Summary: The Word has established him, strengthen him & transformed him, but he is still in need of more of God, more of God's enabling & more of God's Word.The final meditation is from one who knows what it is like to to go astray & be brought back home again.
PSALM 119: 169–176 [The Ministry of The Word Series]
THE FINAL CRY AND CONFESSION
The Psalmist has now come to his last stanza. Letter by letter he has sung and sobbed his way through the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Again and again tears have become rainbows as he turn his eyes toward God's Word. The Word has established him, strengthen him and transformed him, but he is still in need of more of God, more of God's enabling and more of God's Word (CIT).
In this section [Taw, Tav, the 22th letter in the Hebrew alphabet] the psalmist closes the psalm by emphasizing his commitment to God's Word and his need for God's enabling to live it out. The final section, in a sense, sums up the whole psalm. It is a meditation upon the Word of God, and it comes from one who knows what it is like to go astray and be brought back home again. The final verse (v. 176) expresses that even the most devoted people need God to help them remain devoted to Him.
The psalmist called on God to hear his prayer and deliver him (vv. 169–170). He praised God for His Word (vv. 171–172). Then he pleas with God to enable him to live since he delighted in His Word (vv. 173–175). The psalmist concluded this lengthy but rich psalm by confessing that he had gone astray like a lost sheep and by asking God to rescue him by His Word (v. 176).
[The first four verses focus on the psalmist's voicing prayers and praises centered on the Word. The last four verses are the voice of testimony arising from the will, the emotions, the life itself and the mind/memory concentrated on the Word.]
I. LORD, HEAR ME, 119:169-172.
II. LORD, HELP ME, 119:173-175.
III. LORD, HUNT ME, 119:176.
Verse 169 expresses the psalmist's longing cry for understanding. "Let my cry come before You, O Lord; Give me understanding according to Your Word!"
"Let my cry come before you" is a plea to let his prayers come into the very Presence of God. As the Psalmist approaches the end of the psalm, his petitions gather force and fervency. He desires to break into the inner circle of divine fellowship, and to come even to the feet of the great God whose help he is imploring.
For what does he pray? The psalmist views his greatest need as an "understanding according to" the Word. He knows that spiritual understanding particularly of the Word is man's great needs so he makes it a matter of fervent prayer.
To give understanding of the Word of God is the special work of the Spirit of God. This illumination is God's alone to give. How often have we comprehended the historical and even theological substance of a text in the Bible but missed the spiritual point, the real under standing. This comprehension comes from God's Spirit as He ministers to us.
Understanding was the first petition in the psalmist's prayer.
His second petition in verse 170 is for the deliverance that understanding can bring. "Let my supplication come before You; Deliver me according to Your Word."
Both petitions in verses 169 & 170 are linked by "before" God. Again he asks that his "supplication" or petition come before Almighty God. It did him no good to pray for understanding if God would not hear his prayer. Then the psalmist prays, "deliver me." "Deliver means to "rescue," like taking prey out of an animal's mouth. In the larger context of the psalm we know that the author faces many enemies, the proud, the oppressors, who would do him in.
It is good to note that his prayer for deliverance did not precede his prayer for understanding. Understanding of God may not always secure deliverance but it facilitates our gratitude for it.
The psalmist again implies that God's Word includes a commitment to rescue him. So the psalmist pleads for deliverance based God's Word to him [for his well-being]. The cry for the Lord to act according to His Word by working both inwardly (understanding, ‘discernment') in verse 169 and outwardly (deliver) in verse 170.
From his supplications the psalmist passes on to a note of praise. Verses 171–172, which are linked by references to lips and tongue, are both praises for responsiveness for the Word taught and for recognition of what it is. In verse 171 the psalmist portrays that his cries have been fulfilled in the past and he wants to be enabled to praise God for teaching him His Word. "Let my lips utter praise, For You teach me Your statutes.
As God intervenes and instructs him by His actions, he promises, "My lips shall pour forth praise." To pour forth is to gush or flow (Ps. 19:2; 78:2). It denotes an eager, abundant and unceasing praise.