133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise*,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
134 Redeem me from man’s oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.
135 Make your face shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.
* Through these reflections, those phrases that identify God’s word, revelation, or law will be highlighted in the text in the hopes of accentuating the many and varied ways we can visualize what God has given to us for our good.
Once you have tasted of the goodness of God, it becomes difficult to forget what you have experienced. This is one of the more surprising aspects of the Christian journey.
The longer I live, the more aware I become of what it means to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The irony is that I am not saying I understand it better. As a matter of fact, I feel like it makes less sense. Not because I am confused, but because I understand what it means!
God the Father made a plan with Jesus the Son to enter into the brokenness of this world. As a part of that plan they formulated a way for lost sinners to be redeemed from their fallen condition and be reconciled with God.
When you really think about it, that just doesn’t make any sense. Why would God do that? And even more to the point, why would I believe that? The answer is both simple and overwhelming. It is simple because if we take God’s word at face value, that he actually means what he has said, then we have to accept that his love is without reservation or boundary.
But, believing the Gospel is also overwhelming. It is so because to acknowledge God’s action to save we have to accept how terrible our sin actually is. If that is what it took to save lost sinners, how could we not want others to know and enjoy this love with us?
Verse 133: As we walk the journey of faith, the opportunities to stubble do not decrease. They may very well increase. It does not matter in which direction it is, as long as we keep walking towards God’s will, we can trust in God’s direction. This is the request here. “Keep steady my steps.” An honest prayer, for a certain reality in this world.
Verse 134: The life of faithful obedience will have a cost. That cost, most often, manifests itself in the opposition of those who do not live with a similar conviction. Submission to God’s commands will identify us and mark us for greater scrutiny. Whether that evaluation leads to blessing or hardship cannot be determined before hand. Each person we encounter in life must choose how they will respond. But regardless of their choice, we must continue to keep God’s precepts.
Verse 135: In a poetic sense, almost all references to God’s face is an acknowledgment of an intimate relationship with God. To see God’s face or to speak to God face-to-face is to connect with how God referred to his relationship with Moses. This is what we should aspire to. This is why the link between the request for God to make is face “shine upon your servant” and God’s statutes is interesting. The implication seems to be that the more intimate our relationship with God, the greater our receptivity to God’s commands.
Verse 136: The Psalmist laments how so many others fail to keep God’s law. The sadness comes from a keen awareness of all that the writer has enjoyed as a result of accepting the revelation of God’s wisdom. To see others deny themselves of this, either by ignorance or by choice, is a deeply troubling realization.