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PSALM 119:25-32

DALETH

What happened when you worked hard at school and you received top marks in all the exams? … You deservedly sat back and enjoyed the relief of not having to study for a while. Rightly so, serious studying takes a lot out of you, … it drains you. But then, after the summer holidays, you have to get back into it again.

One of the dangers in getting good marks is that you might start to take for granted the hard work that is necessary. I shall soon be receiving essays again and, - keep it to yourself if you know of any of the students, - but generally we don’t always give the highest marks for the first essay. We wouldn’t want the students to drop their standards and think the task is too easy.

In the previous section, - gimel, - the psalmist has had a good time studying God’s Word; he concluded by saying, v.24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors. What a difference now! He has gone from the mountaintop into the valley; he has left the heights and now he is in the depths. He has fallen from ‘delight’ and he is now in the ‘dust’,

v.25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust.

I’m sure you have found it the way I have found it … and the way the psalmist describes it here. There are times when all is going so well, everything is falling into its proper place. When you sit down to study God’s Word the lessons are ‘jumping out at you’ and you are so encouraged; work is going well, family life also … if it would only stay this way all the time, life would be great!

But we have lived long enough to know that in life we experience the highs and the lows, - glad times and sad times. Here is the psalmist and in the previous section he was rejoicing in the Lord and His Word. … Sadly, look at what has happened now. He has sunk! He has fallen on his face to the ground. He hasn’t the energy to pick himself up again.

Isn’t it so true that the enemy attacks us the hardest when we are enjoying the blessings of God! If you are faithful in God’s work you will know the opposition the opposer throws at you … and you come to expect it. When things are going well, it is so dangerous and so unadvisable to lay down our armour. We ought not to take anything for granted.

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Remember how Samson made the mistake of fooling around with Delilah, … and Eve, she ought never to have had the conversation she had with the serpent … the enemy never becomes your friend, no matter how wide the smile on his face!

Here in this section the psalmist is down. He is so low. Yes, He is down … but, praise God, he is not out!

He turns in the only direction the believer should turn … he turns to the Lord in prayer and he makes four simple requests in order for him to get back onto his feet again …

REVIVE ME v.25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

Look at this: His enemies were slandering his name (v.23 Princes also

did sit and speak against me).

They were closing in on him and restricting him (v.61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me). They were causing mischief for him.

They were spreading lies and stories about him that had no

foundation (v.69 The proud have forged a lie against me).

They were causing him to suffer (v.83 I am become like a bottle in the smoke).

They were trying to rob him of his confidence, as they despised him

(v.141 I am small and despised).

And they even threatened his life (v.109 My soul is continually in my

hand).

… It is no wonder his soul cleaveth unto the dust.

Turn over please to Jer. 32:2 For then the king of Babylon's army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah's house. 3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Wherefore dost thou prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it. Then turn to Jer. 37:4, Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people: for they had not put him into prison. 5 Then Pharaoh's army was come forth out of Egypt: and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem. 6 Then came the word of the LORD unto the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 7 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me to inquire of me; Behold, Pharaoh's army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to

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Egypt into their own land. 8 And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire.

Now the princes and rulers in Jerusalem did not appreciate what

Jeremiah was saying so, in 37:15 we read, Wherefore the princes were wroth

with Jeremiah, and smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe: for they had made that the prison. 16 When Jeremiah was entered into the dungeon, and into the cabins, and Jeremiah had remained there many days;

17 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out: and the king asked him

secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from the LORD? And Jeremiah said, There is: for, said he, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon. 18 Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? 19 Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land? 20 Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O my lord the king: let my supplication, I pray thee, be accepted before thee; that thou cause me not to return to the house of

Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there.

Now turn to Jer. 38:6, Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison:

and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.

Here is an apt description of someone who cries out to the Lord,

Ps.119:25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy

word. The writer of this psalm is surrounded by a prison out of which there seems to be no escape … accept by calling out.

You remember, in a previous psalm (Ps. 40), the psalmist rejoiced in

the Lord, v.2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.

How often when we look at all around us and there is no release from

that which is pressing in … then, the only direction to look is the direction the psalmist looked also, quicken thou me according to thy word.

When you look into God’s Word you find real people who have

suffered all types of real trials, pains and anxieties.

They teach you that when life seems to be at its very worst, God

comes along with His very best and gives you the grace you need, II Cor.

12:9 My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of

Christ may rest upon me.

… Lord, quicken me, REVIVE ME.

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TEACH ME v.26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. 27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

The Lord never does anything without having a reason. He is orderly

and planned, nothing takes Him unawares or is outside of His will. Nothing!

What is the way to proceed then? Well, it is proper, of course, to pray that the Lord will deliver you out of the situation in which you find yourself,

v.134 Deliver me from the oppression of man

v.153 Consider mine affliction, and deliver me

v. 154 Plead my cause, and deliver me

v.170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.

But sometimes He doesn’t deliver you immediately. Sometimes he

might deliver you to permit circumstances to ‘crowd round you’ again.

Why does God do this sort of thing? Why does God allow the

believer to suffer … then to save him out of it … to suffer again?

At the very base of it all, as part of this world we are subject to all

that happens in it … including suffering and illness and trials, - being a

Christian does not make you exempt.

However, - and this is not belittling illness and trials, - turn to James

1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing

wavering. … What does all that mean?!

What the psalmist is teaching us here is that there are still many

lessons we need to learn in the school of life. For the Christian, temporal life is preparation for eternal life.

Heaven is perfect … and we are not, Lk. 3:5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth, - the Lord is continuing to

work to make us fit for Glory.

Instead of saying to Him, “Lord, why have You given me this

ailment?” we find the psalmist asking, Lord, Make me to understand the

way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

Yes, even illness and suffering is an opportunity for service and bringing glory to God.

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Each Thursday evening, - and I say it to the folk so often, - I’m so

encouraged to see people out at the meeting who really might not be fully

fit to be out … but they have a heart for the Lord, for His Word and for the place of prayer.

The psalmist here spoke to the Lord about what was happening to

him … and the Lord answered by giving him wisdom and strength.

By faith, he expected to see God’s wonders displayed in the midst of his trials.

Conclusion

Our time has gone, we have only managed not even halfways through

our section; we shall take it up again this evening, but do you see already

how God can use even the darkest of trials for His own purposes?

Like some of you, I was seriously ill and I cannot honestly remember

asking the Lord why He allowed this to happen to me. I do know though He taught me lessons during that time I have never forgotten … and I

don’t think I would have learned any other way.

God knows what He is doing, and He never does anything without

having a reason behind it … and His reason is ultimately for His glory and honour, but it also is for our good and development in the faith.

Surrounded by idolatry and paganism, the captive Daniel prayed onto

the Lord, 2:23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter.

When the Pharisees were out to hound Jesus and to catch Him doing

or saying something they thought He shouldn’t have been, we find the

Lord Jesus in prayer, Mt. 11:25 I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

If you are in the midst of some trial that seems so heavy to bear, yes,

call upon God to lift you out of it, - there is nothing wrong in asking for

deliverance from God. Sometimes though, He doesn’t, - it is not for your good that He delivers you; at those times, ask Him to quicken you, to revive you even in the midst of it all.

… And through it all, never lose sight of the fact He is in control and that He has permitted the adversity for some reason known only to Him and that through it all He is teaching you in preparation for glory.

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What is there we can say to folk going through difficult times

without the Saviour? … You don’t know Christ, you might pray, but there is no power in your prayer.

You see, this psalmist had a living relationship with God, v.57 Thou

art my portion, O Lord. How can you have this same relationship? … Only through the Lord Jesus Christ, when you come to Him, confess your sins and invite Him into your life.

Then, through the trials, His promise is good for you too, that He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Our confidence is in Him, completely in Him … Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear, We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair; …

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus, Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ; One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase, …

Sometimes the sky looks dark with not a ray of light, We’re tossed and driven on, no human help in sight; But there is One in Heaven who knows our deepest care, … just go to Him in prayer.

Amen.

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PSALM 119:25-32

DALETH

This morning we took note of the psalmist going through great times of difficulty and how relevant his faith was during those times.

He began by asking the Lord, v.25 quicken thou me according to thy word and v.26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

We used the titles … REVIVE ME TEACH ME. His soul has been cleaving unto the dust, but the Lord raised him unto his knees … and now he is beginning to stand upon his feet again. He prayed next …

STRENGTHEN ME v. 28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. 29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. 30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

Throughout the psalm the psalmist makes it clear that he is suffering because of his commitment to God and His Word, v.75 I know, O LORD,

that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

He was actually going through all this heartache because he loved the Lord and sought to be obedient to Him.

Have you ever heard someone say, “It would be easier not being a Christian”?

Yes, in some ways I believe it would. There wouldn’t be the same

pressure on you to live as God instructs you in His Word to behave. You could explore other avenues to help you contend against your troubles. As a Christian God expects more from you … and it is sometimes difficult living up to the stresses of being His child. That, in itself, is a strain.

But … being a Christian and living as a Christian ought to live and

behave and believe opens up all kinds of opportunities that does not

belong to the unbeliever.

Instead of childishly kicking out and flying in a rage just because

everything isn’t going his way, the psalmist, - through his difficulties is

actually being brought closer to his Saviour. … His soul melting for heaviness, the lies and accusations of his enemies around him are actually making his standing with God more precious. He couldn’t go through it without Him!

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And notice too that he didn’t ‘storm’ against his enemies and call

down all sorts of judgments upon them, instead he prayed for them, v. 136

Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

All he wanted was to keep on living for the Lord, in obedience to His

Word. He discovered God’s grace was all-sufficient for his daily needs of standing up against such unbelief in his community. All he wanted to do was to live peaceably for God!

He would not become involved in the ways of his neighbours, 29

31 I

have stuck unto thy testimonies. … He wanted none of it!

Often when we are being pursued by those in opposition to us we can

allow them to take up so much of our time, and our thoughts, - time and thoughts that we could be using for the Lord’s advantage somewhere better and more fruitful.

The devil tried to waste Jesus’ time by turning rocks into bread or

Remove from me the way of lying: … 30 I have chosen the way of truth:

from jumping off a high tower. The devil is interested in diverting our attention away from the things of God and our work for Him.

It is to our shame that sometimes the ‘weedling’ he gets up to does

sidetrack us and lead us along a dead-end where he is waiting with all his

fiery darts.

The psalmist was wise to him. Rather than pray for the Lord to

change the enemy or to mete out appropriate punishment, the psalmist prayed that the Lord would change him and enable him to overcome.

The Bible tells us not to cast our pearls before swine (Mt. 7:6), - it is a waste of time and a waste of effort.

In

STRENGTHEN ME … and finally …

the

circumstances,

pray

instead

REVIVE

ME,

TEACH

ME,

DEFEND ME

v. 31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not

to shame. 32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge

my heart.

shame the Lord. He would do

everything in his power not to shame Him. … So what did he do? He turned the matter over to the Lord by faith.

The

psalmist

did

not

want

to

Sometimes it is necessary to confront, but more often than not

confrontation makes you no better than the one confronting you. A slanging match achieves nothing good for the Lord!

Winning arguments the world’s way loses your witness. How did

Christ do it when confronted by Herod? Herod questioned with him in many

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words; but he answered him nothing (Lk. 23:9). Is. 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

It’s hard keeping quiet when someone says something you know is

wrong, but if they say it in a way that is trying to antagonise you … what is the point of entering into discussion?

I often think, How much would Christ have achieved if He had spent

all His time trying to sort Judas Iscariot out? He would have been wasting His time. Or, if Jesus had discussed day-in and day-out the finer points of theology with the Pharisees … they would kept Him away from the work He was called to do.

Instead, the psalmist leaves these people behind him. He turns to

God’s Word, and he trusts in the promises of God … and he believes that God is able to work out the circumstances that would enable him to grow in his faith.

‘At the end of the day’, God moved Heaven and earth to save you, -

Heaven was emptied of the Second Person of the Trinity for a short season … and earth became His home for that time. God’s Word speaks about His goodness to us … where better to turn in times of trial and adversity?

Faith in God, as directed by His Word, is the way of escaping the

confinement of the enemy’s plots and plans and sets us free to glory in Christ.

Conclusion

Have you noticed something altogether beautiful here … and so

tremendously simple? … At the beginning of the section (v.25) the psalmist is defeated on the ground, his face is in the dust … but look at

him now, v.32 I will run the way of thy commandments.

At the beginning he was as good ‘as down and out’, and now he is

‘up and running’ again.

God is so good. I can understand this portion of Scripture. Like you,

I’m sure, there are times when it seems we were as good as ‘down and out’. You move about in the dust and you cannot get up and get back to

were you once were.

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The dust is getting in your eyes and you cannot see properly, it is

getting in your mouth and you cannot speak properly, and it’s getting in your ears and you cannot hear properly, … you need to call out, Lord,

revive quicken thou me according to thy word.

Teach me, … Make me to understand the way of … thy wondrous works.

Show me, Lord. Let me see into the mind of your servants … your

servant David as he cried out, Ps. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. … 19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness.

Let me see in Your Word how Habakkuk began in sorrow as he

called to You, 1:2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! And then we find him at

the end of his prophesy … he had gone from sorrow to a song, 3:18 I will

rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

Yes, revive me, teach me, and Lord strengthen me. Do you realise

that the Lord Himself, - in the Garden of Gethsemane, - asked His Father

to strengthen Him? (Jn. 17:1 Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.)

In His Word God shows you how to contend with adversity. … When

you have fallen over and your face is in the dust He can set you on your feet again and He can make you run like you used to.

Yes, Lord, defend me. Ps. 124:1 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say; 2 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us: 3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: 4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: 5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul. 6 Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.

May the Lord encourage us in our studies of His Word together today

… for His glory and for His honour.

Amen.