Psalm 119: ה He(a)

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33 Teach me, Lord, the meaning of your laws,
    and I will obey them at all times.
34 Explain your law to me, and I will obey it;
    I will keep it with all my heart.
35 Keep me obedient to your commandments,
    because in them I find happiness.
36 Give me the desire to obey your laws
    rather than to get rich.   [Good News Translation]


I’m tired (exhausted actually) right now and am not feeling highly meditative.  I missed posting yesterday because of mulch delivery and an evening performance at a local high school.  I woke with a massive headache this morning and am just now (11:30pm) getting around to my daily Lenten practice.  So my knee jerk reaction to the first half of the 5th stanza was a resounding, “HA!”

Right now, I want to dismiss the psalmist as falling back into his pretentious belief that he can convince God how good he is at being a good Jew.  (Just tell me what to do God and I’ll do it.)  It sounds to me so much like the self-righteous Christians that seem to dominate the media (and politics) right now.  “Hey God (and everyone else), I’m one of the good ones!”

But as I write this and reread the 4 verses, I find that I cannot wonder if he is attempting to fool others or himself.  I find that I cannot wonder if this is not about fooling anyone or if it is simply an honest naivety and idealism of someone who has just discovered a new reality (a God that cares enough about his people to actually give them an “owners manual to life”).  The fourth verse is kinda the clincher—this is not the request made by a hypocrite.

And, as I close out today’s reflections, I find myself asking myself how often I have dismissed idealistic (naive?) enthusiasm too quickly out of my own jaded skepticism.

What do you think?