Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ode to Billie Joe

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11

Sitting beside me at our monthly meal Sunday, a young friend began to speak about his plan to memorize the entire 119th Psalm.

"That's a pretty tall order," I remarked. He smiled and went on to remind me that though it was indeed 176 verses long, the 119th was handily divided according to the Hebrew alphabet into 22 bite-size chunks.

"It has been rhymed in the Psalter," he noted, "and so what you have is 22 separate songs. I can learn the words to 22 songs."

I think he nailed it.

Stop and think about how many songs you know the words to. And how you bellow them out to the radio as you drive down the road.

"Hmm," I thought. "It's do-able."

To reinforce the idea, I awoke at three this morning with "Ode to Billie Joe" playing on my mental jukebox. I'll admit I don't remember all 11 verses but I got most of the radio version down.

This was 1968, people! And I'm fairly certain I haven't thought about the song at all in the last 20 or so years.

The point to all that is this: Why shouldn't I be able to memorize the 119th Psalm? Or Isaiah 55 or Psalm 103 (my two favorite passages)?

I am doubly convicted by the fact that I can recall the lyrics to most tunes played on the classic rock station.

It all comes down to what's important to you (or me).

So here is the very helpful and cool Scottish Psalter website:


I may start with a much shorter Psalm. What do you think?

And oh yeh, there's this, since I brought it up:



  1. I'm guessing i know your young friend -- i'm guessing he's my little brother (by which i mean, the man who is 2 years younger, 2 million eons wiser, and a few inches taller than i) -- and he's inspired me to try and memorize the same. I don't love God enough -- i don't love His word enough -- i'm hoping spending the time to really learn and meditate on these good Words will be like drenching my heart with spiritual Miracle-Gro!

    1. And you are RIGHT!!! You are the winner of an all-expenses-paid trip to the...(wait for it) SCOTTISH PSALTER!! As I messaged Reuben, I personally have chosen the tune "Downs," as being more accessible to my Baptist Hymnal-trained ear. May God bless us everyone, as we take on this labor of love (and fun). Oh yeh, the link: http://www.cgmusic.org/workshop/psametre_frame.htm