This week in our reading of Psalm 119, I was struck by two verses in particular.
Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Hold me up, and I shall be safe, And I shall observe Your statutes continually. —Psalm 119:116-117
I sensed an inner struggle with the psalmist from the opening verses of this section of the psalm, and I can relate. The psalmist begins with a declaration about those who are double minded and then confirms his source of hope and refuge.
I hate the double-minded, but I love your law. You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. —Psalm 119:113-114
There seems to be some internal dialogue happening with the psalmist. You know, talking to yourself. We’ve all done it. We do on a daily basis when we rehearse that poor choice of words or reaction to someone that we later regret. We become weary when we’re rehearsing a particular sin that we can’t seem to conquer. We become weary in replaying that encounter over and over in our minds, unable to release it to the Lord’s care and forgiveness. We can become so weary in our waiting for relief and deliverance. We want it to stop. We want out. We want solutions.
“Double-minded people are people who know about God but are not fully determined to worship and serve him only. They are those who want both God and the world. They want the benefits of true religion, but they want their sin too … The Psalmist hates this double-mindedness; he also hates it in himself. “Otherwise, why does he continue by asking God to sustain him, according to his promise, and uphold him so that he might be kept from sin?” —Montgomery Boice
How appropriate that the fifteenth letter of our psalm, Samech, denotes a prop or pillar. Twice in two verses the psalmist cries out for God to uphold him. These are actually two different Hebrew words in the original text:
Uphold – to lean upon or take hold of; bear up; sustain, support.
Hold me up – to sustain, support, to refresh the heart, to comfort and and strengthen.
The psalmist had hope in the Word of God, which was not merely intellectual knowledge; it was relationship and security in God Himself, the God who was his hiding place and refuge.
Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; —Psalm 119:116
The psalmist acknowledges that without God’s support he could not live—physically or spiritually. This support would come according to God’s Word and it would be both consistent with God’s Word and find its source in God’s Word.
Hold me up, and I shall be safe, And I shall observe Your statutes continually. —Psalm 119:116
This is the second request in this brief section to be supported by the strength that comes from God, and especially through His word. In receiving this support and security, the Psalmist would use it for further obedience to God.
Are you weary from seeking help and deliverance from a situation in your life? Perhaps it is oppression from within—a habitual sin that seems to plague you regardless of how often you cry out for help. Perhaps it is oppression from without—a relationship or circumstance that has you at the end of your rope and battle weary. The psalmist relates just this experience and yet exclaims, I am Your servant; give me understanding.
My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation and Your righteous word. Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy, and teach me Your statutes. I am Your servant; Give me understanding, that I may know Your testimonies. —Psalm 119:123-125
This waiting expectation shows us that faith came before experience. The Psalmist was willing to have faith until the experience came, and would wait for God’s salvation, and wait as long as it took.
“He looked to God alone, he looked eagerly, he looked long, he looked till his eyes ached. The mercy is, that if our eyes fail, God does not fail, nor do his eyes fail.” —Charles Spurgeon
Give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies. —Psalm 119:125
In the psalmist’s quest for answers and relief from his situation, he prays for understanding. He’s not seeking the answer to “why me”, but prays for understanding so that he might know God in a greater and deeper way. God and His Word will continue to uphold him and direct his path as he journeys through this circumstance and all of life.
“It is remarkable that the Psalmist does not pray for understanding through acquiring knowledge, but begs of the Lord first that he may have the gracious gift of understanding, and then may obtain the desired instruction.” —Charles Spurgeon
If you are struggling this week and in need of refuge and refreshing, run to your safe hiding place found in the presence of God. Seek His Word and allow it to quench your thirsty soul and provide the nourishment and sustenance you need for the day. Look to Jesus and lean heavily into Him. Psalm tells us that God carries us through life from strength to strength. Read Psalm 84 and make it your prayer to the Lord.
Remember our God is…
- our refuge
- our hiding place
- our security
- our deliverer
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah. —Psalm 32:7
Rejoicing in Him!
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©2017 Susan Cady, susancady.com