The tenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is yodh. In this section of prayer, 119:73 – 80, the psalmist prays for fellowship with other worshipers. The first two lines set the theme of this prayer, “Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word.”
This prayer begins with a confession of creation and identity. God made and fashioned the first man from dust and the first woman from his rib bone. He made and fashioned you in the same way in your mother’s womb. You belong to God, who created you. When you were saved you were born from above, made and fashioned by the Father with the righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Once God created Adam and Eve, He continued His creative work in their lives with His word. The same is true for you. God’s word continues what He has begun in you. This is the reason for the request, “…give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.” God’s word requires God’s understanding and wisdom to learn and grow. Just as food gives your body nourishment and growth, so God’s word, with the gift of His wisdom, gives your spirit and soul nourishment and growth. You are His creation, body, soul, and spirit, created for fellowship with Him and others like yourself.
The confession of “Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word.” identifies you with other worshipers who also see God as their Creator and Sustainer, according to His word. There is joy in fellowship with God and with His people, when worship is according to His word. The phrase those who fear you is repeated in verse seventy-nine, “Let those who fear you turn to me, that they may know your testimonies.” The phrase those who fear you is an expression of worship. The word “fear” is the Hebrew word yahrey, which means to be afraid, to be reverent, to have great awe and respect. When used in the context of worship it describes a person who recognizes the supreme power and authority of God and is humbled before Him.
When this phrase is linked with words describing God’s word, as in 119:74, 79, it provides a full definition of what it means to worship the Father in spirit and truth. God reveals the knowledge of Himself through His word. His Spirit and His word are inseparable; the two are one. Knowing Him in spirit and truth describes fellowship with His Spirit, according to His word. This is true worship. And true worship gathers true worshipers together in fellowship with one another as each one is in fellowship with God.
This prayer also teaches that there is discipline and correction in this kind of fellowship and true worship. The third line is a confession of what the psalmist has learned, “I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.” The request that follows is also a confession of what the psalmist has learned, “Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight.” This request has been shaped by God’s love, faithfulness, and word. Worship, learning, and God’s word are a trinity that are one and cannot be separated.
The fellowship of true worshipers pleases the Father because He sees the image of His own Son, Jesus Christ, in their midst. God sees the fruit of His word in the obedience of their lives as they gather together to worship and to learn of Him. This pleases God. This is what it means to worship the Father in spirit and truth.