Psalm 119:40: Longings and Personal Revival

We are pursuing, with all our mind and might, soul and heart, the Person whom we Love.

The One whose loving kindness is better than life.  He who animates the universe.  Brightens the Alaskan skies with the northern lights.  Who says, “Let there be” and be it is.

He who shalom-ed a troubled teenage Mary’s heart upon her selection to be the mother of our Lord and entrusted her cross broken heart to John, “Woman, behold thy son.”  Or is it He entrusted His best friend into the care of the world’s greatest mother?

We’ve got to experience the One who sent the cloven tongues of fire from Mt. Sinai into Pentecost’s upper room and filled everyone present with the Spirit of the Living God.

Not another day without His strong hand upon our shoulder.  Not an hour without His living Word surging through our veins.  Not a minute absent His approval. Not a second without His aromatic anointing.

We pursue His fresh fire.  His wind of life.  His energetic oil.

We await His hovering, brooding, indwelling, moving, empowering Spirit.

Is it renewal?  Restoration?  Awakening?  Outpouring?  Revival?

Psalm 119 features at least eight prayers of deep longing for revival.

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.

Today we take up the Psalmist’s third outcry for revival.  Psalm 119:40

“Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!”

This awakening of revival for which we pray is related to our deepest longings.  “Behold, I long for your precepts.”

For some people, the identifiable deep longing is for happiness.  David K. Naugle, in his book Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness states:

Roman philosopher Seneca (c. 5 B.C.-A. D. 65) reminded us: There is not anything in this world, perhaps, that is more talked of, and less understood, than the business of a happy life. It is every person’s wish and design; and yet not one of a thousand … knows wherein that happiness consists. We live, however, in a blind and eager pursuit of it; and the more haste we make in a wrong way, the further we are from our journey’s end.

Naugle calls this misguided longing for happiness as “the everlasting ideal.”

We are in search of the everlasting ideal in education, finances, work, technology, marriage, parenting, friendship, travel, adventure, health, entertainment, recreation, religion, food, drink, sex, and self. Not only is this pursuit exhausting; it also trivializes a once-noble concept, as we have moved from a concern with being and doing good to a fixation on feeling good.

Notice the author points to a movement from “being and doing good to a fixation on feeling good.”

Feelings are part of the image of God imparted to human beings at creation.  It is because God has emotions that we have emotions.  Feelings are a gift from God.

God’s feelings are on full display in Hosea 11:8.

How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.

Jesus feels our feelings.

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

To sympathize is to “have a fellow feeling with.”

We could restate this verse as follows:  For we have Jesus, our Great High Priest, who has fellow feelings with our weaknesses.  In every respect He has been tempted as we are yet is without sin.

When God created humans in His image He included the ability and desirability of feelings.

Longing for joy, peace, love and happiness can be pleasing to the Lord.

However, these longings are not truly the deepest human longing.

Every human being has always and will always discover their deepest longing is for God alone.

Psalm 62:5-8

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;

Hear the same deepest longing from Psalm 42:1-2

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?

See Jesus’ promised blessing upon those who embrace their deepest longings for God in Matthew 5.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.

Psalm 119:40, reveals that revival is connected to our deepest longing for God as revealed in His precepts (guidance).

Consider God’s faithfulness to Isaac because of Abraham’s exceptional longing for obedience to God.

26 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the Lord appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

Remember this is several hundred years PRIOR to God giving the written and oral Law to Moses.

Abraham’s knowledge of God’s charge, commandments, statutes and laws was 100% by hearing God’s voice.

“This variety of expression seems to be designed to show the universality and exactness of Abraham’s obedience, that he readily complied with every intimation of the divine will.”

Abraham’s deepest longing for God fueled his obedience to every hint of God’s will.

As we pursue our deepest longing for God, Abraham’s example is a valuable model.

  1. Longing for God, we pre-commit to obey every hint of God’s will.
  2. Longing for God, we expect to hear His voice, both oral and written.
  3. Longing for God, we expect the next generation of our family members to walk in God’s promises to us.
  4. Longing for God, we expect Holy Spirit revival.