“In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.” – Psalm 119:88 (ESV)
Is your world pressing in on you and keeping from you the peace that surpasses all comprehension? It happens. We may wish for our lives to be easy all the time – if it ever is at all. Everything in our lives may, for a season, seem to be rolling along in a positive direction and then BLAM! From out of nowhere comes something we do not expect and would never choose. Sometimes it is a loss from a natural disaster – we’re thinking of the many who lose their homes in hurricanes, tornados, flooding and fires. Or is it a sudden illness, a diagnosis we can’t bear hear? But there it is, and we’re just not ready. And the most difficult might be the unthinkable loss of someone dear and near; a husband, a wife, a child, a close friend. The sudden loss of a life partner way too soon certainly is a really difficult circumstance to cope with. Look at the verse now. God’s love for us is steadfast, even when our loss is greater than ever imagined. His lovingkindness will give us hope and his testimonies from His word are good to keep in mind and heart.
“Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways. – Psalm 119:36-37 (ESV)
There is no room for doubt when we reflect on our shortcomings and the ways we fail to live up to the standards set for us in the Bible. We all need help and there is only one source that can actually help us. We first need to learn from God how He commands us to live. Psalm 119:33 tells us how if the LORD teaches us the way of his statutes, we will keep it to the end of days. We need understanding and guidance. The psalmist declared his loyalty to the Word, and he observed it with his whole heart. He prayed that the LORD would turn him away from dishonest gain and vanity. Vanity, the way it is used here means emptiness, nothingness, useless. When we commit ourselves, our resources, and out time to what is worthless we are in pursuit of vain things. This is the most common usage of this word in the Old Testament. We have an option and it is what we should desire. Our search should be for God to confirm His ordinances to us that we may enjoy the way of life God gives to us – His way.
“Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!” – Psalm 119:2-3 (ESV)
Psalm 119* is longest of the psalms and chapters in the Bible. Like Psalm 1 and 19 it exults God’s Word. We cannot be certain who the psalmist is since he is not identified. Each verse contains the author’s reverence and love for the Word of God (using eight different terms**), we take each of the statements as an affirmation of the promises God has given us regarding the effectiveness of His Word. We find again the use of the word “heart” which refers to our intellect, volition, and emotion. When we say we are seeking God with “all my heart” what we are affirming is that we have a complete commitment to God and to His Word. We don’t use it occasionally or when our circumstances are desperate and we are driven to seek God’s will in His Word. We don’t use is conveniently or only when we think about it. Our promise is that as we keep our commitment to what God has instructed us in His Word, it will keep us from doing wrong. It will keep us on the path He has made straight before us.
*This is an acrostic psalm composed of 22 sections, each containing 8 lines. All 8 lines of the first section start with the first letter of the Hebrew (language). alphabet; thus the psalm continues until all 22 letters have been used in order.
Every verse includes a reference to one of these terms. Other acrostic psalms are Psalms 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 145) referring to Scripture occurring throughout the psalm are: 1) law, 2) testimonies, 3) precepts, 4) statutes, 5) commandments, 6) judgments, 7) word, and 8) ordinances.