Following God - Psalm 119:8
I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly (Ps. 119:8).
When this verse is taken apart from the rest of this section of the psalm, a misunderstanding can occur. It looks like what the psalmist is saying is that when we keep God’s law, then God does not forsake us. It looks as if there is a perseverance that is based on our works. As if God does not forsake us because we obey him.
But we have seen in the first seven verses of this psalm that it actually functions exactly the other way around. The Psalmist has made it clear that the first blessing that he is after is the blessing of following God’s law. We do not obey God just to receive blessings. The obedience itself is the first blessing.
When he writes, “Oh forsake me not utterly” he is crying out to God saying that he desires, above all things, to be faithful to God’s commands. He wants to obey the Lord. And he knows that he cannot do that unless the Lord’s blessing rests on him. Remember, he has given this description of the blessed person. This is what a person looks like when they are under the blessing of God. They are undefiled and they walk in the way of the Lord (v. 1). The blessed person keeps God’s testimonies and seeks the Lord with his whole heart (v. 2). The blessed person avoids iniquity and follows God in the way that he lives (v. 3). God’s blessing is obedience shaped. God’s way into greater blessings is to bless us with a desire to do what is right.
God’s way of filling our life with fruit is giving us the blessing of obeying him, and as we produce fruit, God blesses us with more seeds to plant and tend. Then the next harvest is bigger, more seed to plant and cultivate and water comes with the harvest.
In our microwave culture of wanting everything now, of always choosing the easy route now, we are wasting our seed. And when we waste our seed we are choosing to not have fruit later. As we put off getting married, put off having kids, put off starting a career, and put off investing their time and energy into the hard things in our youth, we are choosing fleeting experiences now over abundant fruit later, and that means that the fruit will not be there later.
If we are not plowing and planting by obeying God’s word now, then we are not going to have the blessings later to be able and plow and plant in the next phase of our life.
So when the psalmist says, I will obey, do not forsake me, because of the verses leading up to this verse, we know that he is saying is that he does not want to be forsaken to disobedience. He knows that he needs the Lord’s grace to hold him in obedience.
But God does not only pick us up from where we should have been. He picks us up where we are, so begin your obedience from where you are, and then say thank you for the blessing of desiring to obey.