A devotional on Psalm 119:145-176
145 I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord, and I will obey your decrees.
146 I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.
148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.
149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws.
The psalmist obeys the decrees, keeps them, hopes in them, and meditates on them. He is greatly vested in them. This draws him to call out to God, even with all his heart, in his time of need. The owls’ hours find this believer awake, not only rising before dawn but also staying awake through the night. He knows that he is heard because he is loved.
150 Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but they are far from your law.
151 Yet you are near, Lord, and all your commands are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever.
What will you choose to be near, the wicked and their schemes or God’s law? The wicked distance themselves from God and his ways. They want nothing to do with him and certainly don’t want to be associated with him. But that God is close to those who incline to him. He delights to cozy up to them. He wants to be near them. He enjoys being near them. Many of them have a long history with the statutes and they’ve stood the test of time. Their relationship to him is as a long-term investment. They start young and it carries them for decades, getting sweeter and richer; bearing much fruit and profit. As we saw yesterday in verse 140, “Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.”
153 Look on my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion, Lord, is great; preserve my life according to your laws.
157 Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes.
158 I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word.
159 See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love.
160 All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.
ש Sin and Shin
161 Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word.
Human power has the capacity to make us quake in our pants in fear. We know the terror of being called to the principle’s office when we’re in trouble. We know the panic of being pulled over by an officer when we are speeding. Terrible is the angst of being persecuted without cause. Yet even that pales in regard to our feelings about the Word. Because we revere it so much, because we believe the majestic, consuming power of its writer, the Word causes such visceral reactions within us that our bodies quake, reiterating the sentiment of verse 120, “My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.”
162 I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.
God’s Word to the believer is like gold, like much fine gold. It is so rich, so valuable that it strikes delight in the heart of him who finds it. Jesus tells the story of a pearl of great price that a man discovers hidden in a field. The man reburied it, sold everything he had, and bought that field. With earnest, may we do the same. May we sell all we have and invest in the field of our spiritual life. Its returns are a thousand-fold!
163 I hate and detest falsehood but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.
165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for your salvation, Lord, and I follow your commands.
167 I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly.
168 I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you.
How dear are God’s statutes to you? How precious are his commands? Can you say you love them greatly, exceedingly, with muchness? Oh, I love that word, muchness, it seems so incorrect and yet speaks volumes. That means that we love the Word wholly, speedily, vehemently, with ever increasing passion.
169 May my cry come before you, Lord; give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, Lord, and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.
Prayers of supplication and praise gush from this believer alternately. We know God alone is our source, so we run to him for succor. We are awed and thrilled by him, so we rejoice to tell him that.