If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my misery.

Psalm 119:92

Sonnet for Psalm 119

The longest of all psalms, and no wonder –
Trying to find all the ways to thank you,
For your law and blessings beyond number,
Although there are no words that seem to do.
We come to the end and still there is more,
More, so much more, that we can praise you for –
Your word, our light, that shines so very bright,
Your Torah, a gift, that gives our souls sight.
When all else fades away into darkness,
And our words at last fall into silence,
There will remain your unending kindness,
Our speechless awe in your holy presence.
But now we praise you for your gifted word
By living and sharing all we have heard.


Psalm 119 is by far the longest of all psalms, an extended meditation on the gift of God’s Torah. It is a very structured poem, with a stanza for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and each of these stanzas starting with that same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Its very structure is a way to show the completeness of God’s teaching. In this sonnet, I reflect on the fact that all of our attempts to thank God for the gift and completeness of God’s word can only fall short. The best way to thank God is to live and share this wondrous word.

Here, then, is a passage Psalm 119 (the 12th stanza), followed by other scripture passages that I had in mind when I wrote the sonnet, along with the sonnet again, followed by a closing prayer:

Psalm 119:89-96

The Lord exists forever;
    your word is firmly fixed in heaven.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
    you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
By your appointment they stand today,
    for all things are your servants.
If your law had not been my delight,
    I would have perished in my misery.
I will never forget your precepts,
    for by them you have given me life.
I am yours; save me,
    for I have sought your precepts.
The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
    but I consider your decrees.
I have seen a limit to all perfection,
    but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

Scripture Passages

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. – Psalm 119:105

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. – 2 Timothy 3:16

Sonnet for Psalm 119

The longest of all psalms, and no wonder –
Trying to find all the ways to thank you,
For your law and blessings beyond number,
Although there are no words that seem to do.
We come to the end and still there is more,
More, so much more, that we can praise you for –
Your word, our light, that shines so very bright,
Your Torah, a gift, that gives our souls sight.
When all else fades away into darkness,
And our words at last fall into silence,
There will remain your unending kindness,
Our speechless awe in your holy presence.
But now we praise you for your gifted word
By living and sharing all we have heard.

Closing Prayer

We give thanks to you, O Lord, for your word, which guides us through life and fills us with light and hope. There are no words that seem enough to give thanks to you, but let these words be a beginning. And let all our life show our endless gratitude to you, in all that we do and say, until that blessed day when we stand before you in silent adoration. Through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

2 thoughts on “Sonnet for Psalm 119

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s