Psalms 119:83-86

83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
   I do not forget your decrees.   This verse confused me at first, so I had to go to the commentary’s to see just what exactly David was saying in this verse.   It’s very interesting to be honest.  In the OT days, bottles were made    of animal skins, and were often dusty and smokey.   The King James Version translates it in this way: “like a bottle in the smoke”, that’s a very vivid word picture for a person.  It is because of all the persecution and personal drama going on in his life and around him, he feels stretched and grimy, dirty, and can’t seem to see clearly what’s going on.   But, he hold on.   He holds on to the one thing that is keeping his head above water and that is Christ’s decrees, God’s word.   That is such an amazing picture for us when times get hard and drama happens.   Stick to the last thing God did/told/revealed to/for me and that is to stay in HIS word, stay close to HIM, do not forget HIS decrees.    God may seem like HE’s silent, but HE’s very active in the drama around us.  Working for us, preparing the ground, and most importantly….He’s protecting us.

84 How long must your servant wait?
   When will you punish my persecutors?   That is the $100,000 question quite often.   And it’s not so much when we’re being persecuted either.   It’s a question asked in time of waiting:  How long God?   It’s a question I’m asking in my own situation.   How long must I wait before I find the mission/passion/place/etc. that I’ve been hoping for.    In the times of persecution, we ask for justice and relief from being persecuted.   We want it over quick, but God’s timing isn’t necessarily quick, but it’s timely.   There is a purpose for His delaying justice and that purpose is usually preparation for individuals involved.   He’s preparing the asker for something greater, he’s preparing the persecutor for the justice that’s coming for them, he’s preparing the observers for the lesson that they will learn from watching the drama unfold around them.    We often don’t realize the observers are there when we are in a mess.    When drama and persecution happen in our lives we get tunnel vision and only see what is happening to “me”, however, there is so much more going on.   Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum, life is messy and we touch the lives of others.  Our actions or non actions affect others differently.   They observe the individual in drama and say either: 1″ Wow, that person is a disaster and I will learn from them how not to act in that situation”, or 2. “I see integrity and character in their actions, let me learn from them”   God is preparing in the silence and we have to be patient, no matter how hard it is to be patient.
85 The arrogant dig pitfalls for me,
   contrary to your law.    I don’t think anymore can be said about this verse, it’s pretty straight forward.  David is saying His enemies are out to trap him, and it’s pretty much contrary to what God has written.   That’s pretty typical of the arrogant.   They don’t pay attention to God, they have their own agenda of ambition and wanting whatever it is they don’t have.
86 All your commands are trustworthy;
   help me, for men persecute me without cause.   David reiterates his hope.   God’s commands are trustworthy, help.    His statement that men persecute him without cause is a little naive I think though.   Men have cause for persecution of others.   It’s often jealousy, sometimes fear, often times it’s just because they believe they can get away with it.   To the person being persecuted, however, they don’t see the cause.   When David went after Bathsheba and placed her husband in the worst part of the battle, it was because he wanted Uriah’s wife.   David’s conclusion however is that God is trustworthy, and he is going to HIM for the help to deal with the persecution.

 87 They almost wiped me from the earth,
   but I have not forsaken your precepts.  David’s theme for this section.   While it’s been difficult and he’s felt like he was at the end of his rope and there was no hope, he’s stayed true to God’s word and he’s not forsaken the law.   It’s an example to me, to everyone that reads this verse, that no matter what is going on, stay true to God’s word.  Don’t give up though the battle seems like it’s going against me, if I stay true to God’s word, though their will be loss, a defeat in this battle doesn’t mean I’ve lost the war.   It may actually set up the next victory if I learn from this and prepare myself.
88 In your unfailing love preserve my life,
   that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.  God’s unfailing love!   I think that’s the theme of the Bible.  In times of distress, God doesn’t seem so loving.    In fact it seems like He has abandoned us.   HE hasn’t.   He’s there comforting and protecting and preparing.   The key to this is our obedience.  Like any father, he’s going to love and protect, now here comes the BUT……like any father, if we disobey, there are consequences that he won’t withhold.   David acknowledges this, his desire is to obey the statutes of God, should my desire be any less?

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