“Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. The unfolding of Your Word gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, longing for Your commands. Turn to me and have mercy on me, as You always do to those who love Your Name. Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over me. Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey Your precepts. Make Your face shine upon Your servant and teach me Your decrees. Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for Your law in not obeyed.” -Psalm 119:129-136 Pe
I’m not sure the timeline from when the psalmist wrote this octave Pe, from the previous Ayin, but there is a continuation of thought and emotion. The writer declares his adoration for God’s statutes. He again asks for help against his oppressors. His heart breaks over those who do not follow God’s law. The psalmist desires to be taught by the Lord and live out his faith in holiness. These are marks seen throughout Psalm 119, but the similarities struck me particularly between the octaves Ayin and Pe.
One question worth asking each time we read Scripture is, “Who is God in this passage?” What does the text inform us about His character and promises? By beginning with this question we then rightly see who we are as image bearers living under the curse of sin, and our need for a Savior. In this passage God’s mercy is displayed. But why does God need to intervene at all? Is the psalmist merely asking for the Lord to deliver him from bullies and be a religious person? If the writer only desired to live a morally good life and have God save him every now and then from mean guys, his life would be in vain. Because all live and will die, what is the point of worshipping an unseen Divinity if all you do is seek to please Him between the dash line of your birth and death date?
I believe the psalmist sees more than the temporal. Even as he is afflicted, he knows there is more to life than the seen. God in His mercy, has revealed this truth to him. The Lord is merciful to all who draw near Him as the psalmist does. He does not give His children what they deserve, which is Hell. He does not keep His beloved in sin and ignorance. No, God blesses His sons and daughters with the gift of instruction, understanding and discernment. He gave us Himself through His Son Jesus on the cross. My sins and yours if you know Christ as Savior, are covered by the righteousness of Jesus. Therefore we can pray as the psalmist does, “Turn to me and have mercy on me, as You always do to those who love Your Name.”
God has turned away the hellfire and given each of His children a new heart, with spiritual sight to see the truest reality. Spiritual warfare is on the move and has been raging since the Fall. But God has delivered His people once and for all. He will continue to display His mercy and lovingkindness as it overflows from one day to the next. The Christian is taught, sustained and protected because of His covenantal promise. Those who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are His eternal sons and daughters.
Grace upon grace,
Growing deeper: Romans 11; 2 Corinthians 4; Hebrews 8