Psalm 119: We Begin with Faith

The ancient Hebrew tradition says God spoke to Moses in fire and cloud on the mountaintop and wrote “the ten words” with the Divine Finger.

Torah. The Law. The Word of the Lord. The ordinances. The statutes. The precepts.

Psalm 119 celebrates the Law of the LORD.

Happy are those who walk in the law of the LORD. (Psalm 119:1)

The Way.

I run the way of your commandments,
for you enlarge my understanding. (Psalm 119:32)

There is one way that is God’s way that provides “a large space” in which to dwell and the “liberty” to journey to our true humanity.

This Way is “right” and “true” and “good.”

Other ancient traditions have held similar understandings. 600 years before Christ, the philosophy of The Tao developed in China.

This “tao” literally means “way” “path” “road.” There is a way within the cosmos, way of perfect balance; the natural order of things, the foundation of the universe. The Great Way.

Think of Torah, Law, Word within this framework.


Think of faith as trust in this Way and submission to this Law.

We begin with faith.

Psalm 119 is the longest psalm in the Hebrew Psalter. The length comes from its form: it is composed as an acrostic based on the Hebrew alphabet.

In the first stanza, each line begins with the letter “aleph.” Each line of the second stanza begins with the letter “bet.” And so on. (Get it? alpha-bet!)

The poets of Israel believed that in all of life – from “A” to “Z” – the Way of God is ordered and trustworthy. That creation is “good.” That light and darkness exist in perfect harmony.

The teachers of Israel taught that the whole of life is founded upon trust in the Law of the Lord. That every challenge of life can be overcome by faithful obedience to God’s Word. That true life, right life, good life comes not through the mindless obedience to rules, but rather through the grace and mercy of Yahweh who sustains all creation.

Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight. (Psalm 119:77)

We begin with faith in THIS God.


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Charlotte Vaughan Coyle

Charlotte Vaughan Coyle

Charlotte lives and blogs in Paris TX. She is ordained within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and a graduate of Brite Divinity School in Ft. Worth.

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