Do you find life in God's Word? (A Meditation on Psalm 119:25-28)
My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes! Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!
Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to get up and read the Bible? Wouldn’t it be nice, if every morning you could wake up earlier, make a nice cup of coffee and dive into the Word of God so as to be refreshed and ready for the day? Why is it that we have aspirations and make plans to study the Bible more, yet we rarely follow through with them? The Psalmist gives light to this answer in verse 25, “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” Each and every morning we wake up and have to fight for our soul. Our souls are clinging to this earth and its possessions. We are stone cold dead in the morning apart from God. We need life breathed into us. We need God to awaken our lifeless souls to the beauty and truths of His goodness.
The phrase “give me life” is mentioned over and over again in Psalm 119. The Psalmist is constantly pleading with God for life. What does he mean? Isn’t he alive already? Well, there are different ways the term “life” is given. For instance, those who are not children of God need to plead for life, because apart from God they are dead to spiritual things. Though they are not dead physically, they need to be born again spiritually so that they see Christ as more valuable than anything this world has to offer. That which is of the flesh is flesh, and that which is of the Spirit is Spirit (John 3:6).
However, there is yet another way to plead for life, and this is the cry for help from believers to God. Believers need to plead with God for life in His Word. The Psalmist is certainly alive to God and believes in the coming Savior of the world, so the cry for life in these verses must be the latter of the two cries for help. The Psalmist is like every one of us who trust in Christ for our salvation. He is in constant warfare with his flesh. He has to wake up every morning and plead for life. Paul says in his letter to the Galatians that “the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other” (Galatians 5:17). Without the Spirit’s awakening every day, we are sure to gratify the desires of the flesh. Our souls are clinging to the earth. We are bound to this earth as a result of the fall of mankind back in the Garden. Therefore, we need to plead for life and revival each day so that we may wage war on our flesh and the ruler of this world.
The Apostle Paul has this to say about his daily warfare with the flesh: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Rom 7:15). Paul had an understanding that there was a battle going on inside him between the Spirit and his flesh. His flesh was clinging to this earth and he needed the Spirit to fight against it. We need to realize this great war that goes on inside us and plead for God to do what only He can do: revive us again (give life).
The Psalmist sees the great chasm that is fixed between him and God, and he is humbly moved to confession over his sinful ways. With great sorrow over our sin, we too should be moved to godly grief. The Psalmist cries out that his soul melts away with sorrow. We should take note of this response to his own sin. Far too often we as Christians don’t linger over our sin, we are too quick to move on to the goodness of God. Though He is good and gracious we must not move past the reality of our sin too quickly. We must consider our sin and let the weight of our rebellion and depravity seep into our hearts so as to be moved to sorrowful repentance. David, after his sin with Bathsheba, being approached by Nathan, was broken over his sin. He cries out in Psalm 51, “let the bones that you have broken rejoice”. He understood his rebellion against a righteous God and it moved him to brokenness. Only by God working in us are we strengthened according to his Word. The Word of God strips us down and builds us back up again to new life. We rely on God for all things. We need Him to give us a new birth, and to strengthen us daily in the Spirit.
We also need understanding; verse 27 says “make me understand the way of your precepts.” When we study and read God’s word, we are lost without the Spirit giving us life. In Job 32:8 we see where this great understanding comes from. It is the Spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. What a humbling verse. It is no wonder the Psalmist is pleading for God to give him understanding. God is gracious, and He is willing to give good things (namely the Spirit) to those who ask. We should take great comfort in that. We have a good and gracious God. Our response to this understanding of God’s word, and the life he has given us, should be one of worship and meditation. When we see and savor the goodness of God, we will meditate on His wondrous works which are too vast for us to fully contemplate.
So, let us plead with God daily for life in His Word. Let us pray that He would breathe life into our dead hearts so that we may understand the love and goodness He has for us, and then be moved to joyous praise and worship in our meditation through the reading of the Word of God.