As we come to the end of this magnificent psalm, we meet with a somewhat unexpected finale.  There is no crescendo; it doesn’t build to a climax.  There is no note of assurance and confidence.  Rather, it seems to fade away in a wistful, humble confession:  “I have gone astray like a lost sheep.”

Psalms 119:176: 
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant; for I do not forget Thy commandments.

This is the crowning word of all the pleas and cries that have preceded it.  The psalmist returns to the allusion of the lost sheep to close out the longest of all the psalms.  In verse ten he first makes the allusion pleading, “O let me not wander from thy commandments.”  Then later in verse 67 he says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray.”  Now at the very end of the psalm he returns to the motif saying, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep.”
The psalmist blames no one else for what happened.  He says, “I have gone astray.”  He doesn’t use circumstances as his scapegoat, but admits his personal responsibility for having gotten out in left field.  Thankfully, he knows better than to remain there.  It is not just that he desires to return to the fold, but that there is One who seeks to bring him back to it.  The knowledge of the scriptures that he hasn’t forgotten brings him comfort, for it reminds him that God is pursuing him.

His follow up cry, “Seek Thy servant!” shows the longing he had for fellowship with God Whom he had come to know and love.  Even though he acknowledges that he has erred in that he has wandered away, he is still resolute in clinging to the commandments.  It is what he knows of the heart, nature, or character of God from His Word that allows him to make the request.

He does not implore God from the high ground of not having forgotten His Word, as if that earns him such treatment by God.  Rather, it is his tenacious
cleaving to His commandments that give him the confidence and trust to make the request.  He is not asking God to do something He is adverse to.  Rather, He is calling upon the Lord he knows to perform according to the promises He has made.

Although this is the only place in Psalm 119 that this particular Hebrew word for seek is used, we find a synonym used five other places.  Verse two declares the blessedness of those who seek God with their whole heart.  Verse ten then follows up with the psalmist testifying, “With my whole heart have I sought Thee.”  In verse 45 he gives the reason that he walks in liberty as being because he seeks God’s precepts.  This is also the basis from which he asks God to save him in verse 94.  He also states in verse 155 that the reason salvation is far from the wicked is that they do not seek His precepts.  Psalms 107:20 tells us that God sent His Word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.  Therefore, making the connection with God regarding His Word is vital to our wholeness.
However, verse 176 is the only place where God is the subject of the seeking; in all the rest we were seeking Him and His precepts.  The truth is, God is always seeking us.  He desires the pleasure of our company.  He pointedly states this truth in Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 34:12,16:
As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day . . .
16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick . . . .

Jesus established this for us.  He came to declare God, and he always did his Father’s will.  Following his Father’s example, Luke 19:10 and Matthew 18:12 say that Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost.  We can rest assured that our loving Heavenly Father is always seeking us.  He has promised to work within us to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).  The good work He has begun will not end until He sends Christ back to gather us unto Him.  Until then, we will not forget God’s Word.

I Will Not Forget Thy Word

I lift my head from my pillow.
Little leaps in my heart are stirred
for today as I walk and breathe and speak
I will not forget Thy Word.
Temptations are always there, I know―
a whirlwind of thoughts can occur.
But with my mind set on Your truth
I will not forget Thy Word.
Teach me of Your strength, my Father!
Show me what I’ve read and heard
for I am committed to live for You
and to never forget Your Word.
Thought by thought and step by step
I’ll stand firmly and assured.
Your words are my delight, my life―
I will not forget Thy Word.

Author Unknown

By Wayne Clapp