As one ages, our memories become even more precious. Older people often talk about “The Good Old Days” unwilling, or forgetful that many of those times weren’t all that good. We have a tendency to forget the bad times and remember only the times of plenty. Once our bodies begin breaking down, we find ourselves with so much time on our hands that we tend to dismiss things we would rather forget and ‘recast’ memories in gold and silver rather than the iron or coal we may have felt during those times of trials.
A few years ago, I began to learn the art of calligraphy. I’m not all that good at it, but I enjoy it. One of the very real tasks one must learn in shaping letters is to concentrate on the strokes while writing. If your mind wanders, you would be surprised at the results! Because you have to train your brain differently, you need pay attention to every curve and the width of every stroke when forming a letter.
It is very easy to become distracted and leave out letters in words, or even entire words in sentences as your mind races forward in what it ‘knows’ rather than slowing down for what you are trying to tell it.
The Christian life can be like that…especially when it comes to memorizing Scripture.
Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm of all. There are 22 eight-verse sections, each begining with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The same letter begins the primary verse within each section (which shows how much thought went into creating this passage!)
Psalm 119:153-160-Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law. Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statues. Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord: quicken me according to thy judgments. Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. I beheld the transgressiors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word. Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O Lord, according to thy loving kindness. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever.
There is a rhythm to this Psalm that indicates that the creator established it not just as a prayer/praise of meditation, but as a simple form that could be memorized by God’s people.
Deliver me, for I forget not the law. Plead for me, for I see that in thy word. The wicked seek not to follow your laws. Your mercies are great for one who falls while walking in Your word. My enemies attempt to stop my growth in You, but I keep to Your path. I see those who follow You not, and am sorrowful for them. Your laws and guidance uphold me and I am blessed by Your kindness. Your word is true and Your judgments are righteous.
Same type of sentiment but NOT as easily memorized, is it?
When I think how those living in Old Testament times often had no access to the Scriptures OTHER than memorization, it reminds me how I fail to give credence to the work they did out of their love for God. It also shows me the WORK that went into creating the Scripture…from recordings of deeds handed down to generations, to the careful creation of the prayers and songs, to those who copied everything over, and over, and over, without the benefit of printing presses!
This is a beautiful passage that contains power and truth in poetic form. I have decided to try to memorize it…a task that does not come easily. As I learn more when I write passages, I will try to incorporate it into calligraphy in hopes of imprinting it more easily into my aging brain.
Whatever passages impact your life, take time to SLOW DOWN and memorize them. That way they will spring to your memory later in life or whenever you need them.
Scriptures that are memorized are with you forever….