Personal Revival: Psalm 119:154
The Psalmist brilliantly navigates the terrain of his heart and provides for us, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, an example of personal revival.
Eleven times in Psalm 119 the author petitions God to “revive me and give me life.”
Vs. 25 My soul clings to the dust. Revive me according to your word.
Vs. 37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
Vs. 40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!
Vs. 50 This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.
Vs. 88 In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.
Vs. 93 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.
Vs. 107 I am severely afflicted; give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
Vs. 149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
Vs. 154 Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise!
Vs. 156 Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to your rules.
Vs. 159 Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love.
In eight of the eleven personal revival verses David shows how well he understands his inner being and expresses that experience to God. Vs. 25, 37, 40, 50, 93, 107, 154, 159
In the other three personal revival verses of Psalm 119 David petitions God for revival based upon the known nature and character of God. Two times God’s steadfast love and once God’s great mercy form David’s basis for his petition. Vs. 88, 149, 156
From this we can learn the importance and value of understanding and expressing to God the experience of our inner being. This personal awareness is evident in Jesus too. Matthew 26:36-39
36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Knowing God, His nature and character, is also vital. The well-understood inner being is only safe when entrusted to God. 1 Peter 4:19
Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Let’s now consider David’s ninth personal revival prayer.
Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise! Psalm 119:154
Three petitions are stated in this prayer.
- Plead my cause.
- Redeem me.
- Give me life according to your promise.
Plead my Cause
The Psalmist deeply feels the weight of injustice against him by wicked people. He believes he is receiving treatment that isn’t fair, right or deserved.
Plead my cause, which is the same thing as to undertake a cause, or to take the charge of defending one in judgment, or to maintain the right of the oppressed. Calvin’s Commentary
First, to “plead my cause” is a request for God to undertake his cause for him.
- Alexander reads it, “Strive my strife, and redeem me” — that is, stand in my stead, bear my burden, fight my fight, pay my price, and bring me out to liberty. When we feel ourselves dumb before the foe, here is a prayer made to our hand. What a comfort that if we sin we have an advocate, and if we do not sin the same pleader is engaged on our side. The Treasury of David
Second, “plead my cause” petitions God to take charge of defending David in the judgements being made by wicked people against him.
- It feels to David as if the wicked have set up a trial, found him guilty, have sentenced him to punishment and all this wrongly and without legal representation.
- He asks God to be his defense attorney and advocate.
- “He now supposes himself to be arraigned before the tribunal of men, as he certainly was in their general charges against him; arraigned, too, in his helplessness, without a name, without state; in such way as one disowned would be arraigned….As it were, he regards himself as one sold to corrupt judges, or at all events, as one that has lost his standing in society in the estimation of men.” The Treasury of David
Third, “plead my cause” is a prayer for God to maintain the right of the oppressed.
- What God expects from David, David asks God to do for him.
- Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. Isaiah 1:16, 17
David urges God, in prayer, to be his Kinsman-Redeemer. From the Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary we gain insight into a kinsman-redeemer.
Male relative who, according to various laws found in the Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act for a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need of vindication.
Although the term “kinsman-redeemer” is used only seven times in the NIV (all in the Book of Ruth) and “avenger of blood” is used twelve times, the Hebrew verb ga’al, from which both of these terms are translated, is used over 100 times and rendered by such additional terms as “redeemer” or “near relative.” The Hebrew term designates a male relative who delivers or rescues (Genesis 48:16; Exodus 6:6); redeems property (Leviticus 27:9-25) or person (Leviticus 25:47-55); avenges the murder of a relative as a guiltless executioner (Numbers 35:9-34); and receives restitution for wrong done to a relative who has since died (Numbers 5:8). The unique emphasis of the redemption/salvation/vindication associated with the kinsman-redeemer is the fact that this action is carried out by a kinsman on behalf of a near relative in need. This idea is most clearly illustrated in the Book of Ruth. https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/kinsman-redeemer.html
Give Me Life According to your Promise
The Psalmist prays, “I can’t defend myself. God and God alone is sufficient to be my Advocate and Defender. I am unable to get out of this situation on my own. Redeem me God! This experience has drained the life from me. When you advocate for me and redeem me, I ask you to revive me. Give me life according to your promise.