Tehillim Tools: Psalm 138:2: The Preferred Order
“I will prostrate myself toward Your holy Sanctuary, and give thanks to Your Name, for Your kindness and for Your truth; for You have magnified Your word far beyond Your Name (Psalms 138:2) “Your word,” refers to the first of the Ten Statement, “I am God, your Lord, Who took you out of Egypt.” If we follow the pattern of, “Turn from evil, and do good (34:15),” the Second Statement, “You should have no other powers before you,” should have preceded this Statement; we first turn from evil, “no other powers,” and then, “do good,” as in, “I am God, your Lord.” However, God, in His Infinite kindness, switched the order and placed, “I am,” first, to help a person grasp a connection to God, even before he has successfully turned away from evil, so that he may continue to exist even after we lost the Illumination of Revelation. (Beit Yaakov Ishbitz, Mishpatim 3)
We often find it difficult to constantly turn away from evil. We need that grasp onto a connection with God to empower us to maintain awareness and discipline. One should recite this verse whenever he feels that he is weakening in his turn from evil.