“I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.” –Psalm 119:131
I know Lexi’s had a brisk enough walk if she’s panting when we get home. Dogs pant to release heat from their bodies. Exercise increases a human or animal’s body temperature. If Lexi’s panting, then she’s gotten a good workout. (Of course I have to watch for excessive panting that is a sign of overheating.) Dogs also pant when they’re eager or excited. This is the other reason that Lexi is panting when we get home. Her brain is full of exciting sights and smells and sounds. The psalmist uses this image of an eager dog to describe his own eagerness to hear the word of the Lord. It’s not a very flattering image, I think. Psalm 42:1 is nicer: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” But Psalm 119 reminds us that walking in faith is a workout, too. Not only are we eager to hear God’s word, we also work hard to follow his path. Verse 133 says, “Direct my footsteps according to your word.” The psalmist isn’t merely seeking comfort; he’s searching for the way to go. When we get Home, we should be panting a little.
Dear God, Make me eager to hear your word, and help me work hard to follow it. Amen