In an earlier post, I said that my recent Bible Study Fellowship study of the book of Revelation had greatly affected the quality of my worship, especially during the music portion of the Sunday worship service. Many of the hymns and worship songs we sing draw their lyrics from Revelation. This makes sense, since John’s many visions of God’s throne room portray awe-inspiring scenes of worship and adoration.
I’m about half-way through a year-long Bible reading plan, and for the first time in my life, I’m confident that I will complete it. Surprisingly, the reading plan and other Bible studies, like the Revelation study, have also enhanced my worship through music. This past Sunday, I noticed that while singing, there were a number of times that snippets of Bible passages jumped out from the songs. I noticed the whirlwind, fire, and dry bones from Ezekiel and the quakes that shook Mount Sinai when Israel met with God.
But the song that has been running through my head is Breathe, written and composed by Marie Barnett and recorded by Michael W. Smith. There are only one or two Scripture references in the lyrics. It mentions God’s “presence” and our “daily bread” being God’s word, but that’s it. In other words, it’s not a theologically dense song. But the refrain keeps resonating, “I’m desperate for You,” “I’m lost without You.”
Just how desperate for God am I? It’s not a word that’s found often in my Bible, at least not in the translation I use most (NKJV), and when it is, it isn’t used to speak of our relationship with God, but to describe a horrific situation, as in “desperate straits.”
But it makes me think of Psalm 119, where the writer praises the written word of God in a way found nowhere else in the Bible. He seems to desperately want to know God, and realizes that the only way to know Him is to know His Word: “My soul breaks with longing ” (119:8), “I cling to your testimonies” (119:31). He pants and faints and cries out and rejoices at God’s Word.
He sounds desperate for God.
He seems to be dedicated, that is, he gave time and attention to knowing God and His Word. He has hidden it in his heart, meditated and contemplated on it. He seeks it, lifts it up, turns his feet to it.
He also shared God’s Word. “With my lips I have declared all the judgements of Your mouth.” (119:13) “I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.” (119:40) “My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness.” (119:172)
But most often, the writer says that he kept God’s Word, or at least, he asked for help in keeping it. He rejoiced in the fact that God blesses those who obey Him.
Psalm 119 shows us someone who yearns to know God, and follows up on that yearning by taking the time and making the effort to do just that. This desperation seems to be almost an addiction–the more he knows, the more he wants to know.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Prov 3:5-6)