Psalm 119:33-40 is a prayer asking God to give life in the fullness that God has meant it to be. Compare verse 40b: “in thy righteousness give me life!” (RSV). The Psalmist is acutely aware of the need to be preserved in life. A deep sense of depending on God is echoing through these verses.
This prayer of dependence on God arises from an understanding of your own heart. Someone once said, “There is a tension in the heart itself: heart-loyalty threatened by heart-disloyalty.” The heart wants to obey (verse 34) but can easily be drawn to selfish ends (verse 36) or to what the eyes see (verse 37). Therefore disappointment is feared (verse 39).
The luxuries of modern life often create false impressions of security. The bottom line is that we are all vulnerable. The HIV pandemic has taught us about our communal vulnerability – whether male of female, rich or poor, Christian or unbeliever. However, it is not only about a life-threatening virus. We are standing closer to the precipice of the possibility of losing life as God intended it for us as we would want to acknowledge.
There is the possibility of losing “real life”. How can we be safeguarded from losing it?
Through the grace of God! The Psalmist calls on God, depends on God. For God is the giver of life.
To think about (or discuss): Will an honest acknowledgement of your own “heart-disloyalty” make any difference in the way you react to someone else’s problems? Compare Galatians 6:1-2.