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Cri de Coeur

Is it ours? Psalm 119.145-152

Psalm 119.145-152

Pray Psalm 119.145-147.

I cry out with my whole heart;
Hear me, O LORD!
I will keep Your statutes.
I cry out to You;
Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies.
I rise before the dawning of the morning,
And cry for help;
I hope in Your word.

Sing Psalm 119.145-147.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
With my whole heart I cry; hear me, O Lord, I pray.
Your statutes I will not deny but keep them every day.

I cry to You, O Lord; save me, O Lord, I pray!
Your testimonies and Your Word I keep and will obey.

Before the dawn I rise; Lord, hear me when I cry.
I hope in Your unfailing Word and will until I die.

Read Psalm 119.145-152; meditate on verses 145-147.

1. How did the psalmist cry to the Lord?

2. For what did he cry?

A heart full of emotion or passion will sometimes engage the voice to cry out loud. We see this in various ways. A basketball player who slam-dunks over an opponent will puff himself up and cry out. Parents whose child does something special on the athletic field will jump to their feet and shout. Get an unexpected gift, raise, or promotion, and you might squeal a bit in excitement. Stand up to protest an injustice and feel your passion rise with the intensity and volume of your speech. And so on.

Our psalmist’s cri de coeur was rather different, and much more to be desired. The longing of his heart was that he might keep the Law of God – His statutes, testimonies, commandments, and Word. This was the first thing on his mind in the morning (v. 147), and it occupied his meditations during the daily hours of prayer (v. 148). So greatly did he desire to keep God’s Word that he cried out for the Lord to revive him (v. 149) and to be a shield for him against encroaching wickedness (vv. 150, 151). And he was right in making this his heart’s cry, for he knew the commandments of God to be truth and His testimonies to have everlasting foundations (vv. 151, 152).

What is your heart’s cry? That is, what are you most passionate about? What “winds your clock”, as we say? How can you know? Well, ask yourself: What’s first on your mind when you arise in the morning? What do you get excited about during the day? Where does your time go? What brings you joy? Satisfaction? Pleasure? What do you sing about?

How you answer these questions will tell you where your heart’s desire is lodged. If your cri de coeur is not for God and His Word, then you need to spend more time in His Presence, gazing on His beauty, seeking to be taught of Him, and waiting on Him to bring you into His goodness and joy (Ps. 27). There is no greater joy, no greater thrill, no greater excitement, no greater purpose, no greater satisfaction than to know, love, and serve our Lord Jesus Christ. Make this your cri de coeur and you will know His Presence, promise, and power increasingly, day by day.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Cri de coeur is an anguished cry of distress or indignation, an impassioned outcry, appeal, protest, or entreaty.
A cry of the heart. It does go far beyond sports, work promotions, or our children’s achievements. We only cry out in this way when our need is understood, and our helplessness embraced.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Good News. But we will only embrace and appreciate it when we understand our desperate need for it. And we cannot understand that apart from knowing the Law of God, and wholeheartedly realizing that we cannot keep it, and therefore are in urgent need of a Savior to shield us from the wrath of God. “Hear me. Save me. Help me!” (Ps. 119.145-147) In God’s eyes our sin makes us “all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind have taken us away” (Is. 64.6); and “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3.23). “Hear me. Save me. Help me!” (Ps. 119.145-147) And miracle of miracles, He hears this cry of the heart. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6.23).

Jesus told a story about a creditor who freely forgave the debt of two people. One owed him a huge amount and the other a meager amount. Jesus then posed a question, “Which one of the two will love [the creditor] more?” The answer, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” Jesus then spoke about the woman whose loving attention to Him had precipitated the conversation, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (Lk. 7.41-47).

Our sins, which are many, are forgiven. So, we love and appreciate God very much. And how can we show God that we love Him? By keeping His commandments (Jn. 14.15). “I will keep Your statutes. I will keep Your testimonies. I hope in Your Word” (Ps. 119.145-147).

God has heard our wholehearted cry for help. He has saved us. Now what do we do? Paul gave us the answer: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4.1-3).

Cri de coeur to esprit de corps.

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

(Hall/Grape, 1865)

For reflection
1. What is your heart cry to the Lord today? What do you most need from Him? What do you most want to say to Him?

2. Why are we so easily distracted from increasing love for God day by day? How can you carry your heart cry into and throughout the day, to help keep you focused on the Lord and His calling?

3. In what ways do you need the reviving grace of God today?

This verse may be so read and connected as that in the end of it the Psalmist may show what he desired in crying; and thus the meaning would be, that as he was inflamed with an intense desire to keep the law, he continually made supplication to God on that subject. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.145

Pray Psalm 119.148-152.
Thank God for His Word and Presence. Praise Him specifically for ways you have known His Presence recently, and for how His Word has guided or grown you.

Sing Psalm 119.148-152.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
I seek You through the night to contemplate Your Word.
Bring my poor soul into the light; teach me Your Law, O Lord!

Lord, hear my plaintive voice, revive me by Your grace;
in justice let my soul rejoice before Your holy face.

Those who forsake Your Word draw near in wickedness;
yet You are near, O God my Lord! Your truth will save and bless!

Your Word has been from old, established by decree.
More precious than the finest gold, Your Word gives life to me!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can learn to read the Bible to see and delight in Jesus more completely. Our book, The Joy and Rejoicing of My Heart, can show you how. Learn more about this book and order your free copy 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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