prayer. This is the purpose for his coming. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
Response: Father God, I confess I am prone to stray. Help me to stay to the straight and narrow way that leads to life. I thank you, Jesus, for seeking me and saving me by your shed blood. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you a wandering sheep? Have you been found by the Good Shepherd? How is he guiding your life?