Action Zones 

Exploring Psalm 119 from a scientist’s perspective 

Peter Gray-Read BSc MSc

Introduction part 1


Although, if we are honest, some of us may have experienced a slight sinking feeling when Psalm 119 is given as their scripture reading it is a great store of spiritual riches when we approach it with the prayer of v18:
open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law
This was certainly true for some eminent and fruitful men of God

David Livingstone:   Showed what a life of dedication and faith could achieve. Starting out as a child labourer in a textile mill he studied and developed the faith and character to become a missionary and an intrepid explorer in Africa. He was also a reformer and anti-slavery campaigner
He won a Sunday school prize at 9 years of age for reciting  Psalm 119

WILLIAM WILBERFORCEWilliam Wilberforce:  was a close friend of William Pitt, who at 24 became the youngest Prime Minister of England.  Wilberforce endured great opposition to his anti-slavery bill – he testified to:
 “walk from Hyde Park Corner repeating the 119th Psalm in great comfort”. He was instrumental in bringing an end to slavery in the UK in 1807.  His other work included improving conditions in factories and providing education for children
He spoke of the joy he had one day, praying Psalm 119 to God as he was walking along Baker Street towards Regent's Park’


James Clerk Maxwell:  The father of modern Physics – 1865.  His Equations of Electromagnetism laid the foundation for Einstein to develop the Theory of Relativity
I think their success was in no small part due to the light that illuminated their mind through this Psalm. In JC Maxwell’s case he had memorised it by the time he was 8 years old!

In fact you may see a humorous side to the story related by CH Spurgeon in his commentary:   …the very length of the Psalm played a part in the Bishop of Edinburgh, George Wishart, escaping execution at the gallows.  His patron, the Marquis of Montrose fell out of courtly favour and met his end by execution.  The Bishop, his chaplin, was next in the line.  However, taking advantage of the custom of the time for the condemned to request a final song, he chose Psalm 119.  Before two thirds of it had been sung his pardon arrived

When our eyes are indeed opened I hope that the effect on our lives will be more significant than it was even for the Bishop who according to a biographer was more renowned for his shrewdness than for his sanctity

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