“Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.” Psalm 119:88
Years ago, I took treks across the dry, rocky mountains of Pakistan. I ran out of water along the way. The dry heat blared down, there was no shade, and I felt parched. As I climbed and walked, I kept thinking of the song, “As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after thee.” I imagined a deer panting in need of water.
With my tongue dry, God provided me with a large object lesson. Did I, at that moment, crave Jesus more in that moment than I craved a long, cool sip of water? I have thought of that object lesson multiple times over my life. Do I crave Jesus as a panting deer? Do I crave Jesus more than things of this earth?
To be honest, lately, I have felt dry and discouraged. I have prayed many dull prayers telling God, “I need a fresh fire, a renewed spirit. Please revive me; I don’t have the energy to rekindle any life in me. My source is only in You.” Have you ever noticed how God loves it when we get to the end of ourselves?
How encouraging it always is to find others in the biblical account who have uttered similar prayers, laments, and unanswerable questions. In Psalm 119:81-88, the Psalmist details his emotions: my soul faints (vs 81), my eyes fail (vs 82), how long must I wait (vs 84), the arrogant try to trap me (vs 85), I am persecuted without cause (vs 86), I have almost been wiped from the earth by them (vs 87).
Throughout these verses, the Psalmist pleads for help. In verse 88, the psalmist asks to be made alive again but asks God to do it through His lovingkindness. I loved this Psalm because the writer is saying in effect, “I need to be revived. But would you revive me by your lovingkindness, rather than by a big lightening bolt?” It’s like the Psalmist is saying, “Look, since I am desperate here, and I am turning towards you even in my confusion, can you please allow your love to revive me? I prefer the soft tender approach right now. I am feeling a bit raw.” What intimacy the Psalmist had with the Lord!
Can I admit to you a prayer I prayed just last week? It went something like this, “Lord, I know you are found by those who seek you with all their hearts. But, I am exhausted and discouraged. I have no energy. I need help. I need you to draw me close. I can’t strive to even seek right now. I can only sit in your presence. Help me.” And in the stillness, there was life and strength.
The Psalmist declares the purpose of God reviving him. It was SO THAT he may “keep the testimony of the Lord’s mouth.” In other words, the Psalmist wanted life breathed into him again because He wanted to be faithful to the testimony of God’s Truth! Wow! This was not a “please give me rest so I can be nice” type of prayer. Rather the Psalmist asked God to spark revival, life, and hope in his life through God’s lovingkindness so that he the Psalmist could HOLD, KEEP, UPHOLD, SPEAK and LIVE by the Truth of God’s mouth. This SO THAT spoke to me.
Lord, please spark fire in me again – not so that I can simply enjoy life, but spark life into me so that I will be faithful to YOU – your Truth, your purposes, your ways.
Revive us. So that…
Today, ask God to rekindle new life in you, so that you might be strengthened to live out God’s Truth in a world that rejoices in lies. How we need Him. As the Psalmist says, “Help me.” May the Lord help us all by His lovingkindness SO THAT we might honor Him above all.