Crying for Help
Psalms 119:145 Qoph With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Yahweh! I will keep your statutes.
The psalmist begins the Qoph octave with a prayer from the heart. He says, “with my whole heart I cry!” The previous octave (Tsadhe) was all about how righteous God and His law and His ways are, so it is no wonder that a mere man has little choice but to cry out to God for help. When the righteous (by grace) cry for help, God hears and delivers them (Psalm 34:17)!
And it is with his whole heart that he cries out to Yahweh for an answer. There is no holding back in this prayer. David knows the Lord and understands that only total devotion to God is what is expected of him. We spend our lives holding back from God. Oh, how often we fail him in thought, word, and deed on a daily basis! But it is most convicting when we realize how much we do not even pray with our whole heart. We find it is even a struggle to stay focused on Him and devoted to Him in our private moments when it is only us and Him! It’s understandable that we would fail to keep God “first” amid the distractions and temptations of this world, but when we realize that the problem comes from within us and, thus, is present when we pray alone we well, we should cry with the psalmist that we shall pray with our whole heart!
And our prayer and our commitment ought to be the same—that we might keep God’s statutes. Blessed is the man who hungers and thirsts for righteousness for he shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). We cry for help from the One who is Blessed forever so that we might enjoy the fruit of living in obedience to Him. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments (1 John 5:3)! When we find obeying God to be a struggle our response ought to be to be suspicious of our own hearts and to cry for help through prayer that we would have our affections redirected to be aligned with His will. And committing to observing God’s law isn’t legalism; this is simply how a Christian ought to direct his or her thoughts and prayers.
Psalms 119:146 I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies.
Continuing with the same theme as we saw in Psalm 119:145, David goes a step deeper and calls for God to save him that he may observe His testimonies. David acknowledges here that it will require an act of God for him to learn obedience to God’s testimonies. But he also exhibits the human responsibility to seek after God. Thankfully, He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
We must keep in mind the context of this passage (and every passage). David believes in Yahweh God and has trusted in the promise (see Psalm 119:148) that God would send a messiah to save His people from their sins. When he calls to God to save him, this is the cry of a righteous man who wants deliverance from earthly foes and enemies who are distracting him from his true desire, worshipping God in spirit and in truth. Believer, do you not experience the same affliction in this sin-soaked world? Are you not constantly bombarded with news reports of evil and politicians diverting culture from goodness? Do you notice it is difficult to walk through a mall without being accosted by immoral photos plastered on the wall? Do family obligations and work in this cursed world take you away from things you want to do for God?
These circumstances are all part of the decree and plan of God. So while we despise evil, we love those who are yet-to-be-saved. While we loathe the degradation of culture, we hold out hope that God will redeem some people out of it. And while we suffer affliction by the will of God, we call on Him who has afflicted us to save us from it (1 Peter 4:19; Philippians 1:29). It is for His glory that you will be delivered as the result of your prayer to Him. May we remember to thank Him for every victory!
Wake Up, O Sleeper!
Psalms 119:147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
The psalmist declares here that he rises before dawn to cry for help. There is a theme in our scripture of righteous men and women getting up early in the morning to serve the living God (Joshua 6:15; Nehemiah 4:21).
Psalms 90:14 ESV Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
I am certain there are exceptions to this, but it seems to be a general rule that we are naturally inclined to sleep in and stay up late. The discipline of waking up early to start one’s day is something that must be taught and must be disciplined. Very few people live without alarm clocks (at least in this writer’s experience). So it is part and parcel of our love for God that we would wake up early to start our day with prayer and devotion to God because it doesn’t come naturally to our flesh. Jesus taught us to pray “Give us this day our daily bread,” and this prayer makes more sense to be prayed before the day than near the end of it. We are creatures on a 24-hour cycle and Christ is the Lord of all of it. Thus, it is fitting to begin each day with supplication to our God for help. The man or woman who makes time to beseech the Lord’s favor before the day’s activities begin will find great benefit therein.
Proverbs 31:15 ESV She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
David adds a declaration of his devotion to God by saying he hopes in His words. He rises before dawn and devotes time to God and God alone because he believes in God’s words. If God “was not,” we would have no reason to wake early for prayer and study. We could live like the pagans who take no Sabbath rest from work and have all the more time to devote to their own pursuits because they are not busy with their Father’s business as we Christians ought to be. But our hope is in the very words of God, written for us in the Bible so that we can do that which is revealed by God to be good for us. We can stop to pray during emergencies and on our busiest days because we hope in God and His words by faith, and not solely in what man can see.
Direct Your Thoughts To Christ
Psalms 119:148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.
And so, we awake while it is still dark and meditate on God’s promise. What is God’s promise? What are we to meditate upon? David meditated on the coming messiah; the hope that God would send a deliverer to save Israel, God’s people. David’s meditation was on the promise that in Abraham all the nations would be blessed and that the seed of the woman would crush the serpent.
Genesis 12:3 ESV I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Genesis 3:15 ESV I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
The promise we have received is no different, but we have received more revelation. We meditate on the aspects of that promise which are already fulfilled: that Jesus Christ has come into the world. He was born of the virgin, conceived without the stain of sin by the Holy Spirit, and was perfectly righteous before the Father in every respect, although He was tempted by Satan (Hebrew 4:15). He was delivered to death and suffered the wrath of almighty God for sinners, (Isaiah 53:11), was buried, and on the third day rose from the grave (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). THIS is what we meditate upon, and all its implications: that we are wretched sinners, that Christ is a kind and gracious and all-sufficient savior, and that only by grace through faith can salvation be accomplished (among others)!
And furthermore, we meditate on the as yet to be fulfilled aspects of God’s promise. God doesn’t only promise to forgive our sins and give us a new, cleansed heart in this world. God promises to one day deliver us wholly from this body of death and this world of sin and The Curse (Romans 8:18, 23, 24). When affliction comes, remember that one day you will be glorified. When you endure suffering for the cause of Christ, meditate on God’s promise that He will lift the curse. Dear Christian, even when you yourself sin against the God you love, cast your cares fully on the One who will give you a new and perfect body (Philippians 3:21).
Romans 8:30 ESV And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
See all posts in this series
Psalm 119:1-4 — Blessed!
Psalm 119:5-8 — Blessed!
Psalm 119:9-12 — Purity is the Objective
Psalm 119:13-16 — Declare and Delight!
Psalm 119:17-20 — Open My Eyes!
Psalm 119:21-24 — The Comfort of God
Psalm 119:25-28 — Thirst and Life
Psalm 119:29-32 — Shame Shifting
Psalm 119:33-36 — Seeking The Way
Psalm 119:37-40 — Behold God's Promise
Psalm 119:41-44 — Answering the Taunter
Psalm 119:45-48 — A Wide Place
Psalm 119:49-52 — Comfort Amidst Affliction
Psalm 119:53-56 — Righteous Anger?
Psalm 119:57-60 — What's Your Portion?
Psalm 119:61-64 — Companionship
Psalm 119:65-68 — Afflicted by God
Psalm 119:69-72 — More Affliction?
Psalm 119:73-76 — Sovereign Creator
Psalm 119:77-80 — May God Supply!
Psalm 119:81-84 — Our Whole Being Longs for God
Psalm 119:85-88 — They Have Dug Pitfalls
Psalm 119:89-92 — Established
Psalm 119:93-96 — Limited Perfection
Psalm 119:97-100 — Elevated Wisdom
Psalm 119:101-104 — Sweeter Than Honey
Psalm 119:105-108 — Freewill, Oaths, and More Affliction
Psalm 119:109-112 — Sorrows, Snares, Sons, and a Savior
Psalm 119:113-116 — My Hiding Place and My Shield
Psalm 119:117-120 — God Discards the Dross
Psalm 119:121-124— Deliverance
Psalm 119:125-128— God's Law > Everything on Earth
Psalm 119:129-132 — Into The Light
Psalm 119:133-136 — Does Your Love Bring You To Tears?
Psalm 119:137-140 — Zeal + Ignorance = Worthless Religion
Psalm 119:141-144 — Assurance of Perseverance
Psalm 119:145-148— Meditate on the PROMISE
Psalm 119:149-152 — Be Comforted For God Is Near
Psalm 119:153-156— Christ Alone Delivers
Psalm 119:157-160 — We Are In A Battle
Psalm 119:161-164— Do You Hate Falsehood?
Psalm 119:165-168 — Cause → Effect
Psalm 119:169-172 — Eruption of Praise
Psalm 119:173-176 — Seek Your Servant Like a Lost Sheep