Part IV: small heart BIG HEART Psalm 119:25-32
The psalmist starts by telling us that he is laid low in the dust. He compares the state of his soul to that which is dead and buried in the ground. This is a cry of desperation and hopelessness. It's important to notice that in this state, he does not look inwardly for help, nor does he look to external things like success, money, relationships and/or accolades. His only hope is in God’s promise of life found in His Word. He asks for God to do the work that only God can do.
The psalmist describes the 'way' in which he confessed his sins (v.26 When I told of my ways…) and how God still draw near to him and forgave him. This beautiful reality, this act of grace, lead the psalmist to want to know more about what God requires from a life lived for Him.
This portion of Psalm 119 should remind us of the first 2 things Jesus said to his disciples on the sermon on the mount:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. - Matthew 5:3-4
The spirit of the psalmist is broken, knowing that only God can help, and he mourns his sins in hope that God will answer. He asks God to intervene so that he might understand the way of God’s precepts (v. 27).
A precept is a command or rule and they give instruction on how we are to live a life that honours and glorifies God. These instructions are made available through the study of God’s word.
We cannot just read one line from a paragraph out of a chapter or book in the Bible, (I call this the smash & grab of the Holy Scriptures) and expect to understand the full meaning of what that verse is meant to teach.
Just as the psalmist is saying, we must crave to learn the entire Word of God, and be led by the Spirit, to understand what God desires for our lives. By studying God’s character we can understand His precepts. Once we start to understand what He expects, our hearts will be compelled by the love of God for us to love others.
We will have no delight in the law of God until He purifies our minds, and makes them long for the taste of heavenly wisdom. The Psalmist understood that he needed more than knowledge; he also needed understanding. With both, he would meditate on God's wonderful works.
The psalmist’s problems made his soul heavy, feeling as if it would melt. He felt that he had no strength or stability. He prayed for strength, and that this strength would come from God's word.
In times of confusion and uncertainty, misery and pain, our need for wisdom and strength should heighten, and not just any wisdom or strength, but that which comes from God.
The Psalmist understood that if he were to give himself utterly and completely to God, to cling to His word like a shipwrecked person would cling to a floating piece of wood in the ocean, then, only then, could he trust that God would not allow him to be put to shame (v.31).
After beginning low in the dust, now the Psalmist is running.
He has moved in a beautiful progression, from confessing to choosing to clinging to running.
This, dear friends, is the progression of Gospel renewal.
How often do we find ourselves low in the dust? Let's be honest; monthly, weekly, daily?
This is how often we should be coming to the word of God, to have it poured over us, so that we might know we are loved more than we could ever imagine and that God wants to see us running with an enlarged heart, which simply means, a heart that is made bigger, stronger, better and more dedicated to the things of God and His Kingdom.
· When you feel like your life is failing apart, who or what do you run to, hoping to find understanding and/or security?
· What are some practical things you can do to remind yourself of God’s wisdom and strength over your life?
· Is there a passage of scripture that you can cling to in times of need and desperation, to assure you of Gods unconditional love for you? (Write it out, keep it close, memorize it)
Father God, my heart at times is heavy. I feel like I have to carry the burden alone. Words like overwhelmed, worried, exhausted and anxious seem to describe where I am. I am not sure how to let you carry my heavy load, so please show me how. Take it from me. Let me rest and be refreshed so that my heart may be enlarged to love you, your people and your word. In Jesus' name. Amen.