49 Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully,
but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, LORD, your ancient laws,
and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked,
who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song
wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, LORD, I remember your name,
that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice:
I obey your precepts.
The writer of this psalm finds his hope in God’s word. He begins by asking God to remember His word or promise. God has made many promises to us in the Bible. When we find these promises and claim them in prayer, we can find hope. For example in Hebrews 13:5, God promises to never leave us or forsake us. When we feel alone of forsaken, we can pray, “God please walk beside me and help me because You have promised to never leave me.” God does not promise to take away our pain, but He does promise to stick closer to us than anyone else and to give us wisdom for dealing with our difficulties (James 1:5). We can count on God to keep His word and to give us comfort.
Your promise preserves my life. The psalmist turns to God and His word in his darkest hour. He does not turn to addictive behaviors or seek to escape or deny his pain. Instead of looking for outside sources to free him from the shackles of despair, he turns to God. We all have to find some ways to cope with difficulties and heartache. Some people turn to alcohol. Others becomes workaholics and still others turn to socially acceptable methods such as playing video games or reading books for hours on end. Although reading a book or playing a game can be a harmless way to take a break from pain for a short period, we can not deny the problems that we have. Instead we must face them with the wisdom and comfort of God.
The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law. Being picked on and ridiculed is extremely painful, but we can not let our minds become consumed with the opinions of others. Rather we must focus our minds on the facts and promises of God’s words. It is easy to let bitterness take root in our hearts if we think about all the unkind and untrue remarks that have been made about us. However, no matter how many times someone lies about us, it does not make their statements true. God knows and sees the truth about us. One day he will bring about justice on our behalf. We should not seek it on our own (Romans 12:19); we should focus on God and reading the Bible instead. Taking time to read the Bible every day and to pray will help us to overcome the verbal attacks of others.
In the night, LORD, I remember your name, that I may keep your law. It’s those times in the middle of the night when we feel all alone and helpless that it is so important to remember God. The panic and frustration over our problems can sometimes lead us to make poor choices, and this just makes our lives even worse. Instead of basing decisions on feelings, it is essential that we base our decisions upon God’s word. During our heartache, we are often tempted to “do what feels good or right.” However, bad decisions can haunt us for a long time. Looking back over my life, it was often heart wrenching to make the right, godly choice, but those choices have impacted my life in a positive way. Making a decision to remember God and keep His laws is like turning the steering wheel of our lives away from certain disaster. Instead of looking at the upcoming problem, we instead turn our attention towards God and steer towards Him.
For more great reading about Psalm 119, you can read Spurgeon’s Treasury of David.
- My Journey Down the Road to Divorce (mainwriters.com)
- But Will He Make a Way for ME? Part I (candytroutman.wordpress.com)