“Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to Your promise.” -Psalm 119:154
Here is the first of the psalmist’s plea for preservation. Other translations say “revive” or “give me life”. It is a quickening. The writer asks God to sustain him during his trial. Whether he means physically to keep him alive or his spiritual vitality I do not know. Perhaps it is both. If David penned this psalm, then we know he was surrounded by Saul’s men constantly, hunted down as an animal. They were many in number and strong. Only God could protect him. We do need our bodies and minds to work properly in order to serve God. There is everything right with praying for God’s physical protection. Yet if we are spiritually stagnant, what use are we to God or anyone else? It’s like using a dull ax to chop wood. It is appropriate to pray for life abundant in Jesus- more grace, more love, more of Christ in us.
The psalmist asks the Lord to defend and redeem him. Why? This is not necessarily to save his own skin, but so that the work of God might continue in his heart, mind and soul. He is asking for further transformation and perseverance. If the psalmist is preserved, both physically and spiritually, he may continue on the pilgrim road. His work is not yet done which is to the psalmist’s benefit, as he is pruned little by little, to reflect his Savior. On this particular verse John Gill comments, “Christ is the advocate of his people, their Redeemer, who is mighty, and thoroughly pleads their cause against the accusations of Satan, the charges of law and justice, and the condemnation of their own hearts; as well as defends their innocence from the calumnies of wicked men, and rights their wrongs, and redresses their grievances;”. Paul writes in his letter to the Roman Christians, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) The psalmist can look forward to the future graces of his spiritual inheritance knowing God is on his side and will intercede for him. El Shaddai defends His beloved permanently from the invisible realities because He has overcome death and Satan. The Serpent Crusher is greater than the one who is in the world.
Grace upon grace,
Growing deeper: John 15:18-27; Romans 8:28-39; Ephesians 6:12-13; Hebrews 10:5-23