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  • East Martin CRC

Panting Like a Dog

Psalm 119:129-136

Verses 131-132 I open my mouth and pant, longing for Your commands. Turn to me and have mercy on me, as You always do to those who love Your name.

The psalmist has talked about how much he loves studying the words of the Lord but can we relate to his level of desire for the Word?

The image that the song writer begins these verses with may seem much less dignified than we care to think about. Animals pant when they are very hot as a way of cooling down. It appears that they are struggling to breathe and gasping to hold on; so why would the psalmist liken himself to this image?

While the image may not work for our thinking, it is an excellent example. He goes to an extreme picture to make his point that just as the panting is a matter of existence, he sees the law as the same for his life. He can’t survive without it; it is very essential to his surviving and if he doesn’t strive for it, he will miss what he needs. A spiritual life that is not healthy will suffer needless ailments just as a body that overheats will end up with other health issues beyond when they are too hot.

Maybe that is what the man of song is trying to say in his prayer of praise. The desire of his heart is to be longing for the Word in the way that it shows a desire for long lasting effect on his life. He wants to not be passionate about the law for a short time and go on with life as if it was just a passing phase. This man has likely seen lives where this panting after the Lord and His ways had changed the way they went about their daily lives. Maybe he had witnessed the spiritual growth of others around him which inspired him in his spiritual endeavor.

The question for us is, could we come to that same level of love for the Word that we would be willing to go into the uncomfortable places to find growth and change? Those uncomfortable situations will likely bring us to a place where we don’t think we can go on. They may include hardships that are beyond our wildest imaginations, but they will be for our good and for His glory. Our love for the Lord and His law should be a driving force in our lives, driving us to seek what He is wanting to shape in us.

Making It Personal

Have you ever gone through the heat in desiring the Word? What did that time in your life teach you? Are you willing to go through those hard times to get to know Him and His Word better?

Making It Personal Kids

Have you ever had a hard time in life that helped you grow to be more like Jesus? What did you learn during that time? Are you willing to have more hard times in life if it means that you will be more like Jesus?

Closing Prayer

Father, even though they aren’t enjoyable to go through at the time, thank You for the times of “overheating” in life. Give us the wisdom to willingly take on the heat in life to learn more of You and Your law. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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