169 May my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word. 170 May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. 171 May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. 172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. 173 May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. 174 I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight. 175 Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me. 176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.
Once again, in verse 169, David the Psalmist repeats his inner desire to understand God's word, law, decrees, statutes and wisdom! He is full of zeal for God and is earnestly yearning His God to reveal His promised wisdom and understanding to him. The Psalmist is in a relationship with God and seeks to get to know His God better and God has promised him that He will pass on wisdom to David through the law and the scriptures. God will enlighten His servant, the Psalmist, because He has promised to, and He who has promised is faithful to honour those promises.
The Psalmist greatest desire is to understand the mind of God, developing his relationship with Him and to be guided by Him! The Psalmist desires that every facet of his life be guided by his great all-knowing and all-powerful God! Part of this guidance, is the Psalmist praying to God in verse 170, making requests and seeking deliverance from the dangers and perils of his life! David, as we read in the Bible, often faced great dangers throughout his life. His God always delivered him from evil, because God honours his promises to those who are serving Him.
Now in verse 171, he is overflowing with praise! He is effervescent with praise, overflowing, bubbling over and ecstatic with joy for His God! The reason for this exuberance is that he wants to be imbued with heavenly wisdom as taught through the decrees and statutes of Almighty God! It gives the sense of a spontaneous outburst of praise just exploding from the Psalmist like spring water bubbling from the desert sands! Having been taught by the Lord in the practise of righteous obedience to the Law, the Psalmist is intent on teaching others! He is passing on to others, the wisdom he has learned and received! The sense here is of corporate singing of exultant choral praises of God or an echo of the angels singing of God's awesome majesty, beauty and holiness!
Continuing, the Psalmist entreats God to personally help - nor my friends or your friends, O God - but you and you alone! Give me your hand O Lord and I will be rescued! Friends may let me down, discourage and betray me - but you O great God will never do that! Personally save me, the Psalmist is crying! By choosing God's precepts, the Psalmist has dedicated himself to obeying his God and following Him closely. The Psalmist was keen to be found in full obedience to his God. And he yearned for full salvation from his God - he had tasted it in part before but was waiting for it to be complete, as if in expectation of some form of greater salvation.
He had been saved from his enemies, those who betrayed him and from wild animals. His present salvation was assured as God had promised him, but so was a future salvation, a salvation of his soul! Hence, there is his longing to delight in all of God's words and works. This future salvation of the soul, filled with life, preserved so he may praise God! God's judgments sustained and helped the Psalmist! Seeing God at work in his life gave him a hope - a hope that promised a future praising God for all God has done, is doing and will continue to do! God's judgement helped the Psalmist to live an obedient life and a life that was close to God, walking and talking with Him! Then finally, we have the climax of the Psalm!
There is almost an urgent need to be fulfilled. The lost sheep needs to be found, to be preserved and to be delivered. For all his knowledge of Scripture, his obedience to God and his own righteousness - the Psalmist knew that it was only because God had promised to find him that he would be saved. He was relying on God to assure him of the salvation of his soul.
As a shepherd, he knew that if a sheep was lost, it was his job to find that sheep and restore it to the fold. So he uses this analogy, to symbolise his need of God's salvation. His own righteousness and obedience to the Law couldn't save his soul - only God could do that. God would seek him, find him and restore him. Here was the king, King David, recognizes his need to be a servant of God and wanting God to find him. He recognizes he needs to be obedient to God in response to being saved by God's grace and mercy.
How about you? How are you doing in regards to your praise? Is praise bubbling from you like water from a living stream? Are you being fully reliant on God alone for the salvation of your soul and not trusting in your own righteousness, obedience or strength? God's grace and that alone is what saves you. Not God's love. Not God's mercy. But God's grace and that grace alone. What is your delight, your ultimate delight? Your delight should be in being guided by God in every facet of your life and being in a devoted obedient relationship with Him. Ask Him and he will help. Raise your hand and ask for help, just as Peter did when sinking in the water and Jesus rescued him. In response to this grace and the salvation that is yours assured, go and live a life of obedience to God - wherever that takes you as His servant.