“My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Your word. My eyes fail with longing for Your word, while I say, “When will You comfort me?” Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Your statutes. How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me? The arrogant have dug pits for me, men who are not in accord with Your law. All Your commandments are faithful; they have persecuted me with a lie; help me! They almost destroyed me on earth, but as for me, I did not forsake Your precepts. Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.” – Psalms 119:81-88 NASB
Last week I hoped that we, as God’s people, would see a picture of Him as a truly good shepherd. One of perfect love and perfect justice. One who chastises us, but also One who sighs with us in our pain. We looked at the 23rd Psalm as a prime example of these truths and saw that while David was in the valley of the shadow of death, he chose not to fear because God’s rod and staff comforted him.
In today’s section of Psalm 119, we will find David in such a place again. A place he would describe as soul-stopping and destructive. A time in which he felt helpless, desperately in need of comfort—a true dark night of the soul.
This is undoubtedly a place most of us have been, or maybe have come to of late. As Jordan Peterson has said, “You don’t need to scratch very far beneath the surface of most people’s lives before you find something truly tragic.” But no matter the case, these verses will provide much needed comfort.
But I warn you, they’re not the faux comfort we see from the world, or even the modern church. Nothing David said here will resemble self-help talk. Nor will these words leave us with an Instagram image of a man sitting serenely on a beach, looking off into the sunset. Instead, we will see a very real valley, a genuine hope, a belief in a God who is both loving and kind, and a faith that waits for God to move.Nothing David said in #Psalm 119 will resemble self-help talk. He doesn't leave us with an Instagram image of a man sitting serenely on a beach, looking off into the sunset. Click To Tweet
“My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Your word.” – Psalms 119:81 NASB
The term languishes means to stop or come to an end. And so, as I shared a moment ago, David had come to a soul-stopping place. Whatever the actual story was in that moment, what we know for sure is that David had enemies. Those enemies were people who disregarded God’s law, they forged lies against God’s anointed, and then those lies became a genuine form of persecution to David.
David had lost credibility. And, as we learned last week, he fervently desired God to restore his legitimacy. Yet in all of this, David waited for God to move. David didn’t execute his own judgment—although as king, he very well could have. Instead, David demonstrated his belief that vengeance belongs to God alone. Knowing that vengeance belongs to God is why David’s soul actually stopped for God’s salvation. It was his desire for God’s deliverance—not the enemy he faced—that brought him to an end.Knowing that vengeance belongs to God is why David’s soul actually stopped for God’s salvation. It was his desire for God’s deliverance—not the enemy he faced—that brought him to an end. Click To Tweet
It’s important to highlight that David didn’t just wait for God; he actively waited for the Lord. This is what we are to do in our waiting. This type of waiting isn’t sitting down with a pen and paper to write down all the ways you hope those who’ve hurt you in the past might suffer to your satisfaction. It also isn’t keeping such a record of wrong that you have nothing but pain and misery to meditate on.
And here’s a helpful idea that counters the teaching of today’s pseudo-Christianity, this type of waiting also doesn’t mean trying to find our hope in “positive” thinking. David was real with his pain, but he was also just as real in his belief that God’s word was life and revival for his soul.David was real with his pain, but he was also just as real in his belief that God’s word was life and revival for his soul. Click To Tweet
How does Psalm 119 change your view on self-help? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.