“My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word” (Psalm 119:25).
What do you do when you feel close to death–either literally, due to chronic illness or peril, or emotionally, as here, due to grief sapping the moisture from your soul (v. 28)? What do you do when you feel trapped, like there is no place to run, no option but to disobey, and death itself appears to be the only way out–the unpleasant option you are unfortunately stuck with? What do you do?
According to this stanza, you need inward renewal and outward resolution, in that order.
First, you need inward renewal (vv. 25-28). In general, the means of this renewal is always the same. The Holy Spirit uses prayer and the word to revive our souls: “Quicken thou me according to thy word” (v. 25). As for the word, it is God’s will to give life to each believer (John 6:40). As for prayer, it is God’s delight to hear us when we ask according to His will, and to give the promised life (1 John 5:14-16; cf. 2:25). Nothing is sweeter to the lifeless soul than the settled conviction that God can and will give me life through the cross and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Then what? Rather than leaving us with a general prayer, God instructs us on the specifics of revival. What is your orientation in life? In other words, what is your “way”, a word that begins five of the eight lines in this stanza? Begin the process of revival by recounting your way to God step-by-step, expecting Him to answer you and inviting Him to teach you His rules (v. 26). This last attitude is crucial. You must be willing to do anything He wants you to do. Next, having considered your way, now consider God’s appointed way, asking Him to give you understanding so that you may consider His wonders (v. 27). In this way, God will pick you up from the dust (v. 28).
Please note: This is the second time in Psalm 119 where beholding the wonders of God is said to require divine illumination (vv. 18, 27). In each instance, seeing these wonders is foundational to the entire process under consideration. Here, seeing the wonder in God’s way is necessary for life to return to our soul, for hope to revive our spirits. We may feel boxed in unto death, but God is not boxed in. His ways go beyond the reach of even our imagination (cf. Ephesians 3:20-21).
Second, you need outward resolution (vv. 29-32). Having considered your way and God’s way, you are now faced with a choice: Will you choose the false way or the faithful way? (vv. 29-30). Appearances will deceive you. Too often we think that to avoid inevitable death, we have no other option but to renege on a promise or to pose in a posture, as David did before the king of Gath. Armed, however, with the wonders of God, you now realize new possibilities and have the courage to choose faithfulness over fraudulence. It is time to ask for His law and agree with His decisions.
The results will be amazing. Instead of sticking to the dust, you will now stick within His testimonies (v. 31a). Instead of relying on yourself to keep face, you will trust God to keep you ultimately from shame (v. 31b). Even more, instead of feeling lifeless and boxed in, you will run in the way of God’s commandments, for God will have given your heart room to run (v. 32). How freeing! How precious is His grace!