August 29, 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters who are loved by Christ forever!
I was recently listening to the word of God from Psalm 119. I listen and read during my devotions because my hearing comprehension is better than my reading! I use the Bible Gateway app which is both excellent and free!
Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem in the Hebrew using each letter of the alphabet. You will see these listed in most English translations. So, verses 1-8 begin with the Hebrew letter aleph and so the pattern continues. It is a song which celebrates the great value of the Word of God. Many different synonyms for the revelation of God are used such as law, decrees, word, statutes.
I was struck by the fact that nine times the writer requests the preservation of his life. Let’s take a quick review of these so that we will discover the great value of God’s word in protecting and guiding our lives on earth and in heaven! This corresponds well with our discovery in our current preaching series in Jude that it is Jesus who “keeps” us! see Jude 1:1, 24-25.
NIV Psalm 119:25 I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.
He is laid low in the dust! Sounds his is under attack or just living in harsh circumstances! Literally he confesses that his soul is clinging to the dust! Perhaps he is afraid he will die or sitting in a posture of repentance! Becoming aware of his own sin, he repents in dust and ashes! This seems to fit with the request for life. The verb translated “preserve” is the verb to live. Therefore, some translate it revive. The basis for his request is according to the Word of God! Whether we are facing a tragedy or confessing transgressions be assured that God will give you new life because that is Who he is and What he has promised! Let us humble ourselves so that he may exalt us! The exaltation is recorded in verses 26-32.
NIV Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.
A most interesting request for life here! Once again his request for life is linked to the Word of God. This follows his first request for more spiritual vision. Turn my eyes away from worthless things. Worthless according to my lexicon “designates anything that is unsubstantial, unreal, worthless, either materially or morally. Hence, it is a word for idols.” This is a necessary step in clinging to the Lord and keeping Him first in all things. We are all susceptible to gazing at worthless things. We live on a planet that contains many empty distractions. The preceding verse identifies “selfish gain” as one idol. It also reminds us that God will turn our hearts to His statutes and this will clear our vision.
NIV Psalm 119:40 How I long for your precepts! In your righteousness preserve my life.
This is the final verse in the Daleth acrostic. The psalmist confesses his longing for God and His revelation. “Precepts” are general responsibilities that God calls us to obey. The writer is confessing that the Lord’s commands are not burdensome but his joy to follow. As a result, he requests life in the Lord’s righteousness. Once we have settled the question that we desire to be the people God calls us to be – we will seek first His righteousness! See Mathew 6:33-34. Let us be certain, God will always act in righteousness, so it is wise to praise Him as the Righteous One and to follow Him in righteousness by the power of His Spirit in us!
So far in this quick study we have discovered that God’s Word is valuable to us in every situation we face and that He is true to His promise to revive our lives! Next time we will continue to look into more requests for life in Psalm 119. Until we meet again, let us not neglect God’s Word but seek to implant it into our daily lives by obeying it. In this way, we will not only survive but thrive in our lives!
Your servant for Jesus’ sake,