Teach me. Give me. Make me. Incline my heart. Turn away my eyes. Revive me.
Have I surrendered myself to God? The answer to this question is the beginning of what sets us apart from the world. This section, as with the rest of Psalm 119, says “Lord I surrender to you, show me Your ways and may I cherish them.”
The Psalmist in verse 33 pleads with the Lord to “teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall observe it to the end.” His only desire is to be taught followed by his commitment to obey these commands “to the end”. Each day that we live is a building block towards observing God’s commands until our end. Our place in eternity will be the sum of each moment we have lived. The phrase “teach me the way of Your statutes” is emphasized 9 times in chapter 119 alone. This verse is unique in that it is the only one that references the Hebrew word ‘yara’ and figuratively means ‘to point out (as if aiming the finger)’ In order to be taught, our aim must be to be like Mary and sit at Jesus’ feet ready to learn (Matthew 10:39).
Verse 34 “Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law and keep it with all my heart.” Without the understanding of God’s Word our obedience will be short-lived or half-hearted. Jesus said “when anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart” (Matthew 13:19). When I was younger I did not understand how integral Jesus was to my daily walk and so I had a very half-hearted love for Him. It wasn’t until I started studying Him more in-depthly that I had a fuller understanding of Him and my whole heart was dedicated to pleasing and following Him. In Psalm 32:9 God warns us to “not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check”. Simply, no amount of force can make our hearts follow Christ but once we understand his expectations; then, we can choose to faithfully and willingly follow.
Verse 35-36 “Make me walk in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to dishonest gain.” There is a long-term view here because keeping God’s commands does not always feel delightful :-). However, there are spiritual, physical, and emotional benefits to pursuing God’s way. Notice also that it is a walk, not a run or sprint. When I was a new babe in Christ, I had many thorns of the world – “the worries, riches, and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:14) that took time to remove. I remember thinking that I did not know how I was going to overcome but that I was going to obey what I knew at the time. I desired the ways of God and am thankful He continues to extend the patience for me to walk with Him. Let us encourage our sisters to keep walking and desiring for the Lord to direct us in His way.
Verse 37 “Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways.” With the average adult spending 4.5 hours daily watching television and approx. 50 hours in front of a screen we must humbly surrender our viewing choices to God. Then with increased popularity of explicit movies and studies revealing that more than 30% of women are viewing pornography each week, how much more do we need to be revived in our Lord’s ways? This Hebrew word has many meanings, some of which are to give life, nourish up, recover, repair, and restore to life. All of which spending more time in God’s word will do for our souls. Jesus said “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Verse 38-39 “Establish Your word to Your servant, As that which produces reverence for You. Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your ordinances are good.” Fear can be a good thing. It is what makes you prepare for that presentation or that job interview. It is reading and studying your subject so that you will be ready. Much like preparing ourselves for the inescapable Judgement Day and, if you will, our “life presentation” to give (2 Cor. 5:10). In Hebrew the word “reverence” in this verse also translates as “fear” many times throughout the scriptures. As in Proverbs 19:23, “the fear of the Lord leads to life” or in Job 28:28 “the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom”. The fear of the Lord is keeping away from evil (Prov 16:6) solely because it pleases Him and in turn gives us life and peace.
Verse 40 “Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me through Your righteousness.” What’s beautiful about this verse is that longing for God’s precepts or commands is synonymous to longing for what is pure, right, and rejoices the heart (Psalm 19:8). If we long for these things, we need to continue pursuing the knowledge of Christ! We are revived by gleaning the wisdom from the Word, “for the mind set on the Spirit, is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
 Strong’s Concordance Number 3384  http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/30/health/americans-screen-time-nielsen/