25 My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes!
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!
This passage shows David in a low place. When he says “My soul clings to the dust” it’s his way of saying my soul feels dead. And with the language that follows it appears that he feels dead inside because of his own sin. But this passage also shows a repentant heart that is coming alive by clinging to God and His word. David pleads with God to “give him life according to His word.”
In verse 26 David repents and he receives teaching from the scriptures. Some versions say “I have declared my ways and You answered me”. The Passion Translation says “I’ve poured out my life before you, and you’ve always been there for me.” The ways this passage is translated lead us to see that David held nothing back when it came to God. He truly had a repentant heart with God. He poured his heart out, he didn’t sugar coat it and come up with reasons and excuses for sins he had committed. He held nothing back. And why would he? Why do we sometimes hold back and still try to make excuses for things that we do that we know are sin? God already knows, so why not pour it out to him. If we truly want heart change that is the only way to it. To be honest with ourselves and honest with God and to pour it all out and then ask God to teach us, to make us understand. David is honest with his repentant heart to God. Whatever sin he was writing about, and David had many, he had come to God to pour it out, to admit that he felt dead inside and that it was of his own doing and that his heart was heavy because of it. He knew the only source for strength and to life was through God and that he would find God when he turned to God’s word!
This passage also reminds me of a passage in Romans where Paul is saying I don’t do what I want to do and I do what I do not want to do.
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” Romans 7:15-17
The bottom line is the sinful nature is still within us all, and it will be with us until we go home to glory! Now I do believe that the older I get the things that surface in my sinful nature tend to have changed over time. There are things I struggled with in my younger years that I don’t feel the struggle as much now that I’m older and maybe a little wiser. But that does not mean the struggle is not there for something else that rears its ugly head in my nature. David recognized in this Psalm and I believe Paul was recognizing in his passage in Romans that those struggles are there but the way to overcome them is through studying scripture and staying in the Word. David asked God to “strengthen me according to your word!” To “graciously teach me your law.”
David also recognized that turning away from sin and turning to God was a choice. In verses 30 – 32 David is showing that he was intentional about wanting to turn from his sin. He didn’t just come and lay it all down and then go back to the same old, same old. He poured it out, he asked God to teach him and then he made a choice that he wanted his ways to be different. David couldn’t conquer every sin within him in his human flesh any more than we can conquer every sin within our human flesh. But I believe because of the change of the tone of this passage as you read it, that he was conquering the one he was pouring out to the Lord. David made a choice. He chose the way of faithfulness, he chose to learn what was in the scriptures. He asked the Lord’s help “O Lord, let me not be put to shame” and he chose to run toward God because he knew that is what would revive his dead soul and “enlarge his heart”.
“Men do not drop into the right way by chance; they must choose it, and continue to choose it, or they will soon wander from it.” Spurgeon
This is all men (and women) we don’t just fall into following God and doing what is right by chance. We must choose to follow Him and continue to choose Him every day, or we will soon wander away. I know that in my own life, when I am not in the word daily, or even when I am but I am reading and putting it aside without studying and trying to chew on it a little and letting it change me, that I will find those things in my ugly sinful nature rearing their head more and more and I find I do not do what I want and I do the very thing that I do not want. But today I’m going to choose to run in the way of His commandments. In His way so as to enlarge my heart! I pray you will too.