I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!
I need God’s presence in my life. Not just for a moment or for a long time, but forever. Not just when tragedy strikes me, but also when blessings abound. Not just in this life, but more so in the life to come. I need God. I cannot deny that, even when I sinfully crave for worldly things.
But how often do I express that in prayer? How often do I cry out to God, “Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me!” (38:21)? I know he won’t leave me. He is our Father. I am secured in his hands forever because of what Jesus did for me. But that is not the issue. The issue is, Do I tell God I need his presence? Do I long for his love, mercy and grace? Am I desperate for him?
Or am I saying to God that I don’t need him as long as I have my wife and son? That I don’t need his presence as long as people like me and are listening to my sermons? That I can go through life without him as long as things are going well for me, my family and my ministry? Obviously my answer will be, “Of course not!” It’s easy to say the correct answer but do I honestly mean that? Does that show in how I live my life? Does God hear this desperate longing for his presence in my prayers?
Can I say that prayer, “Do not utterly forsake me,” with a single-minded, uncompromising resolution, “I will keep your statutes”? My longing for his presence is seen in my longing for his word – in studying, obeying, and teaching it to others. I cannot honestly say to God, “Keep your promises, Lord,” while my heart doesn’t want to keep his commands. I cannot pray, “Do not forget my afflictions, Lord,” when I forget his Word. I cannot seek his presence when I do not seek his Word.
Now, Lord, help me face these questions in the light of your Spirit. Create in my heart more longing for your presence, more longing to seek and obey your word.
Other reflections on Psalm 119
- Desiring God’s Word (Intro. to Psalm 119)
- Blessed (119:1)
- The Pursuit (119:2)
- (Un)Happily Doing Wrong (119:3)
- Diligent (119:4)
- A Prayer to Persevere (119:5)
- No Shame (119:6)
- Word and Worship (119:7)