The young self-described pilgrim in this psalm continues sharing his story, and focuses on the temptations that arose during his journey. He learned very quickly that when you get your eyes off the road, you can end up in a ditch. That not only makes you look bad, but then you must endure the embarrassment of others watching while you try to get yourself out of the mud and back on the road again. But he also found out that God is so loving and caring that He will use such circumstances to make us stronger, wiser, and more determined than ever to reach the finish line. Therefore, the humiliation we often feel when being accused of messing up and doing foolish things does not owe itself to the mistakes themselves, but to our not letting God help us deal with them correctly.

O LORD Eternal, help me understand what Your principles for living are meant teach, so that I can stay on course until the end of my journey. Open my mind so I can learn to appreciate the value of Your teachings, and be able to follow them with complete confidence. This will help guide me on the path to comprehending Your commandments, because that’s all I want to do. Give me a desire to follow Your instructions, that’s more important to me than being a success. Don’t let me be charmed by worldly lifestyles; by doing Your will I can find true living. As Your servant, my hope rests on Your promises, which You have given to those who respect You. You know I’m always afraid of failing, even though Your declarations have been clear. And You’ve seen how much I want to follow Your guidelines, and how I need Your favor to continue motivating me.”

So in this hour, O LORD Eternal, reach out to me with Your undying love, and keep me safe as You promised to do. I want something to tell those who are mocking me, and I want to tell them I found it in Your Word. Furthermore, once I tell them the truth, don’t let me down; my only hope is in the validity of Your declarations. That’s why I spend all my time studying what Your advice has taught me.  This helps put my mind at ease, because I’ve given time to learn Your guidelines. That way I won’t be timid in standing up for Your commandments, which I love with all my heart. That’s why each day I hold up Your commandments that I love, because I want Your principles for living to be an everyday part of my life.” Psalm 119:33-48

Reflection: There is a story about a professor who decided one day to demonstrate to his class the power of an electro-magnet. So he placed 2 lbs., of nails on a table with the wires of an electro-magnet hidden underneath. When he turned the magnet on, the nails pulled together in a pile. So after the students arrived, he began forming the nails into various shapes, while the students watched in amazement. But when he turned off the current, the nails fell apart causing the students to gasp in disbelief. He then explained to them how the power from the magnet gave him the power to do things with the nails that were otherwise impossible. In a way, this can also illustrate the psalmist’s concept of responding to the power of the Holy Spirit working through God’s Word. As long as we stay in contact and let it influence us, we submit to God’s power, allowing Him to form us into any vessel He chooses, thus fulfilling His will and purpose for our lives. Not only that, but whenever some other force tries to separate us from God’s powerful pull, He automatically tugs on us so we feel His desire to keep us close to Him. The psalmist decided to always surrender in God’s favor, that way he need not worry about losing his way. God makes the same power available to every believer. So ask yourself, which way do I go when I sense a tug-of-war going on in my soul because of conflicting interests? Be like the psalmist; decide that God’s way is the only way to go.

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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