The Path of Life

169 “May my cry come before You, O 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, O LORD, and Your law is my 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.” -Psalm 119:169-176 Taw

The first two verses (vv. 169/170) are similar, both lifting up cries of supplication to the Lord. The psalmist seeks more understanding and deliverance according to God’s Word and promise. This is essentially the same thing since Scripture is one big promise of grace and salvation for the Christian. The next two verses (vv. 171/172) refer to the mouth, with speaking and singing truth. Matthew 12:34 says, “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”, which is a fitting way of saying whatever is in a man’s heart, good or evil, will come out in his conversation with others. It is God who taught the psalmist His ways, and in response, he has treasured the Lord’s righteousness found through the law. The writer knows it is the essence of truth, which is why acts of praise are ready on his tongue! 

The fifth verse (v.173) shifts from the psalmist’s response to God taking action. He prays for God to help him in his time of need. He knows and trusts God’s ways, yet this is the best prayer for saints in distress- “Help me”. In the last three verses (vv.174-176) the psalmist asks for quickening as he lives and breathes, so that he may serve the Lord he loves even better. Yet the writer is also aware of how deceitful his own heart is, as with every one of us, this side of Heaven. The psalmist is honest before God with how he falls short. He strays like a lost sheep, prone to wander, enamored by temporal baubles or distressed with present circumstances. These lesser things occupy his desires and thoughts more than the eternal at times. His prayer is succinct: “Seek thy servant”. Even when we stray, God’s children cannot wander for long without the loving Hand of correction close by. The psalmist knows he belongs to God and longs to be safe in his Shepherd’s arms once more. He has not forgotten God’s commands which illuminate the path of life, therefore he desires to finish well before meeting his Savior face to face. All the way our Savior leads those who have been entrusted to Him. None are lost. The Lord is their salvation now and forevermore. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Psalm 16:11; John 17:6-12; Hebrews 12:1-15

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