Once again, I begin today exhausted and run-down, already desperate for rest. Chronic fatigue and chronic illness often leave me feeling unable, overwhelmed even. Yet I know, like the Psalmist, that God’s Word contains the power to restore. So, here again, let’s dive into our source of strength, correcting our thoughts to follow His.
Gimel & Daleth
These two stanzas have similar emotional appeal. The Psalmist is clearly feeling low, the burdens of Christian life pulling him down. As we don’t know the author of this Psalm its hard to pin-down exactly what he refers to by “being a foreigner in the land (v. 19)” and “even princes sit and speak against me (v.23).” (The ESV Study Bible notes that vv. 21-23 are referencing Israelites who have rejected God’s commands and Israelite leaders that plot against the author. Many scholars posit that this Psalm was written, then, in the era of Babylonian captivity or, after, during the time of Ezra & Nehemiah).
Whatever the historical context, vv. 21-22 clearly indicate a rift in Israelite society, with some “wandering from [God’s] commandments” and looking upon those who didn’t stray with them with “scorn and contempt.”
We can relate. Following Biblical Christianity often goes against the grain of our culture. Add chronic illness and/or pain to the mix and it can feel like an outright attack. For me, its so hard to fight for God’s grace and patience to flow through me when my body is in physical turmoil. Further, I have my own sin nature to contend with – impatience, anger, self-righteousness, selfishness, etc. In those moments, hidden idols of comfort and ease are revealed. I often find myself pleading similar words to those of the Psalmist:
My friends, we have strength and truth at our fingertips. Each of the sixteen verses in our study today point us to God’s Word. Terms like law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, rules, and word all direct us to the ways God reveals Himself throughout the Bible.
The same disciplines we saw the Psalmist commit to in vv. 1-16 are important here again: to study, to delight, to recite, and to praise God’s Word. These practices need to become habits if we are to fight for the peace of mind God created us to crave. Following the Psalmist’s lead, we too need to begin by recognizing God leads us to His Truth – we can ask Him to reveal it to us, to “give [us] the privilege of knowing [His] instructions (v. 29)” and “expand [our] understanding (v. 32).” We can take comfort in knowing that God wants us to be in relationship with Him – studying, delighting, reciting, and praising.
Let’s stand on His promises and let the Truth seep into our daily being. We have a God who is steadfast and faithful, mighty to save, eager to be in relationship with us. Let’s seek Him this day.