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The Scriptorium

Grace for Your Time of Need

He's there with grace when we need Him. Psalm 119.153, 154

Pray Psalm 119.153, 154.
Consider my affliction and deliver me,
For I do not forget Your law.
Plead my cause and redeem me;
Revive me according to Your word.

Sing Psalm 119.153, 154.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Lord, look down on my affliction, see my wounded, weary soul!
Plead my cause, redeem and save; deliver me and make me whole!
O revive us! O revive us! Let Your Word our lives control!

Read Psalm 119.153-160; meditate on verses 153, 154.

1. What did the psalmist want God to do?

2. What seems to have been the circumstances in which he sought this?

Here at the beginning of the ר (resh) stanza of Psalm 119, our psalmist seems to have been in distress. He was afflicted and in need of an advocate. We can imagine that it was the usual suspects – mockers, scorners, the wicked – who were giving him a hard time (cf. vv. 155, 157, 158). He would have preferred not to have these people breathing down his neck, but he understood that in this world those who believe in the Lord will have tribulation (Jn. 16.33).

What to do? He turned to the Lord in prayer, calling on Him to “consider” his affliction, “plead” his cause, and “redeem” and “revive” him. Note that he did not imprecate for the Lord to bust the chops of his foes. There will always be foes. The way to thrive in the face of them is not to break them down but to rise above them. And this requires grace, which, happily, our Father has in abundance for all who come seeking it (Heb. 4.16).

All the different supplications of these two verses are seeking forms of grace. For God even to “consider” us is amazing enough (cf. Ps. 8.5-8). That He would advocate for us, arguing in our defense, is equally remarkable (cf. 1 Jn. 2.1, 2). To “redeem” us from our sins – who can fathom the enormity of grace that entails? And to “revive” us day by day? God never tires of extending His grace to us. The more of it we seek, the more we will receive, and the more we will have to extend to others, that praise and thanks may rise to God (2 Cor. 4.15).

And note the bona fides our psalmist pleaded as testimony to his faith: He did not forget the Law of God (v. 153), and he desired to be revived only in line with the teaching of God’s Word (v. 154). He doubtless knew that it might be the will of God for him to suffer affliction (Phil. 1.29), but he was willing to receive whatever God sent his way, as long as it came gift-wrapped in grace.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
The distressed psalmist was, indeed, in need of an advocate. As Job lamented about God, “For He is not a man, as I am, that I may answer Him, and that we should go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both” (Job 9.32, 33).

But now there is! Jesus Christ is that Someone Who mediates between God and man. Years ago, in a Bible study under the teaching of Pat Hunter, she—wanting to use a visual to drive this truth home—stood between two of us, and placed her hands on each of our shoulders, representing the Daysman (KJV), the umpire, the arbiter, betwixt. The reconciler between God and man. Over forty years later, it is still vivid in my memory.

Jesus, when handed the book of Isaiah to read in the synagogue, chose the passage proclaiming this about Himself: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Lk. 4.18, 19; Is. 61.1, 2).

In our time of need for grace – our need for an Advocate, Daysman, and Umpire Savior, to stand between our sinful selves and the Holy God – Jesus Christ was provided. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Rom. 5.8-11). God considered our plight and redeemed, delivered, and revived us so that we will not forget His Law, will stay fixed in His Word and will share this grace with our Personal Mission Field.

O, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
O, the grace that brought it down to man!
O, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty,
At Calvary.
(Newell/Towner, 1895)

For reflection
1. In our day and our culture, much of the affliction and oppression we experience is spiritual, and is wrought by spiritual forces of wickedness. What forms should you expect that to take?

2. How can remembering God’s Word help us to stand firm against oppressors?

3. What has Jesus done to reconcile you to God? How do you experience that reconciliation?

The closer we cleave to the word of God, both as our rule and as our stay, the more assurance we have of deliverance. Christ is the Advocate of his people, their Redeemer. Those who were quickened by his Spirit and grace, when they were dead in trespasses and sins, often need to have the work of grace revived in them, according to the word of promise. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.153, 154

Pray Psalm 119.160.
Take a few moments to thank God for “the entirety” of His Word – the Law, the histories, the wisdom literature, the prophets, the gospels, Acts, the epistles, and Revelation. Find one thing in each section to give thanks for as you pray.

Sing Psalm 119.160.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
All Your Word is true and all Your righteous judgments will endure.
I will look to You and walk within Your Law forevermore.
O revive us! O revive us by Your Word so strong and sure.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. 

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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.
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