THE "I AM'S" IN PSALM 119
It has been said that this Psalm "Contains the anatomy of experimental religion, the interior lineaments of the family of God." Its twenty-two sections, are so many strings of pearls, linked together by the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, and representing every phase of Christian experience. It is a song of joy and rejoicing in the Word of God, which is referred to under ten different names. Luther set a high value on this Psalm, declaring that he "would not take the whole world in exchange for a leaf of it." Note some of the "I am's."
I. —"I AM A STRANGER IN THE EARTH" (v. 19). There is nothing in all the earth that can fully meet the needs of a "Man of God." He has not where to lay his heart, as Christ had not where to lay His head. Holy men of old "All died in faith declaring plainly that they seek a country" (Heb. 11:13-14). The man of the world is no stranger in the earth, it is his home; but the Christian's citizenship is in heaven.
II.—"I AM A COMPANION OF THEM THAT FEAR THEE" (v. 63). Strangers in a foreign land, who have come from the same country, naturally draw one to another (Mal. 3:16). These, in fellowship with God, should be found in fellowship with one another. Surely those who are to be our companions in eternity should be our choice companions now. Such a testimony is greatly needed.
III.—"I AM BECOME LIKE A BOTTLE IN THE SMOKE" (v. 83). Through adverse circumstances I am like a shrivelled "Wine-skin" (Josh. 9:4). A bottle in the smoke is in the place of trial and testing; while in this evil world, the Christian must come into contact with its smoky influence, and must patiently endure as seeing Him who is invisible like the Hebrews in the fiery furnace: and like Job.
IV.—"I AM THINE, SAVE ME" (v. 94). Though in the smoke of perplexity and helplessness, it is comforting to be able to say "I am Thine." Thy property, (Acts 20:28), Thy workmanship (Eph. 2:10), He can as easily save us in the smoke, as the youths in the furnace of fire, and also from it, without the smell of it on the garments.
V.—"I AM AFFLICTED; QUICKEN ME" (v. 107). "He suffered... that He might succour them that are tempted" (Heb. 2:18). Divine quickening is the remedy for a sorrowing, sinking soul. The affliction may be heavy, but with His "abundant life" there will be an easy victory. He quickens the languid heart by His word of promise and spirit of power.
VI.—"I AM AFRAID OF THY JUDGMENTS" (words) (v. 120). Every truly quickened soul will tremble at His Word, and into such, He will look, (Isa. 66:5). It is a characteristic of the tender obedient child. All heaven must be astonished at those who do not fear the Lord (Rev. 15:4). This is not the fear that hath torment.
VII.—"I AM THY SERVANT" (v. 125). Thy willing slave, since Thou hast ransomed me from the slavery of sin (Rom. 6:16-20), as Thy servant, "give me understanding," teach me what Thou wilt have me to do—not my will, but Thine be done.
VIII.—"I AM SMALL AND DESPISED" (v. 141). This is his own, and the world's estimation of the servant of God. Small, compared with the full stature of Jesus Christ, and despised as He was; but fear not thou worm Jacob; I will help thee saith the Lord. He can use small things.