40 Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me in Your righteousness.
The word “behold” is like a trumpet blast to get our attention.
All of Scripture deserves our attention, but when this trumpet blows, that is, when God uses the word “behold”, we should stop and give extra listening effort. Pay special attention.
Really take these words to heart.
I long for Your precepts
The word “long” means “have a strong wish or desire”
Sometimes I find myself approaching the Bible out of duty, or even ritual. It’s just my habit. I’m just going through the motions, so to speak.
Have you ever been in a relationship (spouse, family member, or even a friend) in which you were just going through the motions? There was no real life in it. No passion, no excitement. It was just sort of a boring, familiar routine - like brushing your teeth.
God doesn’t want that kind of relationship with us. This is how He sees us:
You have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes Song 4:9
Turn your eyes away from me, for they have overcome me Song 6:5
And we shouldn’t settle for anything less than a passionate relationship with Him and with His word.
If we fall into such a pattern of lifeless ritual, lots of motion without any progress, there is a simple prayer He guides us to pray. Two words: “Revive me.” Bring me back to life.
Here is a good barometer the Word provides to indicate the inward condition of our heart:
The dead do not praise the Lord Psalm 115:17
If we’re not giving a heart-felt thanks, celebrating His goodness, praising Him, singing to Him, worshiping Him - it means the life of God has ceased flowing through us, and we are, in a sense, dead.
But we don’t have to remain there. We can again choose to magnify the name of Jesus above every situation and challenge we are facing. We can choose rejoice because of who God is and what He’s done.
in Your righteousness
This is so important, I believe this is why he started this verse with the trumpet. Behold. Pay special attention.
It is God’s righteousness that brings us back to life. Revive me in Your righteousness.
Not our righteousness.
If we ever attempt to stand before God based on our own merit, our own accomplishments, our own “doing good” we would cry out like Isaiah:
Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts. Isaiah 6:5
We don’t have to “get our act together” to come back to life.
But we do need a revelation of God’s righteousness.
The apostle Paul kept the Law with more zeal than most. Yet listen to his words:
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith Philippians 3:7-9
I will not pretend to offer a complete discourse on righteousness in this short thought on Psalm 119:40. I believe it to be a lifelong journey of discovery and revelation, as described in Proverbs 2:
1 My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures; Prov 2:1-4
Then you will understand righteousness Prov 2:9
I encourage you to take these words and meditate on them; let God’s word become alive in your heart:
Behold, I long for Your precepts;Revive me in Your righteousness.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.