Psalm 119 is a beast–it is 176 verses long and divided into 22 sections (one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet). So I’m going to divide it up, and write about my observations from each section, and see how each can help me continue to walk the road less traveled. Today, the “Resh” section:
I don’t watch nearly as much TV as I used to. Kids (thankfully) and books have sapped up a lot of that time. There are, however, two shows that I do not miss: “Breaking Bad” (which makes its return in March) and “House.” I’ve watched “House” religiously since early in it’s first season. If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past five years, “House” centers around Dr. Gregory House, a world-renowned diagnostician who is also a world-class ass. He’s a crippled, drug-addicted, lonely, heartless genius who cares nothing about saving lives–he just wants to solve the medical puzzle presented to him (which, 95 percent of the time, he does). It’s the only TV show I own on DVD (and, yes, I have all four of the previous seasons… and I’ll get season five for Christmas).
Before “House”, my wife and I would watch “ER”, but we stopped several years ago when all of the good actors left. It just got old and worn out. They should have killed that show years ago (although most of the old characters are coming back for cameos… even George Clooney, or so the rumors say).
No matter what medical drama you watch (I thus far am proud to say that I’ve never seen one second of “Grey’s Anatomy”), it seems like their shocking someone back to life in every episode. Get out the crash carts, charge up the paddles, and zap someone’s heart back into rhythm. It usually works, unless you’re in the last act of the episode, when it rarely works. If you’re on a medical show, and you need to be revived, it better happen before the last commercial break.
It’s a funny word to me.
Growing up in old school church, we had two revivals every year. In case you’re not hip to the term “revival” in a church setting, it’s kind of like when the church takes a “working vacation.” They usually happen twice a year (in the spring and fall). In the old days, they used to last several weeks. When I was young, they lasted a week. Now, they may last three days. Revivals are going the way of the dinosaurs. What happens in a revival is that a church brings in a guest preacher, who speaks every night. You go to church every night of the week, or for those three nights. Way back in the day, revivals were meant to bring new people into the church (and were very effective, since there weren’t such things as TV and movies to keep us mindlessly entertained). Now, they’re more for those already in the church. I’ve had the experience of preaching a revival for a week. It’s very… tiring.
Here’s the thing about revival. You don’t need to be revived unless you’re dead. So what does that say about churches that still do revivals?
In many cases, they need it. Badly. And the chances are that three days of a different preacher isn’t going to do it. Yeah, people may get mildly excited during the revival, but the high rarely lasts beyond the last night.
If churches need to be revived, what does that say about the individuals that comprise those churches?
How many of us need to be spiritually revived?
The author of Psalm 119 writes about the need for personal spiritual revival in this section of Psalm 119. Look at some of the excerpts from this section:
Revive me according to Your word…
Revive me according to Your ordinances…
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness (or mercy)…
The words and mercy of God have the power to shock us back to life.
I know that to be true in my case. Whenever I’m spiritually zapped, I know that I need to get deeper into the Bible. It’s timeless and universal truths infuse life by showing us the mercy and love of God. Along with posting on the Psalms, I’ve been reading through and thinking about the Old Testament book of Obadiah for nearly two months. It’s only one chapter, but it’s really taught me about personal (and national) pride, about how God is the God of the entire world, and how God revives his people, and how people and places are redeemed for the kingdom. It’s brought me life by pointing me to the One who created, sustains, and revives life.
What about you? Are you in need of some spiritual revival? If so, what are you doing to be revived? Make sure you’re hanging out with other Christians, and make sure you’re regularly soaking in the Bible.