Daily Family Worship

Psalm 119: 169-176: Love for the Lord’s Word

by | Jun 28, 2024

psalm 119: 169-176

David is now approaching the end of this lengthy Psalm, and now his petitions seem to increase in force and fervency. He seems to break into the inner circle of Divine fellowship, and to come even to the feet of the great God Whose help he is imploring. This nearness creates the most lowly view of himself; and it leads him to close the Psalm by bowing down with his face to the ground, in the deepest self-humiliation – begging to be sought out like a lost sheep.

“Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord!” (verse 176) He is tremblingly afraid that he might not be heard. He is conscious that his prayer is nothing better than the cry of a poor child, or the groan of a wounded beast. He is full of dread that perhaps it would be shut out from the ears of the Most High, but he very boldly prays that it may come before God – that it may be in His sight, under His notice, and looked upon with His acceptance. In fact, he goes even further and entreats, “Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord!” He wants the Lord’s attention to his prayer to be very close and considerate. He uses a figure of speech and personifies his prayer. We may picture his prayer as the trembling Queen Esther – venturing into the royal presence, entreating an audience, and begging to find favor in the sight of the blessed and only Potentate! It is a very sweet thing to a suppliant when he knows assuredly that his prayer has obtained audience, that it has trodden the sea of glass before the throne, and that it has come even to the footstool of the glorious seat around which heaven and earth adore! It is to Jehovah that this prayer is expressed with trembling earnestness; we crave audience of no one else, for we have confidence in none beside. And this is the prayer about which he is so exceedingly anxious: “Give me understanding according to thy word!” With all his power, he resolves to get understanding; and no matter what else he misses, he is resolved to not miss out on this priceless treasure. He desires spiritual light and understanding as it is promised in God’s Word, as it proceeds from God’s Word, and as it produces obedience to God’s Word. He pleads as though he had no understanding whatsoever of his own, and he asks to have one given to him. “Give me understanding!” In truth, he had an understanding according to the judgment of men; but what he sought was an understanding according to the Holy Scriptures, which is quite another thing. To understand spiritual things is the gift of the Lord alone! To have a judgment enlightened by heavenly light and conformed to Divine truth is a privilege which only the Lord’s grace can give. Many a person who is esteemed wise after the manner of this world is a fool according to the Word of the Lord. May we be among those happy children who shall all be taught of the Lord! (Isa. 54:13)

Verse 176 presents us with the conclusion of the whole matter. The Psalmist makes a confession: “I have gone astray like a lost sheep” – often, willfully, and needlessly. We, too, have gone astray; and we would have done so hopelessly, except for the Lord’s interposing grace! We, like David, have gone astray from the practical precepts and the instructive doctrines of the Scriptures, and from the heavenly experiences which our God has set before us. We have lost our road, and we have lost our own selves. Even now, we are too often inclined to wander; therefore, it is fitting and proper for us imitate the Psalmist and beseech the Lord to restore us. “Seek thy servant,” he pleads. He was not like a dog, which can find its way back somehow or another; rather, he was like a lost sheep, which goes further and further away from home. Yet still, he was the Lord’s sheep! He was His property, and he was precious in His sight; and therefore, he hoped to be sought, so that he might be restored. And however far he might have wandered, he was not just a sheep; for He was God’s servant. And therefore, he desired to be in his Master’s house again, and once more honored with commissions for his Lord. If he had only been a lost sheep, he would not have prayed to be sought; but being also a servant, he had the power to pray. Hence he cries, “Seek thy servant!” And he hopes to be not only sought, but also forgiven and accepted, and taken into work again by his gracious Master!

O Lord! We confess that we are very often wandering sheep who go far astray from Your fold. We pray that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, may seek us, save us, forgive us, and restore us into Your favor and Your service! Amen.

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