Get out of my life, evildoers, so I can keep my God's commands. Take my side as you promised; I'll live then for sure. Don't disappoint all my grand hopes. Stick with me and I'll be all right; I'll give total allegiance to your definitions of life. Expose all who drift away from your sayings; their casual idolatry is lethal. You reject earth's wicked as so much rubbish; therefore I lovingly embrace everything you say. I shiver in awe before you; your decisions leave me speechless with reverence.
(Psalm 119:115-120 The Message)
Do you remember "taking sides" in some game you played as kids? You'd all stand on the sideline, two people would pair off as the "captains" of the teams, and then one-by-one each person on the sideline would be "picked" to be on one of those teams. I remember being disappointed at times because I may not have been the best at some particular sport...so I was picked toward the end, almost as a "have-to" instead of "on purpose". At other times, I was one of the first picks, simply because I did well in that game.
What those team "captains" were doing was selecting those who they felt would be to their "benefit" on their "side" of the field. They saw some advantage to having a particular player in their ranks. Our psalmist reminds us of the advantage of having GOD on our side - - his presence produces life! It is almost like "picking" your teammates - - choose wisely and you are assured of a "win"!
Do you remember ever sitting down with a pen and paper, writing out a list of "dreams" you might have for the future? As a kid, we made lists of things we hoped to accomplish like being a firefighter, flying to the moon, or having a particular car when we grew up. As adults, we have similar lists - - like the list that begins with, "My ideal mate would be...." or "The best job I could have would be..." When we are engaged in making these lists, we are outlining our "hopes".
Hope is simply the feeling that what is "wanted" can be obtained - - the events will lead to the outcome. Without hope, people really have no reason for living. Our psalmist reminds us that we all have "grand hopes" - - impressive in size, sometimes highly ambitious, but hopes nonetheless. It is often the very fact that we have someone walking beside us during the lean times when hope seems to disappear that we hold onto the hopes we have formed. It is in the "sticking power" of God that our psalmist finds his hopes bolstered.
Do you remember the last time you "shivered in awe" of anything or anyone? There have been moments in my life when the "awe" of the moment just overwhelmed me - - the birth of my two children, the moment by grandsons took their first breaths in this world, the day my Dad "pinned" me at my nursing graduation. I recall these events because of the "affect" they had on me.
The memories of "awe" at the birth of my two children were moments I looked back to when we were struggling with moments of teenage rebellion or wayward behaviors. The "awe" produced at the pinning ceremony as my Dad looked into my eyes with such pride and just a hint of tears is a fond memory I hold onto now that he is gone. Our psalmist reminds us that the very decisions of God leave him in a place of absolute awe - - speechless with reverence.
Did you catch what our psalmist showed us in these verses? It is in the "recall" of God's greatness, his keeping power, his attentiveness to the details of our lives that we are "bolstered" in our faith, able to stand "strong" in our walk, and "upheld" in our beliefs. Sometimes we do well to "remember" what God has done - - it points us to what he IS doing right now! It is good to have memories - - their purpose is to spur us on, not hold us back! What you remember will definitely affect what you actions you take today!