Congratulations! That is, if you have stayed with me over the last 5 months as we have worked our way through Psalm 119. I trust you have been challenged and blessed as I have. So, today’s stanza is the 22nd and the last 8 verses!
Often in the stanza’s we have already considered there was mention of enemies who were making life difficult for the psalmist. But, instead of totally discouraging him and causing him to lose faith in God, they actually spurred the psalmist on to remain faithful to God and his word conscious of his own weakness and God’s strength.
Today though there is no mention of these enemies and yet the psalmist is still crying out to God for help, deliverance, and salvation. So, what is the issue? Read the following prayer and see what you think:
169 May my cry come before you, Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, Lord,
and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.
The answer is in the very last verse. The issue is not so much the enemy around him, but the enemy within! He says of himself, I have strayed like a lost sheep. Sadly, we can all identify with this truth at some stages of our lives.
As Wilcock says, he “may know enough about [God] to write a psalm 176 verses long, but for all this industry and theology, for all this art and skill and grasp of the word, [he was still] as ‘prone to wander, Lord’, as the next sheep is.” (# 5) And so he prays for God to Seek your servant.
And how did God ultimately answer this prayer? Well, we have just celebrated Easter. That history changing event over 2000 years ago when Jesus said of his mission, the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10) It was when Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead for the sins of the world as John says:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
It was not only the psalmist who was conscious of going astray and needing God’s intervention. Isaiah the prophet wrote approximately 700 hundred years before the coming of Jesus the following prophetic words concerning Him:
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
Jesus himself said to his disciples,I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep… I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:11, 10)
So, as we move on from what Kidner calls “this giant among the Psalms” (# 29) may we recognize our desperate need for God’s daily help and strength against the enemy around us and inside us, determining to seek God as the psalmist says:
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you. (119:10-11)