Psalm 119:9-16; Beth and keeping a way pure

This stanza begins with a question.  How can someone keep their way pure?  The answers that follow further illustrate the interaction between our volitional decision and God’s infusion of us with a source of truth to inform and empower that decision.  To keep, seek, not wander from, and treasure God’s word and commandments is the practical way to pursue the answer to the question.  Let’s break this down some more.  Look closer at verse 9.  The question again is “how can a person keep their way pure?”  The immediate answer to that question (transliterated from Hebrew to English) is “lishmoor kedvareka”.  How can one keep their way pure?  By “lishmoor kedvareka (ing)”.  The word “lishmoor” ( לִשְׁמֹר)    is the kal infinitive form of shamar, here translated “keeping” and used also in psalm 119:4,5,9,57,60 and 106.  The idea seems to be one of holding close and doing that which is proclaimed by God.  The word further modifying lishmoor, namely kedvareka (כִּדְבָרֶךָ) is from the root word davar and translated here as “your word” (davar with the second person ending and caph preposition beginning).  The use of “word” here, in psalm 119:16,17,25,28,42,43,49,57,65,74,81,89,101,105,107,130,139,147,160,161,169, the broader Old Testament and ultimately the New Testament has huge theological implications.  We know “the word” as both written scripture and the second person of the Godhead (John 1:1).  Thus the word we are to lishmoor can be understood as both written scriptural proclamation and the inner work of Christ in our lives.  To keep (lishmoor) our ways according to Your (God’s) word (kedvareka) is then understood both as obedience to proclamation and holding close Christ and His Spirit within us.  Lord help us to apply this in our day to day lives…

 

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