"Establish my footsteps in Your word,
And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.
Redeem me from the oppression of man,
That I may keep Your precepts.
Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
And teach me Your statutes.
My eyes shed streams of water,
"Establish my footsteps in Your word."
Oh, this is exactly my prayer as I delve into His Word every day. It is not to gain information, but to be a guide and a help in my walk, to avoid iniquity that seeks to have dominion over me. Sometimes we forget that there is an enemy of our soul which seeks to have dominion over us, who is as jealous of our God even as he was in the Garden who used doubt of God's word in order to tempt Eve, "Indeed, has God said...?"
Then, there is the oppression of man, man who has believed the deceiver's lies, who are under his dominion. These too convolute truth and then judge us who believe in the Word of God. Often times this oppression comes in the form of government. We have had a privileged long history of government which has protected our religious liberty, but that is now under attack and if certain powers that be gain more power, will be under attack even more. So we cry, "Redeem me!" and then go vote.
"Make Your face shine upon Your servant"
Have you ever held your face up to the sun just to soak in the sunshine? That's what the Psalmist is talking about, only it is God's approval shining down from the Son. Once again, David the king refers to himself as God's servant, one who serves the King of kings. This is a servant who does not have to bow his head in subservience, but who can lift up their head for approval, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
"My eyes shed streams of water
Because they do not keep Your law."
I spent a year doing just that. As I've related before, I cried every single day for my church, not the local church, but the denomination we used to belong to for several generations of my family. I cried because I grieved for a church which did not firmly stand for the word of God alone, who allowed some of their preachers, and their teachers to echo the enemies words, "Indeed, did God say...?" Finally, I had enough tears shed to remove my membership. The tears dried up even though this was not a very popular stand when my husband was still a pastor in this denomination. He supported me in this even though I was called on the carpet by the district leaders. I was not alone in doing this as there were other respected women in this denomination, pastors even, whose spouse belonged to other denominations. My great grandmother, in fact, belonged to the denomination which became Wesleyans while her husband belonged to the denomination I left. My husband was called to the church he pastored, but when he felt God freeing him from that church, he too left the denomination. So, yes, I know exactly how the Psalmist felt. It is not just the concern for our own souls, but for the souls of others that they keep God's Word.
So we come full circle in these verses from establishing our feet in the Word in order not to let the evil one have dominion over us to weeping for those whose feet have slipped from the path, who do not keep His law. We may think as a nation that it is okay to remove the Ten Commandments from courthouses or from being inscribed upon the walls of justice, those which are the very basis of our laws, but it goes much deeper. It is an example of the warning in these verses. What will be removed next? Be brave.
So put your big girl shoes on and walk in the Way,
even if it might not be popular or easy.