Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

The Life-Giving Law

Not a burden, but life. Psalm 119.88

Psalm 119: Introduction (3)

Pray Psalm 119.88.

Revive me according to Your lovingkindness,
So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.

Sing Psalm 119.88.

(St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
According to Your righteousness, revive me, O my Lord!
And thus shall I, revived by grace, obey Your holy Word.

Read and meditate on Psalm 119.88 and 159, 160.

1. What does the psalmist seek in these verses?

2. How does he regard the Law and Word of God?

Jesus linked the words of His mouth to life itself: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life (Jn. 6.63). God Himself said the same thing about His Law: “You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the LORD (Lev. 18.4, 5). Moses insisted on this as well and taught that the life-giving Law of God is the key to realizing all He has promised: “Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel, and he said to them: ‘Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe—all the words of this law. For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.’”

The composer of Psalm 119 also understood the life-giving power of the Law and Word of God. He called on God to “revive” him nine times throughout this psalm. The Hebrew word for “revive” is something more like, “cause me to live!” There is an urgency in it, as well as an understanding that, unless God is at work in us, willing and doing of His good pleasure, we cannot even exist!

We must not take for granted the life we have because of the lovingkindness of God, and especially not the new life we have in Jesus Christ. Let us thank God every day that we are alive, and let us seek Him for the power of His Word and Spirit to enrich our lives, indwell our lives, empower our lives, adorn our lives, transform our lives, and use the lives He has given us that others might truly live as well.

The psalmist would have us pray to be revived by turning to God and His Law and Word, so that the Spirit will work powerfully within us to enliven by grace and with truth every facet of our lives.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth” (Ps. 119.88).

This verse has a request and a purpose. I fear that today the verse is read with a different purpose.
Revive me according to Your lovingkindness:
So that I can be happy.
So that I can be healthy.
So that I can be rich.
So that all my spiritual, physical, and emotional needs are met.

But the purpose of this verse as God wants us to read it is inherently different. We long to be revived by His lovingkindness, so that we can keep His Law. Long and short, pure and simple; there it is. The only purpose for our revival.

“And now for a little while grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His Holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage” (Ez. 9.8). Revived to be enlightened to obey.

“Will You not revive again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Ps. 85.6) Revived to rejoice and obey.

“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night” (Ps. 92.1, 2). Revived to give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness and His faithfulness, and to obey.

Ours is a circuitous life in the LORD. We request to be revived by His lovingkindness so that we will keep the Law. Keeping the Law causes us to be enlightened in God’s Word; to rejoice in our salvation and our revival; and to give thanks for His lovingkindness that revives us. And on it goes, causing us to be more like Jesus with every round of revival and obedience.

More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.

More, more about Jesus, More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fulness see, More or His love who died for me.

(Hewitt/Sweney, 1887)
For reflection

1. How do you experience that “circuitous life in the LORD”?

2. Do you think the Church today is in need of revival? Explain.

3. Do you think if you spent more time meditating in God’s Law you would know more of the eternal life He longs to give you? Explain.

[The psalmist] desires to be quickened, to testify that even in the midst of life he is dead, except in so far as he is sustained by the power of God. And assuredly, all who are duly acquainted with their own infirmity, esteeming their life as nothing, will crave to be quickened every moment. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.149

Pray Psalm 119.159, 160.

Praise God for His Law and all His Word of truth. Seek His righteous judgments for the work of this day. Call on Him to revive and renew you in every aspect of your life.

Sing Psalm 119.159, 160.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Lord, consider how I love the precepts of Your holy Word!
All Your Word is truth forever, and your judgments, righteous Lord.
O revive us! O revive us by Your kindness, loving Lord!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in the series on Acts by clicking here.

What is the Law of God and how should we learn and obey it? Two books can help. The Law of God arranges the statutes and precepts of God’s Law under their appropriate number of the Ten Commandments. This book is an excellent tool for meditating on God’s Law and thinking about its application in our time. The Foundation for Christian Ethics, on the other hand, explains why the Law matters and how we are to use it. You can order free copes of each of these here and here.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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