You’d think that after 175 verses of extolling the Word of God . . . after 22 stanzas singing of the dynamics associated with the promises, precepts, and testimonies of the LORD . . . that after all that, there’d be some crescendo of triumphant praise as the psalmist concludes his song. Instead, he concludes it with a simple plea, “Seek Your servant.”
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant,
for I do not forget Your commandments. (Psalm 119:176 ESV)
That’s it. That’s the end of the psalm. That’s the last thing that echoes in the ears of the reader who has experienced this marathon poem concerning the law of the LORD. Even though I love Your word, says the psalmist, even though You have opened my eyes to see wondrous things in Your law . . . even though I have hid Your word in my heart, . . . though I have pleaded that You would enlarge my heart that I might run in Your ways . . . though Your word has been a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path . . . though it has been my salvation and has been the rock upon which I trust . . . despite all that, confesses the songwriter, I have gone astray.
Given all that advantage, how does that happen? I know . . . ask me.
. . . . Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.
Been there . . . done that . . . got the t-shirt.
And sheep who have gone astray can’t just pull themselves up by their own boot straps and get on with righteousness again. It’s not like the lost can make themselves found. Instead the lost have one flare to fire up . . . Seek Your servant.
Though I love Your word in my spirit, yet the flesh is weak. Seek Your servant. Though I know the way in which to walk, I’ve been tripped up in a fault. Seek Your servant. Though I long for the light of the Son, my soul is downcast and overshadowed with gloom. Seek Your servant.
Are there three sweeter words for the pilgrim who has been worn down by the rugged trail and decided to try a shortcut? Three sweeter words for the servant who has been overcome with a burden and decided to turn a deaf ear to his masters voice? Three sweeter words for the one who wakes up one morning only to realize that they are not where they should be? I’m thinking not. No sweeter words than “Seek Your servant.”
Mine is a Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine and goes in search of the one that’s drifted away. And when He finds the sheep–and He will find the sheep–rather than scold the sheep or punish the sheep, He “rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray” (Matt. 18:12-13). Mine is the the faithful High Priest who, having become flesh Himself, is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” and leads us back to the throne of grace where we might “receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16). Mine is an ever interceding Advocate for those who sin, having Himself been the once-for-all atoning sacrifice for my sin past, present, and future (1John 2:1-2).
And mine is to avail myself of His overflowing river of grace and cry out, “Seek Your servant.”
If there’s nothing else I get from 176 verses of tribute to the word of God, and to the God of the Word, to be reminded of this is enough. That the LORD is my Shepherd and He hears my cry when I have gone astray.
Seek Your servant. Seek by Your grace . . . Seek for Your glory.