It’s not that obvious in our English translations, but this verse harks back to Genesis 2:7, the story of the creation of man. Here it is in the World English Bible translation: ‘Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul’ (my italics). David is saying that he feels as if his soul is turning back to the dust. God had said to Adam, when death came as a consequence of his sin, that he was made from dust, and to dust he would return. Perhaps David is feeling that he’s about to die. Or maybe it’s just that he’s conscious of a ‘deadness’ in his spirit – something that makes it ‘cling to the dust’; something that he can’t shake off.
Isn’t that something we all feel from time to time? So, how does David pray? ‘Revive me according to your word’. He thinks of God’s promises of life and asks Him to do what He has promised – according to His word.
Here are just a few of the promises (actually, there are hundreds!) from World English Bible translation):
‘The high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy, says: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite”’ (Isaiah 57:15).
‘Though I walk in the middle of trouble, you will revive me’ (Psalm 138:7).
‘May the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you’ (1 Peter 5:10).
‘Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labour and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest”’ (Matthew 11:28).
‘Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 15:13)
Are you feeling that your soul is just a bit ‘clinging to the dust’ today? Or maybe a lot? Why not spend a few moments reflecting on these promises from God’s word before you pray? Perhaps He will show you some things that stand in the way of being able to receive the revival He longs to give. Isaiah says that it is the ‘humble and contrite heart’ that God revives.
Jesus’ agenda hasn’t changed. He’s ‘the same yesterday, today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8). Why not read Luke 4:16-21, see what might apply to you, and then declare, ‘Today, this scripture is fulfilled in my hearing’.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your promises to revive Your children. I come to You now and simply ask this: please revive me according to Your word. Amen.
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