EMBARRASSED TO ASK FOR DIRECTIONS –
This longest psalm in the Psalter is the story of a young man’s spiritual journey, and how he fought to maintain his faith while under severe persecution. Each section contains a small vignette describing his struggles, and he explains how he coped with his opponents by turning to God’s Word for instruction and comfort. It is very similar to David’s 19th Psalm, which scholars believe was used by a musician who expanded it. For the Psalmist, ignorance of God’s Word was considered being in darkness, because God’s Word was the light needed to shine on his path so he could find the right way in order to fulfill God’s will and purpose for his life. And one thing this young pilgrim knew for sure, God’s light never went out. Even when he closed his eyes to it, God’s Word kept shining.
“Count your blessings if you are one of those who live right, one who is committed to trust the Teachings provided by the LORD Eternal. Count your blessings if you are one of those who follow His instructions, and does what He has to say with all their hearts. They don’t pursue their own ideas, but seek to do His will. After all, He took the time to write out all the guidelines we need to stick to. I wish I could be more committed to obeying the principles for living You gave us to follow; then I wouldn’t be so convicted whenever I look at Your commandments to see what I should have done. So I dedicate myself to observe and learn more about the declarations You made about right living. I will make Your principles for living my number one priority; that way I know You will always be with me.
And if I’m asked how a young person can clean up their life, I know it’s by following your advice. That’s why I seek to know You better with all my heart; I don’t want to get lost by not using the commandments You gave. So I’ve memorized Your advice; that way I will not fall short of Your expectations. You are so wonderful, O LORD Eternal, so help me to get to know Your principles for living. I love to repeat over and over the declarations You’ve made for me. I get a thrill when Your instructions become clearer and clearer to me; it’s like finding a pot of gold. Each day now I study Your guidelines as a way of showing respect for Your will. I can’t wait to discover new regulations for me to follow; and I promise never to neglect Your advice.” Psalm 119:1-16
Reflection: Many years ago in London, England, poor children often roamed the city streets begging for money to take home. One day a city policeman found a young girl apparently lost and asked where she lived. She didn’t know her address, so the police officer began naming the surrounding sights and objects – the river, the bridge, the railway station, etc. She kept shaking her head until he mentioned a well-known landmark: “Charing Cross.” The little girl’s eyes lit up and she exclaimed, “Oh yes sir, if I can just see the cross I know how to get home from there!” The psalmist saw God’s Word in a similar light. If he ever got lost, he’d study God’s teachings to help him find his way back to where he needed to be. The same goes for us; if we try to find our way through this world with its many obstacles and pitfalls without some guidance, we too will become hopelessly lost. Like the stars in the sky, even though things on earth may change, God’s Word does not change or alter course. We can always trust it to be our guiding light, especially when we find ourselves stumbling around in the darkness. And just like that little girl, if we can get our eyes back on the cross, we know we can find our way home again.