Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Revive me

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 119:145-160

TO CHEW ON: "Revive me..." Psalm 119:149, 154, 156, 159

The writer of today's reading writes from a place of despair, even desperation. He cries. He can't sleep. He feels persecuted. He is revolted by the godlessness around him. And he senses a need for revival. That's what jumped out at me as I read this passage. Four times within these 15 verses he prays, "Revive me..."

Revive [chayah] in English means to bring back to life or restore to consciousness; to give new vigour, health; to make effective or operative again; to renew in the mind or memory; to refresh, reawaken. Let's look closely at the psalmist's request for revival to see what we can glean for times we sense a similar need.

It's interesting that each request is phrased slightly differently (at least in the NKJV).

  • "O Lord, revive me according to Your justice [mishpat ]" - Psalm 119:149.
The NLT expresses this "...let me be revived by following your regulations," implying that an aspect of renewal could be up to us as a rousing of ourselves to again pay attention to what God wants. (The other translations I checked: NKJV, AMP, NIV & ESV didn't communicate that kind of action on our part, however.)
  • "Revive me according to Your word [imrah]" - Psalm 119:154.
What the psalmist seems to be doing here is reminding God of the promises in the written word (Torah). "Preserve my life according to your promise," is how the NIV renders this (also similar in NLT and ESV).
  • "Revive me according to Your judgments [mishpat ] - Psalm 119:156.
The NLT translates this similarly to vs. 149: "let me be revived by following your regulations." "Give me life according to your rules," says the ESV.
  • "Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness [checed ] - Psalm 119:159.
Here the psalmist appeals to God's love in his request for revival. "Give back my life because of your unfailing love," says the NLT.

Judging from how the psalmist phrased his requests here, I think we could say that he saw revival as predominantly initiated by God. Though we may help it along by again turning our will to live in ways that please Him, we depend on Him to be true to His attributes — faithfulness, love, mercy — to keep the promises in His word and to extend His lovingkindness to us. One thing I believe we can do, however. Like the psalmist we can realize our need and pray for the breath of His life to again fill us.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am reminded of Your words to Nicodemus, embodying the mystery of spiritual life: "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." Please blow the wind of Your life over me. Revive me. Amen.

MORE: "My Eyes are Dry" - by Keith Green




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