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Jesus Creed

The sixth word for Torah in this section of Psalm 119 is “decrees” (huqqim), words of binding force and permanence — inscribed forever now that they are written in the Torah. Commitment to such permanence brings the psalmist the sense that his own commitment brings the good pleasure of God.
If the statutes of v. 129 generate wonder and the words provide light (v. 130) and the commandments create longing (v. 131-132) and the promises create guidance (v. 133) and the precepts guidelines for behavior (v. 134), then the “decrees” (v. 135) provide God’s pleasure.
I like this line: “Make your face shine on your servant
and teach me your decrees” (v. 135).
God’s face shining on the servant of God is a Hebrew way of expressing God’s pleasure. When the Father says “this is my Son in whom I am well-pleased” at Jesus’ baptism, that is the face of God shining on Jesus. The face of God, so ably explored by LeRon Shults in The Faces of Forgiveness and now being blogged about, when it shines, is all about God’s good pleasure and delight in someone. Here the psalmist knows God’s delight in his obedience.
Furthermore, he simply asks God to shine his face on him by instructing him in “decrees” (huqqim). God, he says, grace me with your good pleasure by teaching me. I am listening.
The final verse of this section of Psalm 119 (v. 136) takes into uncharted water for this section: the psalmist, so committed as he is to God’s Torah, is grieved that others do not follow the Torah (the seventh and final word for Torah in this passage). Clearly a contrast with v. 135: God’s shiny face brings the psalmist intense pleasure while neglecting the delight of God in instruction grieves him. If you know this God, you sympathize with the psalmist.

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