Summary: The psalmist prays for maturity and growth in this section of the Psalm
The psalmist here is PRAYING a prayer… reaching out to God for help and assistance in living FOR Him. His prayer is that God’s word would be ever more important and the focus of his life…let’s look at what he says over the next 8 verses…
17Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word.
The psalmist begins this section with a request for God’s help… the term he uses here for God’s actions toward him is translated here as ‘Deal bountifully’ and it is the Hebrew word gaw-mal’ which means to ripen or mature. What the psalmist is asking of God is to make him mature… to establish his life thru the word of God!
In the 1st 16 verses we have seen how intimate the psalmist has become with the Law of God and here is yet another example of his yearning for the Law of God… for the Word of God!
He is asking God to ripen him and mature him in his word, so that he can live a life that will honor His law… that his life would be a witness FOR His word and law… that his example would point others TO God!
Deal bountifully here means to mature, but it also means to wean (as a child)… now we all know that the weaning process of a child from his mother or from the bottle is a very difficult time… but it is also a time of necessity for the growth and maturation of the child!
The request that the psalmist makes here is noble in its gesture, but it is also a request that will place him in a difficult and unwanted position. Our flesh wants and desires comfort, NOT struggle! But we know that the human condition only moves forward in struggle… when we have nothing but comfort, apathy and complacency seep in and our spirit is spoiled and ruined!
The psalmist is calling for God to keep him on his toes… to hold his feet to the fire [so to speak]… Now I want you to think about how YOU are praying in your quiet times… Is your prayer, God hold me accountable? God keep me in line? God hold my feet to the fire?
OR is your prayer, God deliver me and make things better… God provide for me where I don’t know struggle or pain… You see there is NONE of us who WANT pain or struggle, but without pain and struggle, our spirit will be broken and ruined!
Have you ever heard the phrase, “No pain! No gain!” It is a term used by athletes in many sports and it is a reference to working hard and struggling to BETTER themselves, the work is hard and painful, but the gain is worth it!
Struggle in the Christian walk is something God uses to grow and mature us… In the book of James we read:
2Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
The NIV reads like this…
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Here the psalmist is seeking maturity from God through God holding him accountable to how he lives… and he says he desires to live according to the Law of God.
So what is YOUR desire today? Is it to mature in your faith and grow… because that can and will be a painful and uncomfortable journey, but we KNOW that even in the pain, discomfort and inconvenience… we will be better for it because we will GROW and mature and be a better witness for God!
The psalmist realizes his human frailty and sinful nature and he understands that without God’s word to guide him, he is lost and that only when God takes charge and reveals Himself that he will grow… so his prayer is NOT “God I want to see” it is really a cry for God’s intervention… He knows that without God’s intervention that he would never KNOW about the Word of God NOR understand its rich meanings NOR experience its great wisdoms…
Look what he says here in v.18…
18Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
He says, “Open my eyes…” which is a phrase that asks for God to reach down and intervene. The word used here is the Hebrew word gaw-lah’ and it literally means to capture or to carry away into exile…