Opening Up to God
Lord, I praise You for Your mighty acts, Your faithful Word, and Your ageless wisdom. Prepare me to listen to You.
Read Psalm 119:153-176
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The call to serve God and to handle the mysteries of the gospel is the most astonishing privilege in all the world” (Eric Alexander).
Psalm 119 is a great symphony on the Law of God dwelling in the human soul. All the way through, the psalmist tells God he loves the Law, for it brings truth and light and hope. It is the revelation of God himself to his people but, as the psalm now draws to a close, we hear the cry of suffering. Oppression and persecution surround the psalmist, yet he clings to the Law. God’s words are true, and deeper than trials. He is with God, come what may.
It is significant that even when facing peril, his fear is not wasted on those who would do him harm. His heart trembles at the Word of God, not at his persecutors. It trembles in awe and delight at what it reveals of God’s righteousness and truth. Because he is able to rise above external threats, and move beyond circumstances, he can recognize again that he is known by God. He can focus his life on God, so everything else is put in its proper place. That is why, in these final verses, he is in a place of strength and praise, open to the truth and purposes of God. His prayer, petitioning God for protection and salvation, is uttered in confidence. Even though he is a sheep that has strayed, he stays committed to the Law, which will remain his delight.
There are few groups who have known more persecution through history than Jews. This psalm speaks into the struggle between fear and praise, oppression and release, repulsion at evil and the struggle to do good. Though they might be small in comparison, our own anxieties are named and our terror is expressed here, too. Breaking the silence of fear is often crucial, because we then find that God is closer than we thought and ready to respond.
Name your anxieties and concerns for this day before God, and ask him to keep you from falling and keep you focused on him.
Sovereign Lord, help me keep focused on You and not on the swirling changes around me. You are my rock and refuge.