Things are awful for David. I’ve looked at loads of English translations of this verse and none of them quite gets get the ‘full flavour’. ‘Weeps’ is okay, but it could be ‘melts’ or even ‘leaks’. And ‘soul’ could be ‘life itself’. What he’s really feeling is that his life is seeping away. Something’s happened that is causing him ‘grief’. It’s the feeling we get when we are in a bad situation that, it seems, nothing can change. We might have prayed for it to change, but it hasn’t. We’ve had to live with it. And, like David, we feel drained.
The thing is we live from the inside out. If our inner being is getting drained of life, everything becomes a struggle. We wobble. We don’t ‘stand firm’. David was going through something terrible. But even little nagging issues have a weakening effect. So, how should we pray when we feel like this? Particularly when there is no way that the situation that’s causing us grief is going to change.
‘Make me stand firm with your word’. That’s David’s prayer. And a pretty good prayer it is. Psalm 119 uses about a dozen different words for the word of God. Each has a different emphasis. But here he uses the one that covers everything: commands, promises, warnings, statements, prophecies, teaching – you name it, and the Hebrew dabar covers it. God has a word for every situation.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the word of God is so sharp that it penetrates to the core of our being. It can touch the hurting places right on the inside. So, a good starting point is to say, ‘God, I now give Your word access to the real hurting place’. Just as the feeling of being drained comes from ‘inside’, so genuine strength also comes from inside.
In medieval times a knight in armour might have looked strong but, if he was physically weak and terribly scared, the armour wouldn’t have been much use. Remember David and Goliath? David was better off without the armour because he was so strong in his spirit.
God’s word will strengthen our spirit, if we allow it to penetrate to the core of our being. When it does, it may expose some things that need putting right – anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment … Inner pain and struggles can be a fertile breeding ground for bad attitudes. But, at the same time, God will speak comfort, healing and strength. Our human spirit will rise up and we’ll begin ‘to stand firm with God’s word’.
Prayer: Father, I invite You now to bring Your restoring word into my inner being to bring healing where there’s pain, and strength where I’m weak. Please help me to stand firm with Your word. Amen.
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