…Lord, Give Me Life!!
It was so refreshing on Sunday to sit in our lounge and listen to Saul preach God’s Word. His message was as encouraging as the backdrop was beautiful! The sermon was the third instalment of a series exploring some of the themes in Psalm 119. In the previous sermons, Saul led us through David’s appraisal of himself and his experience of affliction. If you missed them, then you can find them clicking on these links:
There were a number of things that struck me as Saul spoke on Sunday. I just wanted to share some of my notes and then provide a few reflection questions to help us work out some of this in our personal devotions and in our Connect Groups this week.
In this third sermon, Saul drew our attention to the repeated phrase in Psalm 119 – ‘Lord, give me life…’
(c.f. Psalm 119:25, 37, 40, 88, 107, 149, 154, 156 & 159)
In the midst of his affliction and aware of his own weakness, David feels the need to call out for life. He knows that he lacks the resources to make it through.
Has anyone reached that place in the last 12 months? Our comfortable lives can sometimes lull us into a false sense of security, we begin to act as if we are self-sufficient…and sometimes we even start to believe it!
As David reminds himself of his true standing before a holy God, and as he considers his present distress, he doesn’t seek comfort in a fantasy of ‘self-sufficiency’, but he remembers that he is totally dependant on God.
Where did you come from?…
I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
At times life can leave each of us feeling like we’ve reached our very lowest ebb – David was there. As Saul pointed out, David’s words here are loaded with meaning. He’s not feeling dusty because he’s laying on the ground. He is deliberately alluding to the origins, and destiny, of all humanity.
Way back in Genesis, at the beginning of all things , we discover that the first man was formed out of dust. Shortly after that we learn that the curse of sin will return us all to dust.
“…for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
David is fully aware that his resources leave him well short – in fact, they’ll take him to the grave! His cry here is that of a dying man asking God to breathe life back into him.
Are you gasping for the same?
You were made for this…
Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget your decrees.
Before blown glass bottles and tetra-packs, wine was stored in wineskins, and as part of the preparation for ‘bottling’ each seasons grape juice, the wineskins are dried in smoke to prepare them for filling. So as David likens himself to a wineskin in the smoke, he is looking forward to the moment when the wineskin is filled.
How about you? Is the cry of your heart, ‘Lord, I’m an empty vessel – fill me again!’
In all of this David certainly isn’t asking just to be ‘preserved’, he isn’t hoping that God will see him through this difficult time and then he’ll be fine. Nor is he seeking a ‘quickening’, a ‘spiritual adrenaline shot’ to keep him going until better times come his way. David sees no reason why he can’t experience the fullness of life in the midst of the trial!
So, is it right for Christians to continue to ask for ‘life’? Yes – absolutely it’s right!
In the Gospels Jesus compares himself to bread & water.
“I am the bread of life.”
“…but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
You can choose to buy organic artisan sourdough bread and sparkling, volcanically filtered water from Waitrose if you wish, but generally bread and water aren’t considered luxury items. They form the basic staple diet for many people around the world. Jesus wants us to understand that he will give us what is necessary and sufficient for today.
Later in John’s gospel, he tells his followers that he is the ‘true vine’;
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…”
Jesus is clear here – our life is the life of the vine, and is expressed in the fruit that we bear.
So should you keep asking God for life?…
You’d be stupid not to!
Questions for Connect Groups/Personal study:
1. How are you feeling?
– Be honest with yourself, each other and God!
2. What do you need?
– Recognise your need today – and bring it before God in prayer.
3. Read Romans 15:13;
‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’
According to this verse;
– Who is the source of hope?
– How can we be hopeful people?
4. Is Jesus everything to you?
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