Meditations on the Psalms #274

Psalm 119 Part 6

In v19 he recognizes that the earth is not his home. When we think of the person who says, “I am a stranger in the earth,” we should not think of one who wanders alone. We should think of the person who lives among others and is surrounded by the vanity of the world’s joys, but all the while knows, “I don’t really belong here.” This is one of my favourite concepts in the NT “Pilgrims and strangers in the earth … seeking a homeland …a better country, that is a heavenly one.” Heb11:13-16

If you are trying to follow God, the world is going to treat you as an alien, for that is what you will be. You cannot expect to be at home in it, and if you are, well, it is an indication that you really do not belong to Christ or at least are living far from him.

‘My soul breaks’(NKJV) is similar to our modern expression: It broke my heart, that is heart-breaking.It expresses excessive longing, grievous disappointment, hopeless love, accumulated sorrow. The NASB renders the word ‘crushed,’ the NLT ‘overwhelmed.’ By this we may see the hungering and thirsting which the psalmist had after righteousness, often mingled with much despondency. Spiritual desires are the shadows of coming blessings. What God intends to give us He first sets us longing for. Eccl3:11 “He has put eternity into our hearts.” Hence the wonderful worth of prayer, because prayer is the embodiment of longing inspired by God because he intends to bestow the blessing. I long for the heavenly city spoken of by Paul and John. What are your longings? Where the heart is breaking with desire there is spiritual life. 

In v25 the psalmist used a strong image to say that he felt near death in his current crisis; dust was the place of death, the place of mourning, and the place of humiliation. As previously noted, God is referred to, either explicitly or implied in every verse of the Psalm. The psalmist refers to himself more than 300 times. Obviously, though a compilation, this is a very personal psalm. 

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