Summer Daily Devotional - Psalm 119:153-176
Leave Your Resume at the Door
“I have strayed like a lost sheep.”
Psalm 119: 176
Have you ever made an appeal to someone?
Think about the last time you seriously requested something from someone… On what basis did you form your request? What was your justification for asking for such a thing?
Maybe the request was based on past years of friendship—like a good friend asking to borrow another friend’s lawnmower.
Maybe the request was based on performance—like a student requesting entrance to a college based on GPA.
Maybe the request was based on the nature of authority in the relationship—like a mother requesting a child do the dishes.
Maybe it was based on a pre-determined, agreed-upon set of principles—like requesting time off work according to the employee policy manual that was signed at hiring.
Whether we are aware of it or not, you and I are making requests and asking things of others all the time. And every single request comes with some sort of justification.
This last bit of Psalm 119 closes with a number of requests from the Psalmist to God:
“Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life…” (v. 154)
“Preserve my life…” (v. 156)
“Preserve my life…” (v. 159)
“Give me understanding…” (v. 169)
“Deliver me…” (v. 170)
“Let me live…” (v. 175)
The Psalmist is crying out to God to save him, and he’s not being shy. He’s literally crying out, “God save my life! I’m asking you to see me!” (v. 153).
Here’s the question though:
Upon what foundation does the Psalmist base these requests?
Answer: Upon God Himself.
“Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise.” (v. 154)
“Preserve my life according to your laws.” (v. 156)
“Preserve my life according to your love.” (v. 159)
“Give me understanding according to your word.” (v. 169)
“Deliver me according to your promise.” (v. 170)
“Let me live that I may praise you.” (v. 175)
If you were to go back and re-read all of Psalm 119, you would pick up on this major theme:
When you cry out to God, you should base your request on His righteous resumé.His character. His love. His compassion. His mercy. His righteousness. This is our basis for believing He’ll answer us when we call out to Him.
“Lord, save me because I know you’re the God who saves!”
“Lord have mercy upon me, because I know you’re merciful!”
“Lord, take care of me, because I know you’re the God who provides for your people.”
So how is this good news for you and I today?
Let’s look at the last verse, verse 176:
“I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
For I have not forgotten your commands.”
Here’s the good news, friend. This last verse reveals the resumé of your life and the resumé of my life. What we bring to the table is nothing more than the fact that we are sinners: lost, broken, rebellious, stubborn sheep that have wandered far from the good Shepherd and have become entrenched in death.
But that’s not the end of the story. We can cry out to the Good Shepherd. Our Shepherd loves His sheep. Like the Psalmist, we can say, “Lord come find me! I’m lost, I’ve strayed away, but I haven’t forgotten about you. Save me, because of your love.” And He has done just that.
Through providing His Son, Jesus, the Righteous Man of the Psalms, God has given you a different resumé to bring to the table. We get to appeal to God, not based on our own merit, not on our own desperate, pathetic attempts at righteousness. We cry out to the Father because of the perfect, righteous resumé of God’s Word Incarnate: our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Remember those requests from the Psalmist we went through earlier?
Jesus is the realization of God’s promise. (v. 153)
Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s law. (v. 156)
Jesus is the revelation of God’s love. (v. 159)
Jesus is the embodiment of God’s word. (v. 169)
Jesus’ name is the one we praise. (v. 175)
These last verses in Psalm 119 are a reminder that when you cry out to the Lord, to leave your resumé at the door. Better yet, take it to the shredder or the burn pile. Torch it. Performance-based religion doesn’t work with God.
Appeal to Him because of who He is. His compassion and mercy are what guarantee that our cries won’t go unheard, that our suffering doesn’t go unseen.
Anchor yourself in His promises. He is faithful, loving, compassionate, kind, and merciful, and He hears you.