Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Psalm 119:25-32 - Using the Bible in Times of Sadness

The psalmist is downcast: ‘My soul clings to the dust’ (v. 25) and ‘My soul melts away for sorrow’ (v. 28). He does not say why he is in this state. Perhaps it was the sins of the nation of Israel or it may have been because of his own inner resistance to God’s ways. Whatever the case, he knew that he need reviving, therefore he prayed, ‘Give me life according to your word!’ (v. 25).
Having made this prayer, he sensed that the Lord had answered it (v. 26). The psalmist knew this was the case because of the prayer requests he was now making, which concerned receiving further instruction into God’s Word. He likened himself to a scholar with the best Teacher. After all, the person most capable of saying what a book means is its author.
A second sign of his spiritual restoration was his desire to meditate on God’s works. Those works are summarised in our catechism as his works of creation and providence. How can we meditate on them? The psalmist tells us that we can only do so once we have understood God’s precepts (v. 27). God’s Word gives light on everything else.
Another blessing that comes from reading the Bible is spiritual strength (v. 28). The usual means of consciously receiving such strength is by reflecting on God’s promises and taking note of his instructions. Spiritual strength is needed in order to obey God in a sinful society, therefore the psalmist prays for such directions from God. He knows his liability to be deceived by false detours and therefore prays that God would separate them from him (v. 29).
The psalmist uses his determination to obey God as an argument in prayer. He reminds the Lord that he wants to live a righteous life and has resolved never to let go the instructions of God’s Word. It is inconceivable that the Lord would ignore such a request (vv. 30-31). But the psalmist knows that his obedience will be better each time the Lord provides him with spiritual energy (v. 32).
If we are not running in the way of God’s commandments, it indicates that our prayer petitions have the wrong focus. It suggests that we have not asked him for spiritual recovery and revitalisation.

No comments:

Post a Comment