In Part 2 of the Psalm 119 Devotional, we see the Longing For God which the psalmist so eloquently expresses in multiple ways in verses 33-72. The first section – He, the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet – is a prayer showing a request and a result as we long for God, His ways, His words, His help, and His righteousness:
- Give me revelation about the meaning of Your ways so that I can enjoy the reward of following them fully.
- Give me an understanding heart so that I can passionately know and obey your truth.
- Guide me into the paths that please you, for I take delight in all that you say.
- Cause my heart to bow before your words of wisdom and not to the wealth of this world.
- Help me turn my eyes away from illusions so that I pursue only that which is true; drench my soul with life as I walk in your paths.
- Reassure me of your promises, for I am your beloved, your servant who bows before you.
- Defend me from the criticism I face for keeping your beautiful words.
- See how I long with cravings for more of your ways? Let your righteousness revive my spirit!
It would require writing a book to look fully into each verse in this one section of Psalm 119. I love the contrast in each verse. It is a prayer, asking God for revelation, an understanding heart, guidance into paths pleasing to God, making the heart humble, turning your eyes away from illusions, drenching your soul with life, the reassurance of God’s promises, defense from criticism and a request for God’s righteousness to revive our spirit.
The first word, or first few words of each verse are a request for action from God toward the writer – give, give, guide, cause, help, drench, reassure, defend, see, and let.
Each request is followed by a result.
- A revelation about the meaning of God’s ways = enjoying the reward of following then fully
- An understanding heart = passionately knowing and obeying God’s truth
- A heart that bows before God’s words of wisdom = the ability not to bow before the wealth of the world
- Eyes turned away from illusions = pursuing what is true
- A soul drenched with God’s life = walking in God’s paths
- The reassurance of God’s promises = bowing before God
- God’s defense of criticism aimed toward us = keeping God’s beautiful words
- Longing for more of God’s ways = a spirit revived by God’s righteousness
The writer is not demanding any of these things. Instead, he realizes that, because of God’s innate goodness, the results mentioned are simply a natural outcome of the request. The writer’s longing for God includes a longing to understand all of God’s ways.
May your tender love overwhelm me, O Lord, for you are my Savior and you keep your promises.
I’ll always have an answer for those who mock me because I trust in your word.
May I never forget your truth, for I rely upon your precepts.
I will observe your laws every moment of the day and will never forget the words you say.
I will walk with you in complete freedom, for I seek to follow your every command.
When I stand before kings, I will tell them the truth and will never be ashamed.
My passion and delight is in your word, for I love what you say to me!
I long for more revelation of your truth, for I love the light of your word as I meditate on your decrees.
Except for the first verse in this section, this is the ‘me’ section! The writer is telling God how much he wants God’s love to overwhelm him and affirms his trust in God. Then, he goes through a list of personal affirmations. I:
- will always have an answer
- trust in Your word
- never forget your truth
- rely upon your precepts
- observe your laws every moment
- seek to follow your every command
- will even tell kings the truth
- will never be ashamed
- find my passion and delight in Your word
- love what you say to me
- long for more revelation
- love the light of Your word
- meditate on Your decrees.
If you ever want to know what a positive confession looks like, this is it! It isn’t bragging. It is the writer’s statement of faith and intent as he walks with His God and stays in His word. The writer’s longing for God causes him to trust God more and more.
- Lord, never forget the promises you’ve made to me, for they are my hope and confidence.
- In all of my affliction I find great comfort in your promises, for they have kept me alive!
- No matter how bitterly the proud mockers speak against me, I refuse to budge from your precepts.
- Your revelation-light is eternal; I’m encouraged every time I think about your truth!
- Whenever I see the wicked breaking your laws, I feel horrible.
- As I journey through life, I put all your statutes to music; they become the theme of my joyous songs.
- Throughout the night I think of you, dear God; I treasure your every word to me.
- All this joy is mine as I follow your ways!
Here the writer shows an action whether done by himself, God, or done to him by others and the result.
Longing for God:
- His constant remembrance of God’s promises to him become his hope and confidence.
- In affliction, God’s promises bring great comfort and keep him alive.
- Even when he is being mocked, he will not budge from God’s precepts.
- God’s revelation-light brings encouragement to him every time he thinks of God’s truth.
- The wicked violate God’s precepts, and he feels horrible.
- Throughout his life, he has made God’s laws into songs and they are the theme of his joyous songs – again, he finds joy.
- He thinks of God in the night and again treasures every word.
- All joy is his as he follows God’s ways.
This section tells us how the writer maintains his life of faith. He constantly keeps God’s promises and precepts in the forefront of his mind. In turn, the promises and precepts give him hope, confidence, comfort, strength, encouragement, sorrow when they are broken, joy, treasures, and more joy. The writer’s longing for God is increased as he finds his comfort in God.
- You are my satisfaction, Lord, and all that I need, so I’m determined to do everything you say.
- With all my heart I seek your favor; pour out your grace on me as you promised!
- When I realize that I’m going astray, I turn back to obey your instructions.
- I give my all to follow your revelation-light; I will not delay to obey.
- Even when temptations encircle me with evil, I won’t forget for a moment to follow your commands.
- In the middle of the night I awake to give thanks to you because of all your revelation-light; so right and true!
- Anyone who loves you and bows in obedience to your words will be my friend.
- Give me more revelation of your ways, for I see your love and tender care everywhere.
Here in this section, we see someone whose life is enmeshed in God. He is completely devoted to God in every area of his life. He even chooses his friends based on their devotion to God! God is all that we need. We:
- give our heart,
- turn back from sin,
- give all to follow God without delay,
- never forget to follow God’s commands,
- give thanks always,
- and see His love and tender care everywhere.
Totally devoted to God in every part of our lives just like the writer of this section of Psalm 119, our longing for God causes us to be devoted to Him.
- Your extravagant kindness to me makes me want to follow your words even more!
- Teach me how to make good decisions, and give me revelation-light, for I believe in your commands.
- Before I was humbled I used to always wander astray, but now I see the wisdom of your words.
- Everything you do is beautiful, flowing from your goodness; teach me the power of your wonderful words!
- Proud boasters make up lies about me because I am passionate to follow all that you say.
- Their hearts are dull and void of feelings, but I find my true treasure in your truth.
- The punishment you brought me through was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me your ways.
- The words you speak to me are worth more than all the riches and wealth in the whole world!
Here is a person who has gone through a difficult passage of life. He wandered, went astray, because he did not follow God’s precepts. At some point, he fell. He was humbled and when he looked up from this point of despair, he said this was the ‘best thing that could have happened to’ him. His trial taught Him God’s ways and now he is hungry for all God will give him. He is also grateful. He depends on God to teach him and acknowledges God’s power and wisdom. Now, he sees everything God does as beautiful and that it flows from His goodness.
Longing for God
After a great trial and redemption by God, his response is to be passionate to follow God because he finds his treasure in God’s truth. God’s words are worth more than anything this world has to offer.
This really sounds like David to me. If you read Psalm 51, David was completely broken, contrite, repentant, and falling on God’s grace and mercy to restore him. Whenever we go through times of failure to follow God’s ways, we can look at these Psalms and have hope. David’s longing for God taught him that God’s love and His words were his true treasure.
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You might also enjoy the 24 Day Challenge – Renewing Your Mind and Conscience. This includes a Devotional Guide, Scripture Cards, and more!