Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Week 7 Zayin Psalm 119:49-56
This stanza of eight verses deals with the comfort of the Word.
There is little we can offer to someone dealing with emotional pain. I cannot cure someone’s handicapped son. I cannot fix the pain caused by sexual abuse. I cannot fix the heartache caused by divorce. Fortunately, where we lack in words of comfort, God provides. Our God is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). He will comfort us through His Spirit as we turn to His Word and His people. For centuries, Christians desperately held to God’s promises while experiencing loss, pain, grief, and persecution. The living Word of God provides more comfort than any pain killer this world has to offer.
I read this quote once, “Comfort is not the absence of problems, but the grace to experience life in the midst of them.” And it reminded me not to run from my problems, but instead to face them head on with God in my corner. Our temptation in the midst of adversity is to turn from the very words that give comfort. The psalmist was tempted to do this, but in the midst of his trials, we will see as he proclaims in this stanza, “I have not turned from your laws” v.51 Instead of turning away from those words, let’s dig in to our assigned verses this week! The Psalmist open’s this stanza with saying, “Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope.” Reminding God of something may sound strange, after all, He is God and He does not forget the things He has told us. But reminding God of the promises He has made, helps us to remember them and reassures us that He can be trusted to keep them. I think the Psalmist sets a great example here for us: while God will never forget us or abandon us, at times we may feel forgotten. It is not that God is too busy for us; it’s just that our struggles make us feel like we are facing the world alone. God wants His people to plead His stated promises back to Him in prayer. The Psalmist exemplifies this with these words. He goes on to say, “This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.” He demonstrates here that the Word provides comfort and hope during affliction. I think it does this by reminding us of our future. The trials in this life will one day come to an end because Jesus is coming back. These words are life giving when we feel drained from a seemingly endless trial. Moving on, he writes, “The proud have me in great derision, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.”I was unfamiliar with the word derision so I looked it up and it means: contemptuous ridicule or mockery. Here we come to realize that despite being mocked, he stays faithful to walking in the narrow way. I struggle with this at times. When I am mocked or ridiculed, I get very discouraged and almost tempted to quit. I am thankful for his example here. Next he writes: “I remember Your judgments of old, O Lord and have comforted myself.” It is in God’s word where we can find comfort, by revisiting stories of others who experienced His faithfulness. This reminds me of Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Sometimes our emotions cause us to believe that we have it worse than anyone else. But by turning to the Scriptures we remember truths like: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 He goes on to say, “Indignation had taken hold of me Because of the wicked, who forsake Your law.” Indignation is anger or annoyance provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment.He seems to be upset that the wicked still prosper even though they forsake the law. This reminds me of Jeremiah’s words in Jeremiah 12:1 “Righteous are you, O Lord, when I complain to you; yet I would plead my case before you. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?” I find myself relating to the Psalmist and Jeremiah at times here because it is difficult to watch people blatantly disobey God and yet prosper. But an eternal perspective helps me overcome this. Jesus is coming back, and the ungodly will have to answer for their actions. In the last few verses He writes, “your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.” This reminded me of Paul and Silas singing hymns in prison in Acts 16. They were singing and praying and scripture says the prisoners were listening. As a result, the Jailer was converted! It makes me wonder how different my evangelism would be if His statues were so ingrained in my heart that they became my songs that I sing or hum instead of popular songs today. This is the second time the Psalmist refers to himself as a pilgrim. I love this quote in regards to having a pilgrim mindset, “A pilgrim is a person who is traveling through one country to another…. We are hurrying through this world as through a foreign land. We are in this country, not as residents, but only as visitors, who take this country en route for glory.” (Spurgeon). We spent time in week two talking about being a pilgrim in this world so I wont spend a lot of time here on it. In the next verse the Psalmist writes, “I remember Your name in the night, O Lord, and I keep your law.” Night time is generally the hardest for most of us when we are going through a trial. But it is important to fill our heads with the Word of God when we are tempted to fill our heads with fears and anxiety. Or if you are like me, at night time I tend to think of everything wrong I did during the day. Instead, I have been taking that time to reflect, repent for doing wrong, and praising God for Jesus who covers my sin. And praising Him for new mercies to start a new day in the morning. When I take time to do this, I wake up feeling renewed and refreshed. The Psalmist closes by writing, “This has become mine, Because I kept your precepts.” I contemplated what “this” was and I believe he is referring to the comfort that he has received. He had this comfort, this remembrance of God, this power to sing, this courage to face the enemy, and this hope in the promise, because he had earnestly observed the commands of God and desired to walk in them. I wonder how different our lives would look if we were as diligent as this Psalmist! I pray this post blesses your Monday. If it does, please take time to tell us in the comment section. In Him,