Consecration Prayer Of The Servant

Psalm 119
17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.
20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.
21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.
22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.
23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.

This is the third section of Psalm 119. Having covered a more detailed overview of the Psalm, it is my intention to go more thoroughly through each section. Briefly, each section is according to the letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter contains 8 verses that begin with that specific letter. Gimel is the third letter, so each verse, in the Hebrew, begins with a word starting with the letter Gimel.
In Hebrew, unlike English, each letter was originally also a word. We do not know the meaning of every letter today, but we do know most. Gimel means, "To benefit or requite, camel (in the sense of burden bearing)". Since the Psalmist built the Psalm based on the letters, it is likely the meaning of each letter played in his thoughts as he composed each section. In this section, we can perceive the Psalmists taking on the position of a pilgrim in a journey. He no longer sees this world as his home. His concern is that of a pilgrim seeking to be adequately equipped to successfully complete the journey. In this way, we can see Gimel's meaning of seeking God's blessings for such a journey, as well as seeing the taking on the burden, such as the camel bears, for a journey.
This Psalm is also based upon the usage of a host of words that are "legal" terms in the Hebrew. I have gone into a more thorough definition of each word, as it has been encountered, in the previous sections. I would recommend going there to find those expansions. I will cover additional words as we come across them.

The Needy Servant
17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

It is worth noting the first Hebrew word in this section is the word for the first letter. Such use does serve to confirm the Psalmist's usage of the letter's meaning as a running theme through that letter's section. Looking at this word here we need to note the same basic word structure can carry various shades of meaning. These depend upon the vowel structure used. The first word carries with it the idea of seeking something for good.
This section never uses a name or title of God, but is definitely addressing God. The Psalmist, in seeking God's provision, starts in the position of a servant. Such is the position of humility and subjection. When we approach our Lord, we too must hold to the ground of standing, or rather kneeling as His servant. Too many today, teach that we can demand of God. Though God gives us promises, and we can appeal to such, NEVER should any Christian become so arrogant as to be a DEMANDING servant. The two are at total conflict with each other. The teaching to demand of God, is a blasphemous and rebellious teaching of this age.
This verse continues with a particular beauty. You will notice the Psalmist's requests. He seeks such a simple thing. First, he asks for continued life. This servant seeks for the most basic of requests. He seeks the necessary base, for the physical, upon which the second, the spiritual, needs for its completion. This servant has the true servant's heart. He is not asking for selfish motives. He is approaching God, showing that servant's gaze in searching for his Lord's will. A more literal translation being, "Grant upon your servant life and I keep (observe) your word." How beautiful a picture this draws to my sight. I behold the servant, upon his face, at the feet of the LORD. He is beseeching God in a heart of consecration. There is certainly no selfishness manifest here!

18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
This servant continues in his beseeching the LORD. He certainly doesn't approach in an arrogance of self-confidence. He doesn't take it for granted he will simply hear God's Words and understand them. He clearly sees that he can't see! He comes like that wonderful blind man we read about in John chapter 9. He could see his need of sight while the Pharisees boldly proclaimed their clear vision. Oh that we may know our utter dependence upon our LORD, to see and understand His Words. If we think to ourselves, "if only I had a Bible school or seminary training, then I could understand clearly", we are most certainly deceived! Didn't the Pharisees of John chapter 9 have superior training and self-confidence? Their self-confidence still left them IN THEIR SINS! Behold the blind man of that same chapter. He was condemned by the educated Pharisees and cast out. According to Jesus, this poor, ignorant, blind man was granted the revelation to life! Praise be to God in the Highest!
Now pay attention to the word "behold". The meaning of this Hebrew word being "to show regard, pay attention to". This servant didn't just seek vain revelation. He sought with the specific purpose of obedience to that revealed word. The Hebrew word translated "wondrous" means "marvellous, wonderful, beyond one's power". The word for "law" being "torah". That word "torah" being the complete direction from God. Here we see the servant seeking deeply for God to grant understanding that is beyond any natural ability. He clearly knew the supernatural nature of God's Word, and it's apprehension being beyond man's natural ability. Except we approach God's Word in this manner, we are subject to all kinds of deceptions. THAT IS WHY THE PHARISEES WERE CONDEMNED TO BLINDNESS AND STILL BEING IN THEIR SINS!

The Broken Pilgrim
19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. This confession of being a stranger, connects us to the same confession only found elsewhere in the Psalms in: 12 Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. Psalm 39:12
The position of the stranger is one of a sojourner that has no permanent place to call home. This is the position of the pilgrim. With God's servants, there is this inner knowledge that there isn't any place on this earth that is really our final place of rest. We pass through this world with that final home always in our view. It is also important to remember that if we are not in that position in our hearts, we are standing in a false way in our position of being God's servant. We have erred from the way. That person who is at peace and settled in this world HAS ALREADY FALLEN!
The very structure of this verse gives a warning. This servant is clearly connecting the blindness, in failing to understand God's commands, with the heart that is settled in this world. He addresses his LORD, in seeking revelation, in the confession that he clearly sees this world as not being his home. It also shows us that the ability to "not see" is based upon God actively withholding, or hiding, the understanding of His Word. We saw Jesus revealing that when He spoke in parables:

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. Matthew 13:10-16

We may study with all our intellect, but unless our heart is right, we will remain in darkness.

20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. We behold the grain of wheat that is broken that it may bring forth more fruit: 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. John 12:24

As Christ told us of the wheat that must die, so life could flow from it, likewise must the soul of God's servant break before God. It is the broken soul, yearning desperately to behold God's wise decisions of life, that will see the answered prayer. Only that soul is prepared to receive WHATEVER God decides. It is that spirit of Job that humbly bows before God with the confession:

20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. Job 1:20-22

The Choice of Reproach
21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.
Now we see the issue of reproach this servant presents before the LORD. From his study of God's commandments, he sees that those who break God's commands have been rebuked. The law is that which shines light on the wickedness of sin. The wicked did not have their sin brought out into the open and rebuked, until God had openly declared His Word that forbids such wickedness. The New Testament clearly tells of this power of the Law of Commandments in Romans chapter 7. They have been rebuked and put under the curse of condemnation.
Now all men have broken the law and fall under the condemnation, but we see a distinct classification outlined here. There are servants of God who have humbled themselves, seeking all life and direction from Him, walking in brokenness, on one side. On the other side, we find the cursed ones who err from God's commandments. The foundation of their wickedness is defined as PRIDE. Thus we have: Humble Servants and Proud Rebels.

22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.
We see a burden that lies upon the heart of this servant. He only seeks to please his LORD, but these "rebuked proud" heap reproach and contempt upon him. In their sight, he is a man of shame, as was also our Lord Jesus Christ.
This servant is scorned and shamed because of keeping God's testimony. He has born the name of his LORD unashamedly, in the midst of the shame they falsely heap on him. Like as they spit upon Jesus, so likewise will they spit upon those who uphold the name of Jesus.
We look at this servant's particular request. Though we will bear shame for the name of Christ from these cursed proud ones, it is not wrong before God to seek God's vindication. He asks for God to "remove from me" or more literally, "roll from upon" this servant. The very use of this expression takes us to the place of "Gilgal", which is the place of the rolling away of the reproach of Egypt. We find this account of the circumcising of those who had come out of the wilderness march:
9 And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day. 10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. Joshua 5:9,10
In Christ we can know the reproach and contempt has been rolled away before God. Thus we see the extra significance of the Passover celebration of verse 10.

23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
We see the scorn came from places of government as well. The proud, who are at home in this world, are our peers as well as our leaders. In the face of this scorn, the faithful servant does not cease to muse upon God's statutes. He will refuse to put away God's Word to please the wicked rulers, who abhor God's commands of reproach. The servant will continue to meditate upon them day and night.
Take note that this verse specifically details the position of the princes. They are "sitting". That very position should take us to this first verse of the first Psalm:
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Psalm 1:1
Psalm 1 takes us to see the dangerous position of condemnation these princes occupy. Though they be princes, the servants of God cannot join them in their wicked way, for the sake of removing the reproach that issues from their seats of government. The scorn of such wicked will indeed come. Continue to walk in the way of blessing - to not walk in their counsel, to not stand in the pathway with them and do not sit in unity with them!

Commitment to God's Word
24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.
Though the wicked may sit in the seat of power, God does have the ability to remove the scorn they heap. God has rebuked the proud in His commandments and can do so again. He can heap shame on the proud.
This servant concludes his prayer in adding one last "also". He brings up an important point. In verse 22 we saw he kept God's testimonies, but there is the necessary balance of delighting in them. It is one thing to obey, it is another to take pleasure. God is looking for both.
The "my counselors", that ends this section, should be just that. If we are looking to the "Christian Counselors" of this day, we are in great danger. God's faithful servant is not looking to these false psychology counselors for counsel in the path of life. It is that which tells us of God's character that has to be our "men of my counsel", as the original literally reads. It is easy to fall prey to seeking the face of men. This ending serves to remind us, that position belongs only to God's Testimonies. That is where the faithful servant will look.

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All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible

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