Stress. Pain. Anguish. Grief. The Christian experiences all of these emotions from time to time. How should our faith respond? Psalm 119:73-80 deals with our attitude toward affliction in light of the richness of God’s word. Notice the following:
God gives life meaning (v.73) — “Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn Your commandments.” Not only has God created us, but His word enlightens us to our true purpose. Truly, that which honors God dignifies man! When our lives seem meaningless, God’s commandments restore us to the beauty of His vision for us.
God’s word draws the faithful closer (v.74) — “Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, because I have hoped in Your word.” The Psalmist knows that vibrant and healthy relationships with others are founded on a mutual hope in God’s promises. Indeed, we are, “part of the family… whose love knows no end!” Thank God for faithful brethren!
God always does what’s right (v.75) — “I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” Whatever afflictions we endure, we have assurance that God does what’s right. Even when we don’t understand all the “why’s” of our heartache, we can confidently sing with the Psalmist, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word” (Psalm 119:67).
God remembers His promises (v.76) — “Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Your word to Your servant.” Suffering people often think God is asleep (cf. Psalm 44:23). He is, however, a God who never sleeps nor slumbers (Psalm 121:4). What rich blessings await those who wait on Him (cf. Isa. 40:31)!
God’s faithful delight in His word (v.77) — God’s law is the delight of those who love Him (cf. Psalm 119:103). How do you feel about the word of God? It can make a tremendous difference in your outlook on life. Countless Christians are steeped in worry and misery because they have forgotten the untold joy found only in the Bible! The Psalmist says, “Let Your tender mercies come to me that I may live, for Your law is my delight!”
God will right all wrongs (v.78) — “Let the proud be ashamed, for they treated me wrongfully with falsehood; but I will meditate on Your precepts.” Verses 76 through 80 of Psalm 119 all begin with the word, “let.” Instead of seeking vengeance himself, the Psalmist has resigned himself to trust in God’s power and mercy. What a wise decision!
God will strengthen His people (v.79) — “Let those who fear You turn to me, those who know Your testimonies.” How refreshing that we don’t have to face the struggles of life alone! God’s strength is seen not only in His word, but in people who believe and obey that word. One of the church’s great strengths is that God works through us to accomplish His will (Phil. 2:13).
God will help us be faithful (v.80) — “Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes, that I may not be ashamed.” God, through His providence, can bring us blessings (cf. James 1:17), and affliction (cf. Heb. 12:5-6). However, even in the chastening of the Lord there are blessings to be found! The next time we face heartache, let’s remember the Psalmist’s desire to be faithful in the midst of suffering. – John Baker