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The Scriptorium

That's Living!

God can make us really live. Psalm 119.156

Psalm 119.153-160 (3)

Pray Psalm 119.156.
Great are Your tender mercies, O LORD;
Revive me according to Your judgments.

Sing Psalm 119.155, 156.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
They who do not seek Your statutes saving grace shall never know.
For Your tender mercy, Jesus, I will to Your judgments go.
O revive us! O revive us! Let Your grace and mercy flow!

Read Psalm 119.153-160; meditate on verse 156.

1. For what did the psalmist pray?

2. On what grounds did he seek this?

The Hebrew word “revive” is literally, “cause me to live.” But what does it mean to live? Is living merely a biological phenomenon – heart rate, brain waves, digestion, respiration, mobility, and so forth? Or is there more to living than mere materiality?

In Biblical terms, living is indeed a bodily function. But the believer doesn’t want merely to live physically. We want to live in a particular manner, according to the judgments of God. God knows better than we do about everything. Whatever He judges about life, relationships, morality, work, culture – everything – is what will be good and very good (Gen. 1.31). So this is how the believer wants to live, to have the entirety of our material existence lined up with, drawing nurture from, being shaped by, and expressing whatever God judges to be good.

And for this, we must turn to His Law and all His Word (Rom. 7.12; 2 Tim. 3.16, 17).

But on what basis can we even do that? Only on His tender mercies! Oh, see how good and loving God is, friends! Not only does He provide all we need to know true, full, abundant, and eternal life; and not only does He stand ready to bring us into more of that life day by day; but His mercies are so many and so great that they continuously overcome our failings and frailties to increase and enlarge us into Jesus. For He has hidden our lives in Himself, that we may, by His mercies and His Word, continue to increase in Jesus more and more (Col. 3.3; 2 Cor. 3.12-18).

Yeah. That’s living. And that’s worth praying for more of every day.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
To increase daily in our likeness of Jesus should be the goal of every believer. After all, real life is only to be found in Him; and in pleasing our heavenly Father. And the only way that we can please Him is through believing in His Son (Jn. 14.6) and following His judgments.

Much displeasure is brought to God by our disobedience, and much delight by our obedience.:
“Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD, but the blameless in their ways are His delight” (Prov. 11.20).
“Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight” (Prov. 12.22).
“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Prov. 15.8).

The tender mercies of the LORD are great. They are overwhelming. They exceed all expectation. To dwell in His tender mercies, to stay within the boundaries where His love can reach and bless us, we must live according to His Law. Only there is real life to be found. (Ps. 119.156; Jude 21 TLB; Deut. 32.46, 47).

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11.33).

As Moses said to the children of Israel, he says to us, as well: “Therefore be careful to observe them [the judgments of God]; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?” (Deut. 4.6-8).

“The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.
The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Ps. 145.8, 9).

“That’s Living!”

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
(Sammis/Towner, 1887)

For reflection

1. What’s the difference between God’s mercy and God’s grace? Why do we need both in all our times of need?

2. Why can we have confidence in the face of God’s judgments (Rom. 8.1)?

3. Why do we need to pray that God will revive us – cause us to live?

If we imagine that God makes his promises because he is bound to do it, or because we have deserved it, doubting or mistrust will steal upon our minds, which will shut the gate against our prayers. But if we are thoroughly persuaded that the sole cause by which God is moved to promise us salvation is the mercy inherent in his own nature, we will approach him without hesitation or doubt, because he has bound himself to us of his own accord. John Calvin (1506-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.156

Pray Psalm 119.153, 154
Pray that God will revive you with a greater measure of His salvation and more power of His Spirit for everything you do today.

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!

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. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Psalm 119 by clicking here.

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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.
Books by T. M. Moore

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