Psalm 119: 121-128 (The Message) "I stood up for justice and the right; don't leave me to the mercy of my oppressors. Take the side of your servant, good God; don't let the godless take advantage of me. I can't keep my eyes open any longer, waiting for you to keep your promise to set everything right. Let your love dictate how you deal with me; teach me from your textbook on life. I'm your servant—help me understand what that means, the inner meaning of your instructions. It's time to act, GOD; they've made a shambles of your revelation!
Yea-Saying God, I love what you command, I love it better than gold and gemstones; Yea-Saying God, I honor everything you tell me, I despise every deceitful detour."
David recognized better than many of the Israelite people of his time that he was a servant of God. His life was wholly dedicated to the service of the only true God. Yet, David comes to God and asks God to personally help him to understand what it really means to be a servant of the Most High God. This word “understand” can be translated as three words: understand, comprehend and discern.
To understand implies that David is asking God to give him a thorough exposure to the concepts of service through God’s Word – what a servant does, how a servant responds, what attitude of heart a servant exhibits. He wants to experience all God has for him. As he experiences the Word of God, through frequent exposure to the words contained there and by practical application of them, he learns that he can count on them with a certainty that surpasses all ability to understand service to God in the “natural” sense. He is looking deep into God’s Word because he wants more than the “surface” knowledge of service or acquaintance with some other servant’s understanding of service to the King – he wants to know the “inner meaning” of God’s instructions himself.
To comprehend implies that David brings into his daily practice what he reads. He incorporates it into the analysis of his heart responses when he is feeling “beat down” by life’s issues. He uses it to direct his choices and thereby affect his actions. To this, David asks God to add discernment – the ability to discriminate between good and bad, right and wrong, and to choose wisely each and every time. He is asking God for the ability to “sense” his direction, his appropriate response, and his overshadowing protection as he steps out in service.
All around David, the nation of Israel was struggling with their heart response to God. At times, they would be eager to embrace each and every move God made, trusting whole-heartedly and being unwavering in their response to God. At other times, the people would murmur about their circumstances, complaining bitterly that God must have deserted them, and living any way they chose despite their “head knowledge” of God’s commands. They would turn their back on God, questioning the validity of his commands and the reality of his promises. To this, David responds, “Lord, it is time for you to act!” He knows that their “head knowledge” is not sufficient to keep them in service to the King.
We go through similar times of “up-and-down”, “hot-and-cold” response to God, his Word and his Holy Spirit. In those times, we find ourselves drifting from our straight course – not really attentive to the one we serve. We are driven along by some force or forces that appear to have a “louder” voice than God, or a more appealing message for us to embrace. We forget that we are God’s servant – making ourselves available to other pursuits or other interests before we make ourselves available to God and his interests. David reminds us that the heart of a servant comes back to the faithful Master (God) over and over again – seeking to be instructed, and ultimately, molded into faithful service to his Master.
We come, seeking to avoid the detours in our service, relying on God to show us how to avoid those things that distract us from being available to serve our King. In turn, God reveals his covenant promises to us – reminding us that they are reliable, trustworthy, and founded principles for our daily walk. He teaches us the obedient response of a servant. He unfolds the principles of waiting on the Master’s call before we move. He creates within us expectancy and a sensitivity to even the subtlest move of our Master – all the while readying us to respond as the Master would desire. As with David, let us seek to understand, comprehend and discern the meaning of being a servant of the Most High God. Treasure the Word. Give it priority in your walk. Let is mold your responses and “tune up” our sensitivity to God’s every movement.