Lesson 121: Psalm 119:176…
Psalm 119:176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.
This is a shocking conclusion to the longest chapter in the Bible, especially from someone who loved God and was spiritually mature. As much as the writer studied the Bible and tried to follow it, he found himself wandering away from God. This side of heaven there will always be a part of us that wants to stray. What a wretched man I am! (Romans 7:24), wrote Paul.
Thankfully, the good shepherd will not forsake us even when we wander. He will come looking for us, and will bring us back into his fold (Matthew 18:12-14). He is the one who saves, and he is the one who keeps (John 10:28).
Psalm 130:5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits.
Few things are more important to an obedient life than learning to wait for God. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:14), wrote David. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning (Psalm 130:6), wrote the Psalmist. And, Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18), wrote Isaiah.
One of the scariest moments in a trapeze act is when the flyer lets go of his trapeze, and waits for the catcher to catch him. Both agree the flyer must never try to catch the catcher, but must wait for the catcher to catch him. That is how it is with God sometimes. We might be waiting for a spouse, a promotion or something that only God knows. Waiting is not easy, but it is how we show our faith. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Psalm 131:2 I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.
Weaning occurred around age three, and was a rite of passage from infancy to childhood. Before weaning, children love their mother for who she is, but also for what they receive from her. After weaning, children love their mother without receiving her breast.
This is how David saw himself with God. He was less concerned with what he received from God, than simply being with God. David continued to make requests, but he was content to be in God’s presence. He was like a weaned child sitting with his mother.
Psalm 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.
David avoided sword and spear many times throughout his life. He must have been surprised, at times, to find he was still alive. As he thought about this he gave credit to God. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death (Psalm 68:20), he wrote.
A lady was cleaning the balcony of her ninth floor apartment when she toppled over the railing. She fell a hundred feet, but landed in a canopy above the entry. Likewise, a young man was not wearing his seatbelt when his car flipped over. He was catapulted into the air and landed in some power lines. They were insulated, however, and he was rescued without injury. God is the giver of life, and also the one who preserves it. Every day we should give him another reason to keep us alive.
Psalm 139:20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
Throughout the Psalms, God’s people sing praises to his name (Psalm 7:17), declare his name (Psalm 22:22), trust in his name (Psalm 33:21), exalt his name (Psalm 34:3), hope in his name (Psalm 52:9), fear his name (Psalm 61:5), love his name (Psalm 69:36), call on his name (Psalm 80:18), glorify his name (Psalm 86:12), rejoice in his name (Psalm 89:16) and extol his name (Psalm 145:2). But it is characteristic of the wicked to misuse God’s name.
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name (Exodus 20:7), wrote Moses. Ordinary profanity is a terrible sin (Ephesians 4:19), but it is immeasurably worse to misuse God’s name. And anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death (Leviticus 24:16), said God. This should no longer be enforced (Hebrews 8:13), but it reveals the seriousness of misusing God’s name.
God’s name should never be used as an exclamation, a casual expression, and certainly not as a curse. God’s name should only be used with the highest reverence; as when we are speaking directly to him. To misuse God’s name in anyway puts us in league with the devil–your adversaries misuse your name.
Reflection and Review
Why is it important to wait for God?
Have you ever nearly died?
Why is misusing God’s name a terrible sin?