A SOBER ENDING
I have gone astray like a lost sheep, seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments. Psalm 119:176
I am very emotional as I write today. It is the last devotional from Psalm 119. This chapter has been my home for nearly a year. I hope you are feeling sentimental about it, too.
When I first read David’s parting words, they seemed like a depressing way to end this chapter. After so much lofty praise for the Torah, with so much admitted longing for God’s ways, David reveals that he has gone astray. Isn’t that a bit strange?
Admittedly, I’ve been awake much of the night, wondering why he ended it like he did. Unless he were to explain it to us himself, there’s no real way to know his reasons but I have some hunches about it.
In nearly every verse in this long Psalm, David praises the scriptures and, simultaneously, points out his desperate need for it. Though he’s walked with God for a long time, he never seems to convey that he’s got this spiritual journey figured out. He does not coast in this latter part of his life but seems to admit that he still wages a battle within himself to stay true. His cries for God’s mercy are a sub-theme of this chapter.
A new Christian could easily look at an old saint and think that the journey is easier the longer one is on it. That is not true. The climb just gets steeper as the faith tests intensify. Because the daily look in the mirror of the Word only gets sharper, the realization of personal need only heightens.
This longest chapter in the Bible is meant to stir up deep affection for the Torah. It has done that for me because I care most about what I need the most. So, for all us lost sheep, whose bent is to stray without the firm hand of the Law whispering in our ear, we humbly cry out as David did. “Seek me! I do not forget your commandments. Amen” God is near and His breath is on our shoulders.