# 336 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 119. (vv. 25-32 ד Daleth). Finding spiritual rest.

Life can be tough! Faithfulness to God and his word comes at a price, and if you have ever felt discouraged, even full of doubts, then you are not alone.

We read in Psalm 73 that the psalmist felt overwhelmed and discouraged and even though he acknowledged that,

Surely God is good to Israel,
    to those who are pure in heart,

he still, in the tough times, had his doubts, confessing,

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence.

All this until God opened his eyes to His truth,

17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
    then I understood…

We get the same sense of the psalmist feeling down when we read his words in Psalm 119:25-32 below:

ד Daleth

25 I am laid low in the dust;
    preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
    teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
    that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
    be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
    I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
    do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
    for you have set my heart free.

Reading this, one gets the sense that life is not particularly happy or fun for the psalmist, but he has made up his mind to follow God and His word no matter what life brings, whatever the difficulties.

Listen firstly to his requests:

25     … preserve my life according to your word.
26     … teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts…
28     … strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
    be gracious to me and teach me your law…
31     … do not let me be put to shame.

And now to his resolve:

30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
    I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, Lord…                                                                                           32 I run in the path of your commands.

We do not know what was happening so that he wrote of being laid low in the dust, or why exactly his soul is weary with sorrow, but we do know his preferred solution and that was for God to intervene in his life – to teach him, to strengthen him, to give him understanding, and to be gracious to him. In this way, he was confident that he would be able to run in the path of Your commands. How? Because it was God alone who would set my heart free.

This last verse (you have set my heart free), “literally means ‘enlarged my heart’ i.e., expanded it with joy… Others translate it increased my understanding…” (NIV Study Bible)

Here lies the psalmist’s secret to joy and rest during times of sorrow and difficulties.

The writer of Hebrews also speaks of God’s rest as follows:

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it… Now we who have believed enter that restThere remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience… 12 For the word of God is alive and active… 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:1, 3, 9-13)

As we see from our psalm, the psalmist was a good example of one who very intentionally made every effort to enter God’s rest.

Understanding how tough this can be in life, Jesus gives us an invitation. He says: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

From the Message Bible:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (Matthew 11:28-30)

If you can identify with the psalmist when he said, My soul is weary with sorrow, then I suggest you accept Jesus’ invitation to come to Him, to keep company with [him] and take a real rest in Him as he enables you to learn to live freely and lightly.    

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