25 My soul clings to the dust, make me alive according to Your Word.
26 I recount my way, and You answer me; teach me Your statues.
27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts, and I will meditate on Your wonderful things.
28 My soul weeps because of grief, strengthen me according to Your Word.
29 Turn the lying way away from me, and be gracious to me [with] Your Torah.
30 I choose the way of Truth, I establish Your judgments.
31 I cling to Your testimonies, O Yahweh, do not make me ashamed.
32 I will run the way of Your commandments because You enlarge my heart.
The Psalmist talks about the all the benefits of Yahweh’s Word. Throughout Psalm 119 he uses every synonym he can think of to praise Yahweh for His word, give Him thanks for it, and talk about how that Word meets him in his everyday life. There’s power in that Word because it talks about what Yahweh has done and continues to do for the psalmist. Not only that, but the Word itself does something for the Psalmist, it works something within Him. God’s Word does the same for us.
Joyce Meyer, in her devotion on Psalm 119:28–29, says the following:
“We need to be strengthened and renewed on a daily basis. We need to be strengthened physically, mentally, and emotionally. We need to be strong so we do not fall apart every time we have to face some situation we had not planned on.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He expects us to develop stability in our lives. We can be strengthened and renewed by drawing strength from God, by exercising our faith, and by doing what He tells us to do.”
This puts all the struggle back on you. You better get going! Jesus is always the same, and He expects you to be like Him. YOU draw strength from God, YOU exercise YOUR faith, YOU do what He tell you. When you do all that, then you’ll be strengthened, then you’ll stable “physically, mentally, and emotionally” just like Jesus wants you to be. Because, after, all “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) You need to be that way too.
Besides the fact that Hebrew 13:8 is about fleeing strange and false teaching that leads away from Christ (check it out), this isn’t the Psalmist’s point at all. The Psalmist goes to pains to show that it’s not about what he does at all! His soul is “in the dust” (v 25) unless Yahweh’s Word made him alive. He would continually waste away from grief (v 28). Why? He’s in grief from His “recounting his way” (v 26) and “meditating on Yahweh’s wonderful things” (v 27). Why? Because he knows He’s not doing them!
What’s to be done then? For the Psalmist and for you it’s the same thing. Nothing. The only thing you can do is repent and receive forgiveness. That’s what Yahweh’s “Torah”, His “Word” is all about.
Jesus, the eternal Word (Yahweh Himself), who inspired the Psalmist to praise Yahweh’s Word, became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6) There’s no need to drum up in yourself following the Law, living a new life, or switching yourself from the “lying way” (v 29) to the “way of truth” (v 30).
Jesus is already the Way, the Truth, and the Life for you. He’s died for you. He rose for you. He’s made you alive in Him through the waters of your Baptism. His Word of forgiveness keeps you alive. He feeds with His Life through His body and blood given you in His Supper.
He is gracious to you. We want to follow all sorts of way besides Him and His Word. Usually that means putting the focus on us and not on Him. On our “doing” and not His “doing” for us. The only way you keep the Law is because He is working in you. He’s given you His righteousness, His Life, His Truth. He won it on the cross, and delivers it through His Word. This is exactly what the Psalmist says, “I will run the way of Your commandments because You enlarge my heart.” (v 32)
Christ strengthens you. He enlarges your heart. He’s gracious to you through His Word. He rescues you from the lying way. He raises you up from the dust. He will not make you ashamed. He does it through His Word and Gifts.