God’s Restoring Word

Psalm 119:169-176
Let my cry come before You, O LORD;
Give me understanding according to Your word.
Let my supplication come before You;
Deliver me according to Your word.
My lips shall utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.
My tongue shall speak of Your word,
For all Your commandments
are righteousness.
Let Your hand become my help,
For I have chosen Your precepts.
I long for Your salvation, O LORD,
And Your law is my delight.
Let my soul live,
and it shall praise You;
And let Your judgments help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
Seek Your servant, for I do not
forget Your commandments.

Do you ever feel lost? Like you have strayed from the path you know and cannot find your way back? Sometimes, even those who know Christ find themselves overcome by their sinful choices and unable to see a way out. The threat of despair and the temptation to give up are very real dangers, but the solution is not to find our way back through self-reformation or resign ourselves to always falling victim to our flesh. Instead, we ought to consider the response of the Psalmist in the last verse of this majestic hymn and cry out for the Good Shepherd to seek us out in His mercy, bind up our wounds and restore us by His grace. His word teaches us that deliverance from sin is not given to those who are already perfect, but to those who turn to the Lord for forgiveness and mercy.

Throughout this Psalm’s final stanza, the Psalmist emphasizes his complete helplessness and dependence on God’s favor. Not only does he lack wisdom and the ability to save himself, he cannot depend on the strength of his own hand. In fact, he cannot even demand that God hear his prayer or allow his soul to continue living. It is with this understanding of his own weakness and need that he cries out to God to listen and respond by graciously giving him understanding and deliverance. God’s word is the medium through which both of these come, and so we, like the Psalmist, must be diligent in meditating on the Scriptures for wisdom and the power to free us from sin’s control. Why then would we rejoice in our weakness? Because in our frailty we come to God’s word for help and find that His righteousness is revealed in its pages and is in fact offered to us through faith in His word. We learn through the Scriptures that God’s hand is mighty to save, and that this salvation is wholly His gift to the one who delights in God’s law.

So we must humble ourselves before Him in order to receive this gracious salvation, which causes praise and exaltation to spring from our lips, not in self-righteousness but acknowledging our own unworthiness before God. And this same grace which saves those us when we trust in him restores us to fellowship when we have gone astray, so that we truly have no reason to boast. Let us remember, then, not to wallow in self-pity when we fall but to cry out for our Shepherd to find us wherever we have strayed and carry us back on His shoulders. Then, because His mercy and forgiveness know no bounds, let praise flow freely from our mouths as we exalt His glorious name and the marvelous, restoring Word of God.

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