In past weeks, as we have looked into Psalm 119, we have seen that God has given us His Word as a guide, we are to obey it, and it is to be a delight to our souls. Now, in the fourth stanza, verses 25-32, we see that we are to totally depend upon God’s Word. In this stanza, the psalmist is mourning the sin that drags him down. But he takes his sin to the Lord, admitting and confessing it. This draws him to God's Word and to prayer and opens his eyes to see that in choosing God’s Word and God’s way, he has chosen the right way. Declaring his dependence on God and living in obedient dependence upon His Word, works changes in the psalmist’s heart.
25. My soul clings to the dust;
Grant me life according to your word.
26. I tell You all I have done and you hear and answer me;
teach me your statutes.
27. Make me to understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on Your wonders.
28. My soul melts from misery;
strengthen me according to your word.
29. Keep me from the way of lying,
and grant me the grace of living by Your law.
30. I have chosen the path of truth
and have set your decrees before me.
31. I hold fast to Your testimonies;
O LORD, let me not be put to shame.
32. I will run the course set out in Your commandments
for they enlarge my heart.
This passage is a Declaration of Dependence upon God. Do you notice the misery of the psalmist in his first words? His soul clings to the dust. In the Bible, dust is a symbol of man’s frailty (Psalm 103:14). To "lie in the dust" or to be "like dust" symbolizes humiliation and affliction. When Job had lost everything -- his children, his flocks and herds, his health, and his wife’s respect -- he said he had become like dust and ashes (Job 30:19). Later, after venting his grief and pain, Job looked up to God and said, “I abhor myself, and I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). The psalmist humbled himself and repented just as Job had done. He told God all that he had done, confessing his sin (119:26). He turned to God and His Word for the answers to his misery. He asked God to make him understand as he meditated on His wonders (119:27), to strengthen him through His Word (119:28), to keep him from lies and give him grace to live by His law (119:29). The psalmist made a choice to turn from his sin to the path of truth (119:30). Instead of focusing on himself, he chose God’s Word (His decrees - 119:30, His testimonies -119:31, His commandments - 119:32). The result prompted a change in his heart. Some versions of the Bible us the word “gladden” instead of “enlarge” in verse 32. The Hebrew word is “rachab” which means “to make room” or “to broaden or increase”. Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies (William Wilson) says, “to open wide by joy”.
The psalmist found that the cure for sin, for clinging to the dust, meant depending upon God to save him and depending on God’s Word to lead him in the way of life. This opened his heart to joy, something he could never do by himself -- nor can we. He depended wholly upon God -- and so must we. Have you declared your dependence upon God by telling Him all that you have done, confessing your sin to Him? Have you turned to Him through His Word? That is the way to joy in this life. The ways of the world are like a magnet pulling us in, but God's Word delivers us. Troubles come and surround us but God's Word lifts us up. Tomorrow is full of uncertainties but God's Word gives us hope. History is His story, and those who depend on God will be triumphant. By declaring our dependence upon God and His Word we learn to live by faith and trust, and our hearts are opened wide by JOY!
As we enter the 2016 holiday season, remembering all we have to be thankful for and honoring and the birth of Christ, may we all celebrate the joy that only comes through dependence upon our Sovereign Creator who holds the world together by His power (Colossians 1:17).
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.