“I am a sojourner on the earth,” says the narrator of the third section of Psalm 119, which is comprised of eight verses each beginning with the Hebrew letter, Gimel.
We all are sojourners. This world is not our home. Trials and tribulations keep us from settling down and becoming too comfortable.
But we must do more than merely look to the future and survive the present. We don’t travel forward like a plodding horse wearing blinders. As the sojourner of Psalm 119 travels, he prays for blessing and beauty.
Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law (verses 17-18, ESV).
Notice that the request for bountiful blessings has a dual purpose, not merely life, but living and keeping God’s Word. And as the sojourning psalmist prays that God will deal bountifully with him, he also asks God to open his eyes to the beauty and wonder of God’s law.
Do you tend to think of God’s law as something harsh and cold? As a long list of onerous rules? Join this sojourner in asking God to open your eyes to see its “wondrous things”!
The psalmist’s awareness of life’s transitory nature sharpens his need and longing for God’s Word.
I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules at all times (19-20, ESV).
We sojourners in God’s general revelation need God’s special revelation. The creation constantly testifies to the existence of an Intelligent Designer who loves beauty, order, and variety. But God’s Word reveals his salvation and his will. As we travel toward our heavenly home, we long to know more of God’s will more of the time.
It is not enough to simply know God’s laws, however, we must obey them.
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.
Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies (21-22, ESV).
God rightly rebukes those who wander from his commandments; they are insolent and cursed. If we keep God’s testimonies, we may pray for God to remove scorn and contempt. Scorn may come from persons in positions of authority:
Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes (23, ESV).
Even–perhaps especially!–in such cases, we sojourners should meditate on God’s words. They provide joy and counsel.
Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors (24, ESV)
Earthly counselors may be helpful, but they sometimes fail us. God’s words are faithful counselors that give each sojourner joy for the journey.
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