Courage for life Blog

Comfort and Understanding are Yours for the Asking

March 6, 2024

Have you ever experienced people doing what was wrong according to God, but they seem to get away with wrongdoing? They don’t get caught or discovered. They don’t seem to face any negative consequences and even brag about getting away with wrongdoing. If you have experienced this, how did it make you feel, especially when trying to do the right thing according to God?

David, the King of Israel in the Old Testament, wrote a poem about this type of life situation. David was trying to do what was right according to God and God’s teachings. David was not perfect, but he was trying to do right in God’s sight while others were doing wrong and bragging about it.

God inspired David to write a poem so you could know about God’s and David’s relationship. This poem recorded in Psalm 119:25-32 is a behind-the-scenes look into a conversation between David and God. You will learn how David felt and how his heart began to change once he wrote down his feelings and asked God for understanding.

I lie in the dust; revive me by your word. I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:25-26

David describes himself as lying in dust and in verse 28, he says, “I weep with sorrow” and some translations say, “my soul is weary with sorrow.” Don’t you get a sense of David’s emotional state from his words? He is extremely upset. David is so upset his heart hurts and he is experiencing deep sadness. He is also tired from being so sad at seeing people doing wrong according to God.

David talks to God and explains that he has been honest with God about his plans, meaning how he is living his life while confessing his wrongdoing to God when it occurs. Also, God answers David with forgiveness. David is making sure he truly is doing right according to God because he doesn’t want to deceive himself into thinking he is living right according to God if he is not.

David asks God to revive his soul and to teach him God’s ways. He didn’t ask God to do something to the people who were doing wrong, but rather David asks God to help him understand the meaning of God’s ways so he can rightly follow God.

I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees. Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word. Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. Psalm 119:26-29

David communicates that he learns what is right to do according to God because he asks God to

  • teach him God’s decrees,
  • cause him to understand the meaning of God’s commandments,
  • encourage or strengthen him with God’s word,
  • keep him from lying to or deceiving himself, and
  • give him the privilege of knowing God’s instruction.

David wants to know what is right in God’s sight so that God can help David learn and live according to God’s ways. Now notice David’s attitude change in this poem.

I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations. I cling to your laws. Lord, don’t let me be put to shame! I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding. Psalm 119:30-32

David declares that he is faithful to God; he chooses to do what is right. David has set his heart or determined to live by God’s ways and is consistently doing what is right; he is holding fast or clinging to God’s way of living. Therefore, David asks God to respond to him with greater understanding so he is not put to shame. David was asking for understanding to know God’s way so he could do the right thing according to God and ultimately bring God glory through his life. David acknowledges what God has done for him.

Remember when David started this poem? He was super upset and extremely sad. But look at how David ends the poem. He is comforted, no longer upset and sad, because of how God responded to him. You may be interested that in another translation of verse 32, the translators use God “enlarged his heart” instead of “broadened or expanded his understanding.” David has so much clarity with his greater understanding from God and His teachings that David’s heart has been comforted, encouraged, and repaired where it was previously wounded, frustrated, and hurt by his life situation.

In the Bible, the word “heart” has so much greater meaning than how the word is used today. The biblical use of “heart” is the place where all your emotions, soul, wisdom, and understanding reside, as well as where you make your decisions or choices based on your beliefs and convictions. Just like David, you want God to enlarge your heart so that you have a greater capacity for understanding and knowing God as He is and His ways. You want to have more complete or full of understanding of your life situations through God’s perspective so you can make decisions according to God’s ways.

The wonderful thing about life with God is you can express your deepest sadness and frustrations to God and ask God for more understanding, just like David did. David wanted more understanding so he would know what was right to do according to God, despite what David was experiencing and seeing others do. David wanted his life to show that he had a relationship with God. He also was able to understand what was going on in his life because God “expanded his understanding” when David chose to have honest, emotional communication with God about his life situation and make his requests of God.

Notice that David is not passive in his situation. In his poem, David uses action words to express his active pursuit of God and his active obedience to God in his life. A relationship with God requires action on your part. If you are a follower of God (i.e., believer in Jesus Christ), you can experience difficult, sad, and frustrating life situations, especially when others are doing wrong according to God, and you are trying to do what is right according to God. You may even get upset, sad, and weary because others seem to be getting away with wrongdoing and bragging about it.

Although doing what is right according to God can be different, difficult, and feel awkward at times, God wants you to demonstrate to others that you have a relationship with Him by living your life God’s way. No matter your life circumstances or age, you can struggle like David emotionally when you are faced with doing right according to God or choosing to follow others doing wrong.

Can you think of a life situation when you chose to do what was right according to God or follow along with others doing wrong? What were the circumstances? How did you decide what to do? Did you, like David, express your emotions – sadness, anger, frustration, weariness – about the situation to God? Did you ask God for understanding about the situation? Did you choose to do what was right according to God? Even if you chose to do what was right, your emotions still exist and should be shared with God so He can help you process them and gain greater understanding. If you chose to do what was wrong in the situation, God will forgive you. “But if [you] confess [your] sins to him [God], he [God] is faithful and just to forgive [you your] sins and to cleanse [you] from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9) Ask God for forgiveness for your own wrongdoing and seek understanding from God by asking Him to teach you His ways and strengthen you to live your life God’s way.

Overall, David’s poem recorded in Psalm 119: 25-32 is an example of how his relationship with God got stronger through God expanding David’s understanding of who God is and His ways. Both God and God’s Word brought David comfort when others were doing wrong and expanded David’s understanding of his life situation to strengthen David to do what is right according to God.

FUN FACT about Psalm 119

Psalm 119 is the longest psalm in the Bible, and it is a poem that uses an acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet and Psalm 119, verses 1–8 each have the first word beginning with the “aleph” and then the next mini poem verses 9–16 use the second letter of the alphabet “beth” and so on. There are 176 verses in Psalm 119 so there are 22 mini poems that are 8 verses in length. Psalm 119:25-32 presents the 4th letter of the Hebrew alphabet “daleth’, so this mini poem is called the daleth poem. Through the daleth poem, God offers comfort, provides evaluation, teaches His ways, and expands understanding about who He is and His way of living life according to His Word.

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