This month I’m reading Psalm 119. It is the longest single chapter in the Bible, containing 176 verses. Its author is unknown, but scholars suggest that David, Ezra, or Daniel wrote it. The psalm is written as an acrostic poem. The verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of each of the Hebrew alphabet, such as “Aleph,” “Beth,” “Gimel,” and so on.
It’s like I’m reading it for the first time. The verses soothe my grieving heart and remind me of the hope and peace that are mine in Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come.
After a few days of reading in the psalm, I noticed a few recurring themes. God’s steadfast love jumped out at me from the beginning. The word steadfast first appears in the psalm in verse five when the author yearns, “Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!”
The other times the word shows up in Psalm 119 of the ESV, it is used to describe God’s love.
- Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord. Verse 41
- The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love. Verse 64
- Let your steadfast love comfort me. Verse 76
- In your steadfast love, give me life. Verse 88
- Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love. Verse 124
- Hear my voice according to your steadfast love. Verse 148
- Give me life according to your steadfast love. Verse 159
The definition of steadfast is firmly fixed in place; firm in purpose; immovable; not subject to change; unwavering.
I think of a horizontal line when I think of God’s steadfast love, like the ones we drew in geometry class on graph paper with our rulers to make them perfectly straight. A line is defined as a line of points that extends infinitely in two directions.
I know this is a terribly inadequate analogy for the steadfast love of God. While the arrows at the ends of our graphed lines represented the “foreverness” of the line, it’s one dimensional. We know God’s love is more than long. It is high and wide and deep. (Ephesians 3:18)
Still the steadfast part of His love is like a line to me, the horizon on a clear day at the beach. Constant and never-ending. Before me and after me. His love is fixed and purposeful. Always there, even when I can’t see it or feel it.
Oh God, let your steadfast love come to us. Deal with us in light of it and give us life according to it. Let us grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.