Through the Bible in a Year – August 7

The Scheme for July and August can be found here

2 Ki 15-16; Acts 22; Psalm 119:65-80

The 119th Psalm is an acrostic. Each portion begins  with successive letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. Such poetry is written with a dual purpose, firstly of course it is written as prayer full dialogue with God, but secondly it is written in order to be memorised.

In several places the scriptures exhort us to commit them to heart – not that as so many treat memory verses nowadays, as a handy motto for a tough time, but rather that our hearts may be constantly feeding on the Goodness of God revealed in his word.

The early monks would commit the entire Psalter to heart – indeed it was demanded of new postulants, those who sought to enter into the way of Christ.

Jesus, when he criticised the Pharisees for their lack of mercy and justice used their tithing of herbs and spices as a contrast.  ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practised without neglecting the others.’

it strikes me, what might seem to our Romanitcally atuned hearts, to be the wearisome work of memorising Scripture might well find a parallel in the tithing of herbs – the small things which we should not neglect. Those who are faithful in small things will be given charge of great things. How can we know what is ‘Justice and mercy and faith’ if we have not imbibed deeply at the well of the Psalms?

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