Have you ever felt like the Psalmist – frustrated and persecuted by the enemy and seeking relief?
Psalm 119:81-88 – Kaf
My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?” Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees. How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors? The arrogant dig pitfalls for me, contrary to your law. All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for men persecute me without cause. They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts. Preserve my life according to your love, and I will obey the statutes of your mouth (NIV).
It is no coincidence that this portion of Psalm 119 is based on the Hebrew letter kaf. You see, all of Psalm 119 is an acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet, with these eight verses all beginning with kaf. The original pictograph for this letter looks like an open palm or the crowned head of a king who is bowing down. The word kaf comes from the root word kafah, which means “to bow down, bend, open, or allow.”
What is so interesting about this letter is the connection between bowing and the open palm. In Hebrew culture, a son would bow down to receive the blessing of his father, which came through the laying of his hands upon the son’s head. This letter is clearly about receiving the blessing.
In ancient Hebrew culture, the blessing or berakah was a legally binding statement given to the firstborn that involved his inheritance and promise of future provision, grace, and favor. Remember the story of Jacob and Esau? Once Isaac had given the blessing to Jacob, no provision was left for Esau. Thankfully, if we belong to Jesus, He has enough blessing for each of us! And that is the key to the above passage in Psalm 119.
The only prerequisite to blessing is bowing. Just as kaf symbolizes both bowing and blessing, so we must bow in humility before the King of kings in order to receive the blessings of His hand. This begins when we humble ourselves before God in repentance at salvation. If you have never taken that step, please go to the page on this blog entitled New Life! to find out how to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Once we become followers of Jesus, we are blessed by our faith in Him.
Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods (Psalm 40:4).
Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands (Psalm 112:1).
We have received an inheritance, a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:13b-14).
Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:12-14).
So when we are going through trials and troubles like the Psalmist in the above passage, how should we respond? The Psalmist put his hope in God’s Word, and he clearly understood that meant humbling himself before the Lord.
I recently attended a Beth Moore Living Proof Live conference. She made the statement that when the devil drags us into a pit and we are down at our very lowest, we can choose to let our down become a bow down. Then we rob our down of its defeat over us. When we humble ourselves, God can lift us up.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 14:11).
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:6).
How about you? Are you in need of lifting up?
Try bowing down.
Remember that pictograph of the crowned head of a king bowing down? Check out these words:
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12).
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away (1 Peter 5:4).
That is the promise for those who humble themselves under God’s authority, even in the face of trying circumstances. Tired of watching the enemy win battle after battle? Guess what? He loses the war. And if you belong to Christ, take heart with these words of future blessing:
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28).
That’s the blessing. Receive it on your knees today.