Monday, May 3, 2010

A Two-Word Comprehensive Prayer - Psalm 119 (part 10)

"My soul languishes for Thy salvation;
I wait eagerly for Thy word.
My eyes fail with longing for Thy word,
while I say, 'When wilt Thou comfort me?'
Though I have become like a wineskin
in the smoke, yet, I do not
forget Thy statutes.
How many are the days of Thy servant?
When wilt Thou execute judgment
on those who persecute me?
The arrogant have dug pits for me,
men who are not in accord with Thy law.
All Thy commandments are faithful;
they have persecuted me with a lie;
help me!
They almost destroyed me on earth,
but as for me, I did not forsake Thy precepts.
Revive me according to Thy lovingkindness,
so that I may keep the testimony of Thy mouth."
(Psalm 119:81-88)

I have read through Psalm 119 on numerous occasions. I have always known that it was a Psalm about the glories of God's Word. This year I have been astonished at how often it is also a Psalm about suffering and about how God's Word is a balm, an anchor, and a reviving influence in the midst of suffering. Perhaps the theme has hit me because it is the place where I have found myself over the course of the past 12 months - suffering yet remarkably revived time and time again by the Word of God.

If you take a moment to glance back over the verses already covered in this Psalm you'll see the power of the word in helping us be victorious in the midst of our suffering struggles to overcome sin (verses 9-11), spiritual deadness (vs 25), weeping grief (vs 28), comfortless affliction (vs 50), derision (vs 51-52), and further affliction (vs 67-71). We'll run across even more examples of all of these things in the verses to come.

The resounding theme, however, is that in the midst of the languishing of the soul, the failing eyes of faith, and the doubting moments of "God, where are You and when will You come to comfort me?" the Word of God remains an anchor and a firm foundation.

David compares himself to a dried up wineskin. His sorrows had caused him to feel as though he had wasted away to the point of dried up uselessness. His affliction was great yet in the midst of it he had not forgotten God's statutes (vs 83). We would do well to remember those steadfast statutes and not forget their firm promises ourselves.

David's persecutors are on his heels yet he reminds himself that "Thy commandments are faithful." Recognizing the faithfulness of the Word of God which points us to the God of the Word what is it that David specifically prays?

Well, surprisingly it is not an eloquent prayer. It is not a well-worded prayer. It is not the verbose musings that we might expect from this gifted psalmist. David is quite often a man of many words. Here he is a man of only two - "Help me!"

We would do well to pray with this simplistic earnestness more often. We don't have to impress God with a multiplicity of words. We don't have to wax eloquently in order to inform Him of what our need is - He already knows. We don't have to verbally twist His arm or manipulate His mercy with our linguistic craftiness. We simply need to ask for help.

"God, help me!" is an excellent and comprehensive prayer. It expresses our great need and shows our absolute and utter dependance upon Him rather than upon ourselves. His word says He will help us so let us take Him at His word and ask Him, trust Him, and wait expectantly for Him.

Seeking His help and trusting that He will provide it,

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