The eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, known as the “letter symbolizing life”.
The ninth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, known as the “letter of goodness”. The form of the letter is inverted, suggesting a “hidden goodness”.
The tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, known as the “letter of God’s hand”. It’s the smallest Hebrew letter, is used often in Hebrew language, and symbolizes the concentrated power of God.
We are quick to conjure up dreams and definitions for life, then spend our existence chasing that illusion with exasperation under the delusion we have rightly defined
the true goodness of life.
Gradually, over time, one by one, flaws become pronounced in every dream. We try all the harder, spend all the more exasperation, anxiety, and frenetic energy to achieve what we have no power to build, Khet Tet, a good life.
Wisely, the psalmist offers a sure and certain alternative by casting himself wholly upon the very Author of Life Himself as reflected in Yod. With this understanding, we begin our journey through the octets of Khet, Tet, & Yod.
“The Lord is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words.” (Psalm 119:57)
I grew up learning the stories and perfect holiness of Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, to whom the Psalmist sang, but I was also keenly aware of my imperfections. Verses like Psalm 119:57 perpetually stuck like a burr in my heart.
“I promise to keep Your words”, the Psalmist declared,
but over and over I wondered, “What good is a promise you can’t keep?”.
One verse alone summarizes my life, with all my attempts at good kindness and sweet deeds, as an utter failure at attaining righteousness.
“Be holy, because I the Lord your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2)
Be holy as the LORD is holy?! Impossible!
If I need further evidence of this Holy God’s declaration upon my attempts at goodness, the prophet Isaiah spoke, “…all of our righteous acts are like menstrual rags.” (Isaiah 64:6, Common English Bible)
Within the first two verses under the octet designated “Life”, we find the New Testament Gospel story peering back through cloaked shrouds, waiting the perfect time to burst forth with freedom.
“I have sought Your favor with all my heart, be gracious to me according to Your promise.” (Psalm 119:58)
The only way we have access to Life is through the favor of Yahweh (John 14:6), made evident when He appeared in the flesh, was killed as a sacrifice to pay for our sins, then raised to life to conquer our Death forever through His blood.
This is the favor on which the psalmist knew he must rely.
Regardless of my wish to fulfill my promise to “keep His ways”, my only hope is Christ, Christ alone through faith alone. What was, for the psalmist, a future Hope yet unknown, it is for me a reality of what was fully accomplished on my behalf and for all who trust in Yahweh’s favor. (Acts 16:31)
Because of this rich favor, we hurry with earnest to keep to His ways (verse 60), rising in the middle of our darkest fears, dashed dreams, and deepest nights to praise Him (verses 61-62).
For me, it wasn’t the sunny seasons that proved the depth and breadth of Yahweh’s favor, it was the long nights, stretching for years, where it seemed the light of my life was extinguished.
A Dearth of Hope.
It was in the desert of perpetual brokenness, I began to truly see, and be warmed by, the essence of true Life known as the Pure Goodness of God. A hidden goodness. A goodness I would need to uncover, explore, and return to again and again while living in the dark.
As I watched trauma grip my marriage, leaving its inky fingerprints on my children, my husband, myself, and dash the dreams I’d once lived for, I ceaselessly cleaved to a tiny sentence situated firmly amidst the octet of Tet, “You are good, and You do what is good.” (Psalm 119:68)
The anguish of my heart dashed all hope, but one small, relentless flame of truth refused to be snuffed out, the goodness of God. When I could barely breathe for pain, when all seemed lost, when I watched suffering perpetuate its cruelty, I muttered the words my heart taught my tongue (Proverbs 16:23), “You ARE good. You DO good.”
In the darkness, groping my way through the desert, suffering again and again the anguish of loss, the Lord renewed my mind, teaching my soul to trust the Goodness of God and filter all pain through it before casting judgment on whether it was good for me or not. (Romans 8:28)
This is precisely the place the psalmist landed,
“Before I was afflicted, I went astray,
but now I keep Your word. […]
It was good for me to be afflicted,
so that I could learn Your statutes.”
(Psalm 119:67 and 71)
At the “hand of God”, Yod, the Author of Life continues to work out His perfect purpose in my suffering to align my life, my mind, my dreams, and hopes with His heart. My lips will tell of this magnificent goodness of God, “Those who fear You (with reverential awe) will see me (my story) and rejoice, for I put my hope in Your Word.” (Psalm 119:74, commentary mine).
To the God of my LIFE (Psalm 42:8),
Who is good and does good (Psalm 119:68),
“Your instruction is my delight!” (Psalm 119:77)
Worship XI Day 7
Being afflicted no matter the pain, agony, or distress, there is peace in God when we know HE is for us. Who can be against us! (Romans 8:31)
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