Scripture: Psalm 119:83  

Whoever wrote Psalms 119 had obviously been through some very difficult times. The times were so difficult until he describes his present emotional status as "like a bottle in the smoke." In those days bottles were made of animal skin and they would be hung in the ceiling. Homes were heated by some heating source with little to no ventilation. The smoke from the heating source would rise to the ceiling where the bottle would be hanging. The smoke would coat the bottle and make it look overwhelmed. Sometimes the bottle itself would be so coated by the smoke until it would be almost unrecognizable. The writer of Psalms 119 had encountered situations in life that seemingly overwhelmed him and he says that he has "become like a bottle in the smoke."  

The fact that the writer says he has "become" like a bottle in the smoke indicates that he has not always felt this way. Life's situations have caused him to become something that he has not always been. The smoke has gotten to him. It is tragic when we allow our situations to make us into something that we should not be. We become distrustful because of a situation in which our trust was betrayed. We become bitter because of situations that were hurtful. Some have even become apostate and walked away from the faith because of some situation that they encountered in Church. These are a few instances where we, like the writer of Psalms 119, allow the smoke to get to us.

The writer of Psalms 119 does offer some consolation as he concludes the verse. He writes "yet do I not forget thy statutes". The word "statues" in this text means "prescribed limits". The writer, though emotionally impacted by whatever situation he has encountered, is consoled by the fact that God himself attaches limits, expiration dates, and boundaries to our situations. Though the smoke may choke us temporarily, it must ultimately dissipate in obedience to the prescribed limit that God has established. Endure the smoke for the set season but be consoled by the fact that this too has an expiration date.