In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth. Psalm 119:88
Psalm 119 is the expression of extremes. The writer (most think it is David) is in desperate straights and speaks about most everything in the context of life and death. “Your Word is life to me.” “I languish for Your saving hand.” If any of us are in pleasant circumstances with our needs numbed out by pleasure, we will not track with the strong speech found within this chapter.
The psalmist’s words today are gut wrenching. To paraphrase this out of the Hebrew language, the meaning takes on even more desperate overtones. Here it is. “Because you are so kind, keep me alive so that I preserve the testimonies of your mouth.” It is not made clear whether David is in physical danger or spiritual danger. But when threats against either are high, it really doesn’t matter, does it? The truth is ~ God is the giver of life whether we need a physical resurrection or a heart preserver.
If you are looking for a Psalm to ponder out of mere interest, this is not the one for you. A dispassionate reader will never know life change. This Psalm is meant for those who know they would be ‘walking dead’ without the swift and life-saving hand of God. Many of you are walking on hot coals everyday. Your heart is bombarded with regret and the pressure to survive another’s cruelty, or any other circumstance which threatens to snuff the life out of a person’s soul. The weight is so great as to make you throw up your hands and say, “I quit. I’m numbing out to life. It’s too painful to care anymore.”
Ah, this verse is for you and me whenever we’re in that situation.
Oh God, you are kind. You reach down and keep my faith alive when I ask you. I can’t even decide to follow you. The desire, even for that, is a gift out of the kindness of your heart. Amen