Summary: The psalmist suffers affliction. He is dogged by the wicked, persecutors, enemies, & treacherous people. His crises cause him to beseech God to step in and renew him in the Spirit of the Lord (CIT)
PSALM 119: 153-160 [The Ministry of The Word Series]
REVIVE US WHO LOVE YOUR WORD
In this section [Resh the 20th letter in the Hebrew alphabet] the psalmist draws still nearer to God in prayer, and gives reasons why the Lord should answer him. With boldness he pleads his intimate connection with the Lord's Word as why he should be answered. The special blessing that he seeks is personal revival, for which he cries to the Lord again and again.
The theme of revival has appeared previously in verses 25–32. In fact it recurs throughout Psalm 119 (vv. 37, 40, 44, 88, 107, 149). The prayer for revival is voiced in this stanza in verses 154, 156, and 159. The psalmist suffers affliction (v. 153). He is dogged by the wicked (v. 155), persecutors, enemies (v. 157), and treacherous people (v. 158). His crises cause him to beseech God to step in and renew him in the Spirit of the Lord (CIT). [Williams, Donald. The Preacher's Commentary Series, Vol. 14: Psalms 73-150. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989, S. 378.]
I. REVIVAL ME BECAUSE OF MY CIRCUMSTANCES, 153-154.
II. REVIVAL ME BECAUSE OF MY ENEMIES, 155-158.
III. REVIVAL ME BECAUSE I LOVE YOUR WORD, 159-160.
The psalmist again calls on God to deliver him because he had not forgotten His Word (vv. 153-154). Verse 153 opens with a plea that God respond to the psalmist's affliction by rescuing him. "Look upon my affliction and rescue me, for I do not forget Your law."
The writer's presents his case before God for divine arbitration. He is bold to ask because he has not forgotten God's Word. His affliction would not drive him away from God's Word nor could it lead him to act contrary to His divine commands. It is this very law which has assured him that God is his deliverer [rescuer, lit., "to extricate"].
His obedience to God's law indicates that he takes his relationship with God seriously and thus can expect God to takes His part in their covenant relationship seriously also. Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you" (John 15:7). One of the secrets of prayer is to pray the Scriptures. James says, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss (4:2, 3). Many of our prayers are not answered because we don't pray in accordance with Scripture. If you want an effective prayer life, pray the Word.
Having asked to be delivered the prayer in verse 154 indicates a way it could be accomplished. "Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your Word.
The psalmist asks God to be his advocate, to plead his cause. If this happens, not only will he be justified before his enemies, but he will be redeemed from the bondage of his affliction.
He then asks God to keep His promise and, "Revive me according to Your Word." Revive me is the key phrase in this section (vv.154, 156, & 159). It could mean "keep me alive, make me alive, give me life, reawaken me, or lift me up and keep me going." The psalmist knows how the Spirit of God has lift him up before and prays that God will make him so alive again. Notice he pleads the Word. The Lord will perform His promises.
II. REVIVAL ME BECAUSE OF MY ENEMIES, 155-158.
Verse 155 proclaims that salvation is not available to the wicked. "Salvation is far from the wicked, For they do not seek Your statutes."
The psalmist distances himself "from the wicked." Salvation, he asserts, is far from them because they do not seek God's Word. The reason salvation is not available to the wicked is because they will not seek nor respond to God's Word or statutes.
The wicked are those who do not think the law of God worth enquiring after, but disregard it in the way they live and they way they believe. By their perseverance in evil they distance themselves further and father from God. The results is that God's salvation is far from them. They may talk about being saved, but they cannot know it or they would not remain wicked.
The psalmist affirms in verse 156 that God's compassion toward him was great. "Great are Your mercies, O Lord; Revive me according to Your ordinances."
Despite his faithfulness before God he does not ask for God to answer because of his own merit but because of God's mercies. God in His mercy does not give us what we deserve instead by His grace He grants what we do not deserve, salvation and deliverance. [Compassion is in the plural "compassions" which indicates intensive especially when great or many augments it.]