Stay In Touch

Psalm 119:169-176

“Stay in touch”, how we often end a conversation. Other person assures us, “I sure will”, we part expecting to hear from them before too much time passes. Then months go by, maybe even wonder if they’re still alive! Suddenly, unexpectedly get call / message, contact is renewed again. Every time we approach Heavenly Father he says, “Stay in touch.” And then what do we do? Uh-huh, we all go away intending to faithfully keep our commitment to depend on God. And… sooner or later we fail to do so.

Have gone through the whole alphabet of truth about God’s Word, how precious and important and great a resource it is for us. Conversation is coming to an end, Psalmist’s response not “Ok, got my Bible, just me and my Bible, good to go, set for life”. Far from it. Instead, shows clear grasp of dependence on God and his Word – neither one alone is sufficient. Not because there’s something missing on God’s part; is the way he has chosen to instruct and guide and encourage us. We must depend on both moment by moment, staying in constant touch as sheep who depend on their shepherd.

But how do we do that where the rubber meets the road? Can’t go through life on our knees with eyes closed. What shall we do? Stay in touch by praying, stay in touch by praising, stay in touch by pleading. In other words, live dependently!

A. praying v.169-170

my cry

by no means the boast of one who thinks he has arrived – seen it all, covered all the bases from A to Z, just ride it out to the end

as humbly dependent on God at the end as at the beginning, still firmly confident of hearing, that prayer will not go unanswered

“let my cry come near to you right before your very face” – never need worry that our cry to God will get busy signal, call forwarded, call waiting; God doesn’t use caller ID or secretary to screen

cry / request is for further understanding of what has been revealed, not new revelation; no charismatics here!

understanding / discernment: what does God’s word mean, how does it apply, which principles relate to present situation

reflects strong desire to do what is right / pleasing to God, based on right principles, done for right reasons / motivation

expresses recognition that only God has all the information, sees with perfect clarity, must be the one guiding in order to reach right end

also good prayer anytime when seeking to benefit from God’s word, whether for specific situation or not

shows we don’t take illuminating work of Holy Spirit for granted; also reminds us of dependence on Holy Spirit for understanding

further keeps mindful that to navigate life in way pleasing to God, must be looking through right worldview – interpreting world / life based on God’s word, not other way round

my supplication

parallel request to v.169 – that God would hear prayer offered by psalmist: hear my cry, hear my supplication

request shows not only commitment to prayer, also good familiarity with Bible – Lord you said…., I’m asking you to make good

perfectly acceptable to “pray the promises”, any that apply; here specific one requested is deliverance, perhaps from political/military enemies

enemies come in different forms, some seen and others unseen – need God’s deliverance from all of them

especially need his deliverance from spiritual enemies – “deliver us from evil (or the evil one)” – the ones that would encourage or entice us to disobey, to doubt

absolutely essential we stay in touch with God on this score – apart from him we have zero effective resources

we can’t see spiritual enemies, can’t engage them directly; our task is to stand against the wiles of the devil

the armor of God w/o continual dependence on God, help from God will be just as useless as Saul’s armor to David

ultimate deliverance the one Paul prayed for – Rom. 7:24O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

“It is not the voice of one desponding or doubting, but of one breathing and panting after deliverance. …from this dead body, this carcass of sin, to which I am inseparably fastened, as noisome [nauseating] every whit to my soul as a dead carcass to my senses.” Matthew Poole

one of best promises – full and final deliverance of all remaining sin – “Deliver me according to Your promise.” (1 Cor. 15:50ff)

B. praising v.171-172

my lips

for both this statement / verse and next, no object identified – to whom is he speaking his praise for God and his word?

can be rightly understood two ways: will praise God to his face in worship and prayer, will praise God to others whether in church or prayer meeting or elsewhere

is increasing opposition to Christians doing this in public sphere – but language psalmist uses indicates inner compulsion: “May praise gush from my lips” NET

source of praise, material for praise so excessively abundant – is under great pressure, beyond individual’s power to restrain – picture is wadi in flood stage

Luke 6:45“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

doesn’t consider opposition, allow it to restrain his praise – says what he must without regard for consequences; as a prayer, shows commitment to praise and also request for God’s help to praise

focus here on relationship – praise because God has condescended to teach; notice: is in present tense, expressing incompleted action

God has taught him in the past, is teaching him in the present, will continue to do so in future – ongoing relationship, staying in close touch as teacher/student

my tongue

not the grudging kind of praise that comes from unwilling compulsion; comes from recognition of rightness of God’s rules/principles

has benefited from and made application of God’s teaching referenced in previous verse, then seen / experienced benefits

likely that he is not speaking to God about these things; instead expressing with joy and excitement what he has learned

is another expression of commitment – declaring his intention to communicate principles from / about God’s word to others

is looking at life and situations thru lens of Bible, recognizes how biblical principles apply, understands how things would improve if things were done God’s way… and speaks up

just like praise overflows, so God’s truth permeates thought and speech – even if not quoting Bible verses, their truth is embedded in conversation

C. pleading v.173-176

I need your help

is reasonable to expect God’s help since God’s principles define lifestyle – is certainly consistent with what God repeatedly promised his people

is also statement of need – acknowledging that God’s help is essential to live according to biblical principles, impossible without it – God’s law by itself shows right way, also shows our need, does nothing to enable achievement

I need your salvation

totally opposite of unbeliever’s position – I long for Your salvation vs. I’m satisfied I can save myself… if I need saving

in fact, unbeliever doesn’t want God’s salvation if God comes along with it; maybe wants some of God’s benefits if he can pick and choose, enjoy with no strings

both need and desire expressed here: not simply wanting for sake of having, rather longing that is attached to Giver

the one who truly delights in God’s word delights in God and longs for his favor, approval, blessings he promises… because is one he loves who promises and supplies them

motivation is important – pleas for help and blessing along with efforts at obedience must be driven by love for God and desire to please him

side note: if right motivation in any area is lacking, ask for God’s help with it; if obedience is a burden, if Bible reading is chore, if prayer and praise is flat and unfeeling, ask God to change your desires… and keep doing right

I need life

immediate request for physical life – give me life and breath to praise you; important note: God is source of life, has rights over it, has not granted us right to reject his gift of life or take away another’s without consequences

applies to the unborn, aged, incapacitated, as well as those with no hope: are usurping God’s authority and insulting his image to unlawfully take life, whether our own or another’s

can easily be applied to need for spiritual life, as stated (even though figure of speech) “let my soul live”

are utterly dependent on God for soul life, from his initial calling out of darkness to preserving our souls and eventual uniting with new body – absolutely nothing we can do to generate that kind of life

when God provides spiritual life to our soul, we must praise him for it; when he sustains spiritual life, we must praise

I need your guidance – I’m lost, come find me

“He is not to be understood as here confessing his sins, — an opinion erroneously held by many, — as if he had been drawn into the trails of Satan; for this is inconsistent with the second clause, in which he denies that he had forgotten God’s law.” Calvin

so what is solution? remember struggle Paul describes in Rom. 7:14ff – war between what he does and what he knows

when we are born again, are freed from slavery to sin but not free from sin – still clouds our thinking, perceptions, actions

psalmist is doing best he can but has lost his way because he can’t see clearly; needs God to come find him, lead him back to the path he lost in the dark

to summarize last 4 verses: I need your help, I need your salvation, I’ll die without it, I’m lost without you – dependence and devotion

Stay in touch – use all resources God has given to do so: prayer, Bible study, meditation, corporate teaching and preaching, public worship. God makes available everything we need to follow him; he expects us to take advantage of all of them, use them to the utmost, constantly mindful of our total dependence on him.

 

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