It might seem as though the psalmist began the sixteenth section of Psalm 119 in a proud, boastful way. In verse 121 be begins: "I have done judgment and justice." Is this not a boast of what he did? And then in verse 123 he writes: "Mine eyes fail for Thy salvation, and for the word of Thy righteousness." Have we not here a proud boast of how pious and spiritual he is?
Well, look carefully at verses 121-124. You will find in them five things that he wrote, which reveal that he speaks not in pride but in childlike humility before God. He writes: "Leave me not to mine oppressors. Be surety for Thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me. Deal with Thy servant according to Thy mercy, and teach me Thy statutes." Or, as our versification presents this passage:
I have followed truth and justice;
Leave me not in deep distress;
Be my help and my protection,
Let the proud no more oppress.
For Thy word and Thy salvation,
Lord my eyes with longing fail;
Teach Thy statutes to Thy servant,
Let Thy mercy now prevail.
When he speaks of what he did, and how he longs for salvation and God's word of righteousness, he is confessing what God wrought in him and not what he brought to God. Then too, twice he humbly confesses himself to be God's servant and expresses the desire to be taught by God.
And what we ought to be taught here by God, Who used the psalmist to speak to us, is that we must confess unto God in song and prayer what He has done for us in His grace. Yes, when we sing, we should be singing to God. He wants to hear us confess what we have by His grace. He created us so that we could and would. And we must pray to God for protection not only from pain and persecution, but also from falling into sin. We must pray to God that He will teach us how in every circumstance of our lives we can walk in judgment and in justice.
Not to be overlooked is also our calling to pray for our salvation and God's word of righteousness. We must long and pray for the day of salvation when Christ completes it and we walk in perfect righteousness.
Read: Psalm 119:121-136
Psalter versification: 336:1
(Words and Music of the Psalter)
Meditations on the Heidelberg Catechism
Song for Meditation: Psalter number 404
Why not sing along??
Through the Bible in One Year
Jeremiah 4:19-31 ; Jeremiah 5 ; Jeremiah 6:1-15
Colossians 1:18-29 ; Colossians 2:1-7
Quote for Reflection:
When the Holy Spirit has been given to a man, “he inflames him to the love of God and of his neighbor.” But while this flame of love sheds its light on all the faculties of the soul, its radiance is exercised particularly on the will….The divine ardor which emanates from it (charity, MD) rectifies the will and directs it toward what is good. The will is so affected that it takes a genuine delight in what is good. This (love) is “the movement of the soul toward the enjoyment of God for his own sake.”
(Thomas Hand, quoting St. Augustine on “Prayer”)