Tuesday, May 28, 2024

2024.05.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 119:25–32

Read Psalm 119:25–32

Questions from the from the Scripture text: What is the psalmist’s soul doing (Psalm 119:25a)? What does he ask for (versev25b)? According to what? What has the psalmist declared (Psalm 119:26)? Who answers/corrects him, and how? What way is an alternative (Psalm 119:27a)? How can he come to understand them? What is one means by which God does this (verse 27b)? What is happening to the psalmist’s soul (Psalm 119:28a)? What does he need from God (verse 28b)? By what means? From which way is he removed, when he moves from his way to God’s (Psalm 119:29a)? Whom (and how) does he need to give him to walk according to God’s law (verse 29b)? Which way has he chosen (Psalm 119:30a)? So, then, what has he done (verse 30b)? To what is he clinging (Psalm 119:31a)? What does he ask would not be the result of that clinging (verse 31b)? What will the psalmist do, in which way (Psalm 119:32a)? How will he be able to do this running (verse 32b)?

How can those returning to dust live forever? Psalm 119:25–32 prepares us for the opening portion of public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that dead sinners come to live forever by the Lord Himself, using His Word, to bring us into and keep us in the way of life.

The two ways. In this section of this great acrostic song/prayer, every line begins with the first letter in the Hebrew word for “way.” In fact, five of the eight verses begin with the word “way” (Psalm 119:26Psalm 119:27Psalm 119:29Psalm 119:30Psalm 119:32), while two begin with “cling” (Psalm 119:25Psalm 119:31) and one with “weep” (Psalm 119:28).  There are two “ways” to live: man’s way (Psalm 119:26a), the way of lying (Psalm 119:28a), and the Lord’s way (Psalm 119:27a), the way of truth (Psalm 119:30a). 

As the children of Adam, we must learn to be suspicious of our own ideas, our own feelings, and our own inclinations. As we learned in John’s preaching (cf. Matthew 3:1) and Jesus’s preaching (cf. Matthew 4:17), we need a complete change of mind—not merely a change of our opinions but a change of the very character of our mind. “Be ye converted!” This is what the psalmist is talking about, in Psalm 119:26, when he describes bringing his own ways before the Lord, and the Lord’s answering him. This is how we need to come to Scripture: as those who are coming before the Lord to receive His correction and instruction.

The Word is the way into the right way. More recently in Matthew, we have heard about the narrow gate (Christ alone), and the confined way, that leads to life (cf. Matthew 7:14). And how is it that we come to enter only by Who Christ is and only by what Christ has done (not at all by what we have done)? How is it that we come to walk as those who have Him alone as our righteousness, and Him entirely as our Master? By hearing His Words and responding accordingly (Matthew 7:24). Otherwise, we are dead. Otherwise our soul is clinging to the dust to which it will return (Psalm 119:25a). His Word is the means by which He revives us, the means by which He brings us into life (verse 25b). Either we will be clinging to His testimonies (Psalm 119:31a), or our souls will be clinging to that dust (Psalm 119:25a). 

The Lord is the way to walk by the Word. Those who do not believe what the Scriptures teach (especially to believe in Christ alone for salvation) and do what the Scriptures command will have their weeping in the great and eternal day. But blessed are those who mourn now (Psalm 119:28a), for when they come to that great day, they will not be put to shame (Psalm 119:31b). Here, the Word itself teaches us to walk as those who have chosen the Lord’s way (Psalm 119:30a). Those who are strengthened by the Lord Himself (Psalm 119:28b) have their heart “enlarged” (Psalm 119:32b) not just to walk, but to run, in the way of the Lord’s commandments (verse 32a). 

We must not be surprised when, having trusted in Christ alone for righteousness before God, we find the way difficult. The path is confined by His Word, and we are afflicted with our remaining sin. So, when we are weeping and clinging and crying out “who will deliver me from this body of death?” (cf. Romans 7:15–24), let us pray and sing with this stanza of Psalm 119. The Lord, Who uses His Word to apply Christ to us, will make us to answer, “Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (cf. Romans 7:25a). 

Who can bring you into the way of life? Who can keep you there? What is especially the means/instrument that He has appointed for doing this work? What use do you make of it at what times? How closely do your own emotions toward sin, toward spiritual life, toward the Word, and toward the Lord Himself, resemble the emotions of the psalmist in this stanza? If it is not very closely, Who can help you and how?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we are dust and deserve to return to dust. If we are going to worship You in life, it must be You Who revives us unto that life. Revive us, according to Your Word! Grant that our ways would be corrected in accord with Your ways, and bring us now to meditate upon Your wonderful works. By Your Spirit, strengthen us, according to Your Word, and enlarge our hearts, so that both in worship and in all of life, we will run in the way of Your commandments, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP119D “My Soul Clings to the Dust” or TPH119D “My Soul Is Sinking Down to Dust” 

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