“For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.” Psalms 119:83
The trials and sufferings we experience in this life can take a physical toll on us. Haven’t you ever seen a newscaster you have watched for years all of a sudden begin looking dishelved or thinner? Sometimes they disappear and you find out they had been struggling with alcoholism or cancer or something equally as detrimental. Whatever the case may have been, their appearance changed due to something they were going through.
The psalmist refers to himself in today’s verse as he describes how he is changing because of his current suffering. He compares himself to a “bottle in the smoke” which during his time would have been a container made of animal skin. Such a container exposed to smoke and fire would have become tainted both in color and taste of the ingredients inside the “bottle”. And that’s the way the psalmist feels he has become, contaminated and useless.
Times of anguish may cause us to feel the same way as the psalmist, but are we to succumb to our feelings or are we to follow suit as he did and remember the Word? We should look once again at the Truth.
Our neighbor on the south side of our farm in Brazil has become fast friends with my husband. He is a lawyer and lives in town and so he only comes out to his farm on certain days to check up on things or slaughter sheep. He likes to invite his friends and family out on Wednesday nights for what we call a “churrasco” in Brazil, which is basically like a cookout. Although sometimes during the cold months our neighbor will make a big kettle of soup, he usually grills a big piece of beef or ribs over a fire pit in the center of the floor of a small wooden shack. That shack isn’t very well ventilated and the clothes and hair of anyone who sits there longer than a few minutes will be permeated by the smoke.
Each Wednesday night after we lock up our church in town we drive 25 minutes back to our farm. Mark will pass our gate and go down to our neighbors to see if the chain to the gate is locked or hanging loose. If it is locked, Mark knows there is no churrasco, but if the chain is hanging free, then he drops me off at the house, changes clothes and heads down to spend the next few hours with our neighbor. They will sit and talk around that fire pit as they grill meat in that little building. And every Wednesday night, (or Thursday morning depending on how long the dinner goes), my husband will come back and have to disrobe in another room and shower because of the smokey stench on him from that cooking fire. I even have to wash those clothes separately because the smell will get on anything it touches and just about ruin it.
It is the same with the psalmist, he is feeling like an old stinking bottle contaminated with the smell of the fire he is under in his life. He knows the fire is affecting him and is all too aware that it is changing him. So what does he do? He clings to the Word.
When you and I are in the fire, we may notice the absence of others. It isn’t that they don’t care, but let’s be honest, sometimes people just don’t know what to do or say when they see you struggling. This causes us to feel alone in our battle. And as we wait for God to bring restoration to our lives and our problem, the loneliness can be overwhelming, causing us to feel useless and like a social pariah. This is the time we need to inundate our spirit and thoughts with Truth from God’s Word.
We need a victory of faith to overcome the defeat of emotions. And the only way that will happen is by meditating (dwelling) in the Word.
Don’t be one of those people who walks around moping about your plight! The very fact you desire to tug the corners of your mouth down in sadness is actually declaring to those around you that you are NOT trusting and leaning on God’s Word! And we are to be like LIGHTS for Christ, not Debbie Downers snuffing out the life and light of everyone else with our “woe is me” disease.
The Bible says that God loves us:
1. He loves us with an Everlasting and Eternal Love:
“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying,Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3
“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” John 13:1
2. He loves us with an Endowing Love:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9
3. He loves us with an Equal Love:
“I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” John 17:23
“We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
If we are living and breathing, we are going to encounter problems. Those problems will have an effect on us. But we do not need to succumb to them and forget that the Word tell us we are loved by God.
We are loved when we are young and when we are old. We are loved when we are healthy and when we are sick. We are loved when we are on the mountain top and when we are in the valley. He loves you and He loves me. Period.
Sure, we may feel like the psalmist did and think we are an old dried up piece of stinking, useless material, but in God’s eyes we are His Child and He will comfort us in His Word if we will walk therein.
Pick up your droopy lip, straighten those sagging shoulders and lift up your eyes for Redemption draweth nigh! Get in the Word!
Until Next Time, Lord willing,