169 Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.
170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
174 I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.
The conclusion of this psalm is really only the beginning. God’s Word always prompts a response from us and produces change in us, but our journey through Scripture is a continual one with no real ending point. There is always more to learn. There are lessons that need to be repeated and truths to be solidified through new experiences. There is repentance and restoration when we fail and go astray, as we are prone to do. There is room for growth. And our pursuit of God is something in which we should be actively engaged for our entire lives.
The psalmist ends with an honest recognition that no matter how strong his love is for God’s Word, no matter how much he’s learned or how dedicated he is, he will still mess up. He desires to obey, but he is not perfect. But when he does wander, he trusts his Shepherd to bring him back to the right place. We’re never going to reach perfection here on Earth. We’re not going to get to a place where we stop failing and making mistakes. But we can continue to build upon what we have learned and go deeper still into God’s amazing Word.
Perhaps the final lesson we can learn is that we desperately need God’s help and His intimate involvement in all of this. We cannot live the way we should without God’s help. We need Him to continue to lead us and work in us. Wisdom, help, truth, and faith all come from Him, and He’s the one who will enable us to put all of what we learn into practice. So let’s lean on Him throughout our journey. Let’s depend on Him as we study and learn and grow. Let us seek God’s Word—to know it and live it—but let’s not neglect to seek the God of the Word at the same time.