November 10

Keep Me Steady, Lord

Psalms 119:133 “Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.”

Yesterday I was happily surprised by something that happened in a meeting. Several interactions and conversations members had with different people joined in a clear expression of God’s direction for our group for one aspect of our work together. We even had a leader with us who usually isn’t present, who was able to help and advise us. In another group where we were closing out our study of Ecclesiastes, we attempted to answer the question, “Are you ever surprised by what you read in Scripture?” (1) My emphasis was on how we are pleasantly surprised by a new and deeper understanding of familiar passages. Today I appreciation verse 133 in Psalm 119, in a fresh way, which I should instead expect because the entire psalm is about delighting in God’s Word.

Verse 133 comes near the end of the psalm, after we have been encouraged to be blessed by: clinging to God’s law (v. 31), seeking God’s righteousness (v. 40), remembering God’s statutes and blessings in the night (v. 55), treasuring God’s laws more than money (v. 72), trusting in God’s law for strength when enduring trials (v. 87), and depending on God’s law for wisdom when opposed (v. 98)—just to name a few ways that God’s ways are best. Now the psalmist asks the Lord to keep his steps steady, according to God’s promise to him, in his covenant. “It is not in the power of man to order and direct his steps: this is done by the Lord; and such who acknowledge him in their ways, and apply to him for direction, are and shall be thus favored by him. “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23) (2) In Psalm 119, “The Psalmist wants the Lord to guide him through life. He realizes that one is within the will of God while seeking to obey His revealed Word. But he also knows that obedience is impossible unless God supplies the grace to do so.” (3)

We must rely on the Lord to keep us steady with His Word, and we who are believers also have the Holy Spirit who directs us away from sin so that it will not “overtake” us. We, like Jeremiah, turn to God for his wisdom because our desire for holiness is greater than our desire for sin. But Christian steadiness does not come as a result of our efforts to obey God’s laws; it comes from our relationship with Jesus. It’s as simple as that—the more we depend upon Christ for our equilibrium, the more we will experience the grace of God in Christ, by the power of his Spirit.

In what area of your life do you need more steadiness? How have you been relying on your power or strength to resist temptations to sin (and probably failed)? Are you as convicted, as I am, to rely more on Christ and the Holy Spirit to live more consistently and steadily by God’s standard?

(1) Gibson, David, “Living Life Backwards,” Chapter 10, Crossway, 2017.

(2) John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Psalm 119:133, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-119.html

(3) Reformation study Bible, Psalm 119:133

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