“GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.” Psalms 119:17
Growing up I was always athletic. If there was a sport to be played, I played it. I loved fitness tests that pushed me to my limits and obstacle courses that made me work for a better score. I enjoyed the physical exertion it took because I loved to win. I didn’t mind laps or training if it made me better at what I was aiming for because I aimed at being the best and hopefully winning a trophy for it.
(I know, I sounded like a cocky kid—it’s true, I was)
Fast forward a few years.
Mark and I had been on the mission field for a couple of terms and were home on furlough. We were visiting family and decided to go with his brother and my sister in law to a park for a picnic and someone had the idea that we should hit a couple of balls on the baseball field. I was pushing 40 but the same old desire to “win” rose up inside me. I sauntered up to the plate and waited for my brother in law to lob the ball my direction.
That’s the sound I made with the bat.
I had swung with full force! I had waited for the feeling of the ball making contact, but the only thing I had hit were air molecules. The swing almost took me off my feet and I felt a burning pain in my shoulder that I had never felt. But I didn’t let it detour me. I planted my feet and took aim at the next pitch. Over and over and over I tried to hit that ball and slap couldn’t do it. It made me so mad at myself. Since when was I a failure at sports? I may have been older, but I wasn’t “old”!
I had forgotten a very important detail. When I was in school, I was training every day. I was in excellent physical shape and that helped me with my goals and kept my aim true wether it was setting the volleyball, passing the basketball or hitting the softball. But I wasn’t in school training anymore. I had gone through college, gotten married, birthed 4 children and had not trained for years.
No training had affected my aim. I was giving it all I had, but without the proper training and practice, I was getting nowhere and hurting myself in the process.
In today’s verse in Psalm 119 we begin the 3rd part of this chapter. The psalmist is asking God to “deal bountifully” with him. That means he knew if he wanted help in this life, that help would come from the Lord. He called himself God’s servant and we see his position is correct by placing himself under the hand of the Master. His view is one of a person in need, so what does he desire from God? What was he aiming at?
One could argue that he wanted life and a long one at that. But just living doesn’t mean it would be a good life does it? I’m sure there are people who are incarcerated that would argue that simply living and breathing isn’t the same as living and breathing AND being free.
No, the writer of this psalm desires God to give him a longer life so he can keep God’s Word. That was his aim, his goal. I like that. You know, had I been in training and kept up my laps and workouts I bet I could have hit that ball that day with my family. I think my shoulder wouldn’t have stung like it did and I think I could have run a few bases. But the reality was, I was out of shape and as hard as I tried and as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t hit that ball. Why? Because hitting a ball had not been my goal for the previous decade. Being a good wife, mommy and missionary had been my goal. The sports aspect of my life had been left behind with my youth.
This verse is a plea from a man a long, long, long time ago, but it can challenge you and me today as we begin a new month of 2018.
- We ought to have our position in Christ settled. He is our Lord and Master and we are here to serve Him. “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” Colossians 3:22-23
- We ought to have our goal clearly aimed. We are created to bring God glory and we are to be giving it all our efforts. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
In order to meet the challenge of serving and glorifying God, we need to be training our hearts and minds in the Word. Day in and Day out we need to exercise our faith, grow in grace and exert ourselves in the areas He has called us to work.
There is nothing wrong with being good at physical activities, but we are wasting our purpose as children of God if we are not aiming to be in tip top shape spiritually.
Let’s give it all we have got while relying on the daily training we get in God’s Word! Then we can that God deals bountifully with us so that we can live and keep His Word every day while we are able.
Until Next Time, Lord willing,
READ THE BIBLE THROUGH WITH ME IN 36 WEEKS!
Today’s reading: Numbers 15 / Isaiah 47-48 / Psalm 98 / Romans 16