Resh – The Quickening Word

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“Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law. Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes. Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments. Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word. Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Psalm 119:153-160).

Introduction

Three times the psalmist speaks of his personal need of revival [“quicken me”], a theme that he has referred to several times in Psalm 119 (see :25-32, 107, 149). His enemies are still troubling him, and maybe because they are wearing him out with their constant wickedness, he prays that God would revive and strengthen him.

Quicken me according to Thy word

The psalmist’s troubles are not far from his mind for his persecutors are constantly troubling him. He calls this an “affliction” which seems to cling to him like a plague. The word means ‘misery’ and ‘depression’, therefore we could say that he was stressed out with what he was enduring. Would God “deliver” him from this? “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). The psalmist statement about obeying God’s law reveals that he is one of those righteous people that the Lord has promised to save from evil. His understanding of the Scriptures assures him that God always keeps His promises and never breaks His word. Those who take His word seriously enough to make it a part of everyday life will find that God’s protective hand is upon them, but their tormentors will suffer His wrath. “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate” (Psalm 34:20-22). God will be the advocate that will “plead” our “cause”. This means that He will prove to the wicked that those who walk according to His truth are justified in His sight, and those who live in opposition to Him will be punished. Only the righteous have “salvation”. While he awaits his day of deliverance, the psalmist asks for God’s quickening, reviving, and sustaining power to stand firm. As he meditates upon the word of the Lord, he will find the promises that helped him stay spiritually and mentally alert.

Quicken me according to Thy judgments

The psalmist’s confidence is sure because he believes in the “tender mercies” of God. He knows that he will not be ignored or forsaken by the one who always keeps His covenant. We call to mind the sufferings of Job who, though his affliction was great, he found that God’s tender mercy was greater still. “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:11). In asking for this tender mercy, he pleads for the protective power of the love of God. “Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me” (Psalm 40:11). In fact this promise is the wonderful privilege of every true child of God. “Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Psalm 103:4). Yes, the problems of life and the evil deeds of the wicked may still trouble us, but if we continue to trust in the words of life, then we will know constant revival and personal victory over them all. None of these ought to  influence us away from the Lord.

Quicken me according to Thy lovingkindness

Are we not “grieved” (disgusted) by what we see in society today? It seems that morality and common decency are at an all time low, and no one but the believer appears to care. Why are people so evil and immoral today? Simply put, they reject God and His word. They want to do everything that is “right” in their “own eyes” (Judges 17:6). We, like the psalmist, have chosen not to be like the godless, but instead trust in the Lord. The sustaining power of His word will enable us to overcome all the temptations that the wicked enslave themselves too. We trust in God’s “lovingkindness”, that is, the covenant love He has blessed us with, so we are assured that we will never fail as long as we stay within it. The Lord is always faithful to His promises, and though there is a need of obedience on our part, His word can empower all who commit their lives to Him. God is faithful to bring us to victory; “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1Corinthians 10:13), and He will protect us from the wicked; “The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil” (2 Thessalonians 3:3). His promises stand for ever, so can we not accept that they will be effective in our lives at this time?

Conclusion

A half-hearted faith will not believe any of this, instead it will drive us into despair and despondency. We must believe God’s promises that can work in our lives this age as much as they did for the people of old. The so-called intellectualism of today might dismiss the Bible as being the product of a primitive people, but since it is the word of life it will endure eternally. We have something in which to trust in a world of hopelessness. If we want our faith revived, then we must renew our love for and commitment to God and His word. Faith is the spark that can spread revival in our land.

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