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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Day 271: The law of the Lord

At last it comes! The longest Psalm in the book.
A call to praise God
Psalm 148
Hymns of praise
Psalms 149, 150
Tobiah expelled from the Temple
Nehemiah 13:4-9
Temple order restored
Nehemiah 12:44-47
Separation from foreigners
Nehemiah 13:1-3
The law of the Lord
Psalm 119: 1-8
Obedience to it
Psalm 119: 9-24
Determination to obey
Psalm 119: 25-32
A prayer for understanding
Psalm 119: 33-40
Trusting God’s law
Psalm 119: 41-56
Devotion to it
Psalm 119: 57-64
The value and justice of it
Psalm 119: 65-80

A Psalm fest today. Some wonderful, majestic, exuberant Psalms of praise - fitting to celebrate the renewal of Israel. “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.” (150:6)
Nehemiah is determined to see a flowering of worship like the times of David and Solomon, so he ensures that musicians are provided for. Psalms like these must have gladdened his heart.
The mighty Psalm 119 might have been more to Ezra’s taste - a prolonged eulogy to the law - every section beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. It’s a tour de force, as well as a prodigious exercise in saying the same things in as many different ways as possible. It could have been a one liner - “Oh God, your law is really really good.”  But it isn’t.

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