by Pastor Lawrence
If you’ve read all of the psalms prior to this one, most of the phrasing that is used here by David should sound familiar to you, for he uses the same expressions on a number of other occasions, which is actually helpful for us in interpreting his meaning in this passage, since there are many other contexts for us to pull from. David is still being pursued by his enemies, and he is once again crying out to God for deliverance. There are a number of things that stuck out to me this morning as I contemplated this passage.
First, I noticed that many of the themes of the beatitudes can be found throughout David’s prayer. Clearly, he is exhibiting poverty of spirit in admitting his unrighteousness before God. And although there is no specific mention of his mourning over his sins in this particular psalm, he often makes reference to it in similar situations, and I think we can assume he does so here as well. As for meekness, David bookends the psalm in v.2 and v.12 by calling himself God’s servant, thus he sees himself rightly in his relationship before the Lord. Then regarding his hungering and thirsting for righteousness, he says in v.6 how he stretches out his hands and his soul to God with great thirst. In v.8 he’s asking God to lead him in the way of righteousness and also to lead him on level ground, which is another request for God to teach him his righteous ways in v.10. Of course, the whole psalm continually references how David is being persecuted for righteousness sake, even though he doesn’t use those exact words.
Although, Jesus says that such a man is blessed indeed, David is still wrestling with God in prayer pleading for mercy, which is actually in another beatitude promised to the one who is himself merciful. With all of these blessings given unto David in the midst of his trial, you would think that he wouldn’t ask God to change his circumstances at all, since it is the trial that has brought these things to the surface. But that is the wonderful and mysterious providence of God demonstrated throughout much of our lives. At the very moment we want to change our circumstances, God is actually meeting the deepest needs of our hearts. And yet, at the same time, he is graciously calling us to lift up our disordered desires unto him, and he even grants those desires at times knowing the limitations of our understanding and spiritual vigor. So let us thank God today for Christ our sympathetic high priest who knows something of our weakness in granting us relief as well as for the work of the Holy Spirit in modifying our prayers in such a way that even when we ask for the wrong things at the wrong time, he is still groaning for our holiness when we can groan only for our happiness.
On another note, pay careful attention to vv.5-6 on the actions that David takes in stirring up his own soul to cling to God. There seems to be a direct correlation between his purposeful remembering, meditating and pondering the works of God and his consequential thirsting for God. If we are lacking in hungering and thirsting after righteousness, this would certainly be an approved means of grace in our revitalization.
Lastly, I love the way David petitions God in v.8 saying, “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.” It’s certainly good to hear of God’s steadfast love on any occasion, but there is just something invigorating and hopeful that comes with the rising of the sun, and when we are reminded of God’s covenant of life and grace each morning we are doubly blessed. May the Lord so work that desire within our hearts that we too would be zealous to hear of God’s steadfast love every morning that we might entrust our souls to God in the same manner no matter what the day might hold for us.