Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 7, 2017
Instruct Me in God’s Laws?
When I read this brief comment on Psalm 119:12, I sat back and thought about it for a while. Let’s get the verse in front of us, so we can see what Bonhoeffer is talking about.
Blessed are You, O Lord;
Instruct me in Your statutes.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, “Does the ‘I,’ which is so noticeably repeated in these psalm verses, signify preoccupation with the self in self-criticism and self-justification?”  I do not know about that. What I recognize is that the Psalms are one of the most personal and emotional books in the Bible. I always appreciated the fact that the different psalm writers had no problem expressing deep (and sometimes troubling) emotions.
I have never thought of this specific idea before. Does the psalmist have some hyper-sensitive preoccupation with the self? (I mean, unhealthy preoccupation. I am not talking about a normal self-concept here.) That is a fascinating idea, and one that is new to me. I simply cannot answer that right now.
However, I can agree with the psalmist and with Bonhoeffer on his other striking insight. “In blessing God, we confess what we have received. In making our request of God, we confess our poverty.”  Oh, my. I know very well how poor I am. I need God’s instruction, God’s wisdom, and especially God’s help. What can I do, but pray?
Gracious God, source of all wisdom, thank You for these words. Thank You for this psalm. Continue to impress these verses on my heart and mind. Please, Lord, help me to follow Your statutes and laws. I thank and praise Your blessed name, Lord. All glory be to You. Amen.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000, 118.