Psalm 119:17 Deal bountifully with your servant, so that I may live and observe your word. 18 Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. 19 I live as an alien in the land; do not hide your commandments from me. 20 My soul is consumed with longing for your ordinances at all times. 21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments; 22 take away from me their scorn and contempt, for I have kept your decrees. 23 Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes. 24 Your decrees are my delight, they are my counselors.
We aren’t told who authored this psalm. It may or may not have been King David, but it sounds like him. Once again he psalmist is in trouble, “princes sit plotting against me”. There are threats on many sides. So how does the psalmist respond? “…your servant will meditate on your statues…”. When things look bad, lean into the Lord!
What captures my attention is the WAY in which the psalmist leans in. He mentions bringing particular focus to “your law”, “your commandments”, “your decrees”, “your statues”. Given that the psalmist lived in a time when the covenant between God and people was driven by the law, it makes sense. But we live in a different time.
As Christians we live under a new covenant. The words of our liturgy for holy communion quote Jesus, “This is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law by giving himself to die for us sinners, then being raised from the dead on the third day. Given this new covenant, it wouldn’t make sense for us to use the laws and statutes of God to lean into the Lord in times of trouble. So what does this look like for a new covenant Christian? Three things come to mind:
- Leaning into my faith means, first and foremost, giving thanks to God for all of the ways God has been faithful in the past. In my case, there have been many situations which looked dire, yet God delivered me and those I love. Just the act of recalling such times gives me strength and hope.
- Next I will generally spend some time in prayer. There’s something very cathartic about being honest with God when I know I’m in over my head. Peace tends to come when I allow my desperation to come through.
- Finally, I will invite others into my situation. This one is hard for me because I’m not great at asking for help, but the older I get the more I realize how important this is. Two or more people agreeing in prayer is far more powerful than a single individual.
What comes to your mind in this regard? How do you lean into the Lord?