Psalm 119:33-40: Know And Experience God’s Transforming Power Through His Word    

We can speed up the process of our spiritual growth to maturity if, in prayer, we would be less occupied with circumstantial bliss and self-preservation and humbly cry to the Father to make us into the image of His Son.  We would turbo-charge the process if we added… obedience to His Word in all things.

 

V.33    “Teach me, O LORD, the way of Thy statutes, And I shall observe it to the end.
 
           “Teach me”.  This is a statement (and a position) of humility.  Are you on a humble learning curve with God, or do you have the Christian life all figured out?  If you’ve got God’s ways all figured out and in a neat little system, then you’ve got God in a box (your box) and His Spirit, who wants to sanctify you is probably quenched.  God’s ways are not our own and He will do things that we don’t expect in ways that we don’t expect.  Our mission needs to be to learn of His ways and commit to walking in them “to the end.”  If you have a hard time thinking of the “ways” of the Lord, just read the proverbs.  Do you have a question (about anything or any circumstance) or an issue that you are experiencing frustration about?   Pray this simple prayer asking God to teach you about that from His Word (assuming you are willing to read and study it).  And then tell Him, “God if you will teach me, I will obey what I learn.”  Watch God work powerfully in your life turning that area of frustration into blessing!

V.34    “Give me understanding, that I may observe Thy law, And keep it with all my heart.

            Give me understanding,” Sometimes we just don’t understand God’s Word.  But recognize one thing, it’s God’s will that we know His Word.  He has given you and me His Holy Spirit and with enough study and inquiry, we will find an answer to our sincere questions.  But note that the desire of the Psalmist is not to understand simply to satisfy in inquisitive heart, but an direct an obedient heart.  Asking God to give me understanding simply for the sake of understanding is not the point here.  The point is to gain understanding so I can be obedient.  However, realize there’s also a principle here that says you do not want to be obedient to a misunderstanding of God’s word.  We want to make proper application to a proper understanding of God’s word.  Understanding truth is the means to the end of obeying God and growing into a humble submissive relationship with Him and His will.  Pray that God will give you understanding and dispel the confusion, making sure that you’re willing to obey what you understand.  Humility, obedience and understanding all go hand-in-hand (cf. Prov. 2:1-5).  The Christian is blessed if he proves himself a doer of the Word and not a hearer only (Jas. 1:22-25).

 

V.35    “Make me walk in the path of Thy commandments, For I delight in it.

Make (or) ‘causeme to walk”.  This is a plea for God’s divine enablement in the walk of faith.  What an incredible prospect, that God can and will cause me to walk in the path of His commandments!  Next time you feel like you’re waffling spiritually or straying from the path; pray this prayer.  “Lord, please cause me to walk in the path of Your commandments!”  Pray it desperately and mean it.  Be willing to humbly read, study and know what He says about the matter; and as verse 34 says, be willing to obey.

Believer, You and I are already going to walk (or [live] a life), the question is will we walk in His path or our own?  I believe the scariest thing for the child of God is the prospect of getting off the path that God has for him.  There is no one more prone to trouble and disaster than a wandering sheep.  What a comfort to be able to pray that God would work in such a way as to cause me to stay walking in His perfect design for my life (which, of course, is always according to His revealed Word).

 

V.36    “Incline my heart to Thy testimonies, And not to dishonest gain.

Incline my heart,” The word used here literally means to “bow,” or to stretch out, spread out, extend, incline, bend etc.  News flash!… You and I, have a sinful heart that wants to stand straight up in rebellion to God.  That’s the natural man of the flesh.  As the passage says, “my heart is instinctively inclined toward dishonest gain (or personal gain).”  My heart is naturally selfish, which is rebellion.  I am so comforted by the notion that I can ask God to curb my rebellious heart into a heart of submission.   Again, this supplication is a supplication of humility.  The first step of reclamation of any sort is an admission of the problem.  Borrowing from AA, “My name is ___your name here___, and I am a rebellious sinner.”   Now, understanding and confessing what the real problem is (me); I go to God in humility and ask Him to bring my rebellious heart into gentle submission to Him.  How comforting to know that this heart transformation is not up to me.  I don’t transform my own rebellious heart – that’s God’s work.  But I need to acknowledge my need and bring it before Him.  The humble child of God asks the Lord to do His work in him.  The rebellious child of God forfeits this wonderful cooperative process and defaults this work done upon him apart from his own will –  we call that discipline and that always hurts (Heb. 12:3-11) ouch!  Our heart is so very important to our Father.  Just read some of the 770 something verses that reference the heart (look in your concordance under “heart”), and you will get a flavor for how God wants our whole heart.  He is a jealous Father and Jesus is a jealous Bridegroom.  Call out to Him to woo your wayward heart back into submission.

 

V.37    “Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Thy ways.

Turn my eyes away from looking at vanity”.  How distracted I get by the things of the world.  What a draw they have over my heart that seeks after personal gain.  My heart is naturally attracted to the vain-glory of the world and the flesh.  Again, as stated in verse 36, we must identify the problem and humbly pray this prayer. Guys, our eyes naturally drawn to vain things.  If you’re not willing to fight the battle of sexual lust by faith, going to God continually for the power to turn your eyes away from vanity, you will fall prey to the snare of the devil and your faith will be shipwrecked (and so will your marriage).

 

  • Men, we need the constant power of God in this area; without it we will fall.

 

revive me in Thy ways.”  Whenever I am drawn away from the things of God because of the things of the world, my heart suffers depression, despair etc.  The prayer here is for revival.  God’s will is for me to experience His abundant  life (Jn. 10:10) in my life now, not just in eternity!  Sin and a “wandering heart” cause the believer the truest form of heartache.  God wants to and will turn my eyes (or affections) away from the things that have such a powerful draw over me; but I need to turn to Him and ask Him.  He will revive me concerning His ways.  There’s a principle here that says that God does not only want us to avoid sin, but to enjoy sweet communion with Him.  He is not interested in a sin avoiding lifestyle if it doesn’t bring us closer to Him.  He is interested in our fellowship and it’s personal contact with Him in communion, that we will experience personal revival.  This is the daily bread for our soul.

 

V.38    “Establish Thy word to Thy servant, As that which produces reverence for Thee.

Think about the prospect!  I’m sinful, prideful and self-righteous simply because I am born in sin.  However, the essence of the Christian life is a life lived in the humility of faith.  And in this wonderful verse we find that if I am established in God’s Word, that He will work the most transforming (Christ-forming) virtue of humility in me (an impossible feat in and of myself)!  When the Word of God is established (built up as an edifice or standard) in the life of the believer, it actually produces humility in the sinner.  So there’s a definite correlation between God’s Word being built up in the believer’s soul and the humility of obedience; the two go hand-in-hand.  Ask God to let you understand His Word in such a way that it produces humility in your life.  This is what Paul says is the doctrine that conforms to godliness (I Tim. 4:6; 6:3).

 

V.39    “Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Thine ordinances are good.

Turn away my reproach”.  This is another way of saying, “God clean up my life!” or, “God here’s my messed up ‘reproach ridden’ life, I know Your Word is good, clean and righteous, please take my life and clean things up.”  This is the opposite of “boot-strap” religion.  Say to God in prayer, “God as long as I have had control of these circumstances, I have made a reproach (mess) of my life!  Now, I give/relinquish control to You and I choose to ‘let go’ by submitting to what Your Word says concerning the matter.  Now, if you will, clean me up.”  Read Ezekiel 37:1-10 and speak the Word of God to the dry bones of reproach in your life, and see God bring complete restoration and life into the messiest of situations!

 

V.40    “Behold, I long for Thy precepts; Revive me through Thy righteousness.

Behold, I have longed for Your precepts, give me life in Your righteousness”  This strophe ends like the other ones with a desperate plea from a desperate man.  Believer, lean to cry out to God for revival through His Word.  God is in the revival business.  Just as sin brings death; righteousness brings life.  God’s Word is called the “Word of righteousness” and the humble walk in righteousness.  The arrogant press on in rejection of God’s Word and in rebellion.  Desperate, thirsty men cry and long for revival and refreshment (Ps. 42:1-3; 119:131).  This abundant life comes from God’s righteousness in our life (both positional and experiential)

 

  • Maybe we need to experience a little desperation in order to taste of His Word of righteousness and see that the Lord, He is Good (Ps. 34:8).  Don’t try to revive yourself, the sinful nature can only produce arrogance and legalism, the flesh cannot bring life to the flesh.  Only God’s Spirit working through a heart leaning humbly on God and His Word will experience this wonderful work of revival.

 

Believer, “we are His workmanship,…” (Eph. 2:10a)