One of the scariest things about being human is knowing that even if we pursue the Lord with all our heart — we still have the potential to wander.
David (the likely writer of Psalm 119) was highly aware of this tendency within himself. He truly loved God and longed to obey Him. David desperately longed to keep His way pure — and realized that the only way to do that was to depend on God through His Word and prayer.
I have sought you with all my heart, don’t let me wander from your commands.
The greatest thing that David had to offer was his heart — and that is far more than most of us offer to God! Many of us will offer our mind, some of us will offer God our good deeds, but giving God our heart means that we give God everything. It means that God becomes everything to us; our delight and our joy — He becomes our treasure. And we live our lives in pursuit of the things we treasure.
I don’t know about you, but I can get pretty distracted. Even the things that have my heart sometimes don’t get the best parts of me. My wife and my son have my heart. I can’t tell you how much I desire to be a great husband and dad. That’s one of the biggest goals of my life. I treasure the legacy of having succeeded in these areas of my life — but even still I wander from time to time. I get distracted by cool stuff, conflicting wants, stress, trouble, and hard times. All of these things have a tendency to get my eye off the ball. I start to veer off course more than I would really like to admit.
I am sincere in these desires, I’m just not self-sufficient.
The man of God exerts himself, but he does not trust himself.
We are conflicted people. Even when we offer our hearts, we find that they are still divided. We will spend a lifetime asking God to unify our heart to seek after Him. But along the way, let’s give him as much as well can muster. Let’s take hold of the Word that is able to help keep our way pure and undivided. But while we have the Word tightly in one hand, we should hold onto the dependency of prayer in the other.
As we strive to “keep” and know God through the Word — all the while we should constantly be crying out to God, “keep me! Don’t let me! Help me!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed prayers like the ones above. I used to think that there would come a day when I had God so closely in hand that I would no longer need simple and desperate prayers like “help me!” But I’m so rotten that I can finish a sweet time in the Word, genuinely pursuing the Lord — only to get up and instantly stumble into some sinful habit or attitude. I’m going to be saying “help me” for a long long time.
The more a man’s whole heart is set upon holiness the more does he dread falling into sin; he is not so much fearful of deliberate transgression as of inadvertent wandering.
We talked about how the Word can serve as a guardrail when you temporarily submit to the slavery of sin. When you lose control of the car of your life — the guardrail of God’s Word can help you from driving over the cliff. But dependent prayer can also help keep your from veering to far off the path of the holy and the happy.
In your wild pursuit of God, it won’t be too long before you find yourself wandering. Cling to prayer everyday. Ask God to help you and keep you — to help you not wander. I know that God is faithful — and so if you ask, I know that He will keep you.