“145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord.
I will keep your statutes.
146 I cry to you; save me,
that I may observe your decrees.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I put my hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before each watch of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
149 In your steadfast love hear my voice;
O Lord, in your justice preserve my life.
150 Those who persecute me with evil purpose draw near;
they are far from your law.
151 Yet you are near, O Lord,
and all your commandments are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your decrees
that you have established them forever.”
David cries out to God wholeheartedly – for salvation, at all hours of the night, in the morning, when antagonists are near – all in the hope that what God says is true and everlasting. His enemies may be near – whether physical, spiritual, or emotional – but he knows that the Lord is nearer.
What about this passage did you need to hear today?
How have you experienced the nearness of God?
How can you bring the nearness of God into your day?
Gracious God, thank you for your presence that is near in the light of day and dark of night. We pray that in your steadfast love, you will preserve our lives despite the adversity that comes near. Thank you that you promise to be near and help us to practice the awareness of your nearness throughout our day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“153 Look on my misery and rescue me,
for I do not forget your law.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me;
give me life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek your statutes.
156 Great is your mercy, O Lord;
give me life according to your justice.
157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
yet I do not swerve from your decrees.
158 I look at the faithless with disgust,
because they do not keep your commands.
159 Consider how I love your precepts;
preserve my life according to your steadfast love.
160 The sum of your word is truth;
and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.”
As David continues to pour out his heart to God, he acknowledges the mercy of God at the same time as presence of wicked. We live in this place as well, where there is evil around us and there is the mercy and salvation of God. With the confidence that God’s ways are enduring, we can live as recipients and agents of his steadfast love to all we share our communities with.
Where in your life do you need to experience God’s salvation and truth?
How easy is it to experience the steadfast love of God? Where do you see it in your life and the lives of others?
What does it look like for you to live in a world where the mercy of God co-exists with evil? How are you participating as an agent of God’s mercy in your context?
Gracious God, it is easy to be overwhelmed with what is happening in our world. We may disagree on what is evil but we are united around the truth of your love and mercy that transcends all. Give us your eyes to see the world as you do, and to participate in the good work you are doing for your glory and for the sake of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“161 Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162 I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous ordinances.
165 Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
166 I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I fulfill your commandments.
167 My soul keeps your decrees;
I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and decrees,
for all my ways are before you.”
In this passage, David starts by lamenting the persecution he feels from those who may have worldly power over him, but then sets that aside to declare the wonder of following God. His words are filled with love, hope, peace, and openness to his Lord which outshines any pressure he experiences from outside authority.
How easy is it for you to focus your attention on the goodness of God in the midst of difficulty?
What reminders have you set during the day to stop and lift up praises to God?
What do you need from God today – righteousness, peace, hope, love, contentment?
Gracious God, it is so easy to focus on the turmoil around us and lose sight of you. Help us to build reminders into our lives to return to you and find all that we need. Give us a love for you and your ways that spills over into our love for others, that they might experience wonder and awe of encountering you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“169 Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.
170 Let my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
171 My lips will pour forth praise,
because you teach me your statutes.
172 My tongue will sing of your promise,
for all your commandments are right.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, O Lord,
and your law is my delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and let your ordinances help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek out your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.”
This marks the end of Psalm 119, with David committing his words to God and asking for God’s deliverance. He ends with a request that God would seek him out, because while he remembers God’s commandments, he still is inclined to go astray. This can be our prayer to God today.
What do you find delightful about the law of the Lord?
How do you use your life and words as an instrument of praise to God?
In what area of your life do you feel yourself going astray and in need of being sought out by God?
Gracious God, thank you for the words of David that echo our own desires for you, as well as our need for you to rescue us and keep us in your ways by your Spirit. Help us to find our delight in you and your word so that in all we do, we are compelled by your love and truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
We’ve covered a lot of ground as we have prayed our way through Psalm 119 over the last few weeks. I invite you to take a few minutes to recall what you remember, what has stirred you, and where there is a new invitation in your journey with Christ.
Is there a word or phrase that comes to mind as you remember your time reading Psalm 119?
Where did you hear the word differently than before? Why was it that you heard it differently?
What is God inviting you to out of this psalm? What does it look like to accept his invitation?
Gracious God – you promise in Isaiah 55 that your word will not return to you without accomplishing the purposes for which you sent it. Thank you for revealing your heart to us in new ways through Psalm 119. As we remember what you have shown us, help it to sink into the deep fertile soil of our souls and reap a harvest that reflects you and fills us with the joy of knowing you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.