Resh: Psalm 119:153-160

reshThe plaintive tone of the Qoph section is continued in Resh. As we near the end of the psalm, the psalmist is running out of alphabet but not out of problems. The first two verses here contain five petitions, and the plea “Revive me” is repeated three times in the section’s eight verses. If Qoph saw the psalmist awaiting the start of Round One (vs. 150 “They draw near who follow after iniquity”), by the beginning of Resh he has been knocked to the canvas and needs both reviving and the strength to continue.
“Revive me,” he asks,
–according to Your word (vs. 153)–that is, according to Your promise. “Do now what you have said you would, as I have trusted.”
–according to Your judgments (vs. 156). Every past judgment of God is an indication of his character. This is “the law, as it were, imposed by God upon Himself” (Cohen, The Psalms, p. 411). “Be true to yourself and deliver me,” the psalmist is saying.
–according to Your lovingkindess (159)–because God is a God who will always act in accordance with his love for his people.

Surely the psalmist found, as we still can today, that reminding himself of God’s promises, faithfulness, and love has in itself a powerful effect to revive.
In verse 154 the psalmist pleads for an advocate, a redeemer. In contrast, the wicked of verse 155 seek their own way; they are far from salvation because they will not look for it in the only place it can be found, in God’s statutes. They want no advocate, and so bring upon themselves their own condemnation. It is a stark contrast. “The clients of the Lord have a strong Advocate” (Scroggie), but “the man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.”
The section ends with praise for the whole of God’s word and each of its individual parts. It is not just true, it is truth (142, 151; compare 172, “All Your commandments are righteousness”), and it will stand forever.
Andrew Bonar notes the threefold repetition of “Revive me” (“Give me life”) and is reminded of John 10:10: “I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” A.F. Kirkpatrick reads vs. 160 and is reminded of John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” And the psalmist’s plea for an advocate should remind us of 1 Timothy 2:5 (“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus”) and 1 John 2:1 (“If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”). It should be clear to us, having as we do a much more complete revelation than was available to the psalmist, that the need he describes is a need for Christ; that God’s ultimate answer and deliverance is Christ; and that the perfect and eternal Word in which God is known is Christ.
Do we have a problem of any sort disrupting our peace today? Whatever it is, we will find its solution only in Jesus Christ.

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