Summary: Our psalmist in this section declares that his hope is received from the Word of God which renews his life. Even though our psalmist is afflicted & scorned by the arrogant, he is sustained by hope. For hope shines brightest in the darkness.
PSALM 119: 49-56 [The Ministry of The Word Series]
HOPE FROM GOD'S WORD
Our psalmist in this section [strophe] declares that his hope is received from the Word of God which renews his life. Because our God is unchanging, His Word does not change either. Therefore we can find hope from God's ancient Promises even when life is difficult.
Hope shines brightest in the darkness. Even though our psalmist is afflicted (v. 50) and scorned by the arrogant, he is sustained by hope. Through God's Word he receives comfort, hope, and life. God statutes moved him to song as they guide and accompany him along life's way. Anchored in God's Word, he is unmoved and confident as he faces adversity (CIT).
The threefold use of the term "remember" in this section calls us to Remember God's Word [or promise], Remember God's Actions, and Remember God's Character so that we might be sustained by hope.
I. REMEMBER GOD'S PROMISES, 49-50.
II. REMEMBER GOD'S ACTIONS, 51-53.
III. REMEMBER GOD'S CHARACTER , 54-56.
[Zayin, 7th Letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.]
Verse 49 begins as the psalmist calls upon God to remember His Word or promise, which He has given him and which is the source of his hope. "Remember the word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope."
The cry is for God to remember to fulfill His promises. God has promised to do us good, to shower us with His blessings. God has promised to work on behalf of His faithful children. As we present God's promises back to Him and place our faith in His Word, hope shines brighter and brighter in our inner man. When we place our hope in God and remember His promises, our future brightens up. God will not disappoint hope authorized and encouraged by His own promises [Plumer, William. Psalms. Banner of Truth. 1867. Edinburgh, Scotland. p. 1043]. When they come to our mind it is because God wants us to bring them before His Throne of Grace.
The word of God not only speaks comfort in affliction it revives us in our affliction as verse 50 indicates. "This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me."
The comfort the writer receives from God's Word is one of the main reasons he cherishes it (vv. 89,144,152,160). Because God answers His promises to His people, the psalmist finds comfort in his affliction.
The Lord brought this comfort and restoration of life to His servant through His Word. God's Word not only sustains us in our affliction, it revives us in our affliction.
Patricia St. John has been described as an ordinary woman with an extraordinary faith. She poured out her life ministering to people in the neediest places on our planet. She was in Sudan when WAR REFUGES flooded that country. They had suffered terribly and had lost everything, yet those among them who were Christians still gave thanks to God.
Patricia said that she stood one night in a crowded little Sudanese church listening to those uprooted believers singing joyfully. Suddenly a life-changing insight burned its way into her mind. She was trying to change their circumstances, but God was changing them in their circumstances. She realized that God "does not always lift people out of the situation. He Himself comes into the situation. . . . He does not pluck them out of the darkness. He becomes the light in the darkness."
Does Patricia's insight apply to your life? What if, despite your fervent prayer, God doesn't see fit to deliver you from terrible circumstances? God's Word tells us that believers often suffer (Heb. 11:35-38). What then?
God promises to stand by you. He'll strengthen you and give you the grace to rejoice, even in the face of suffering and loss. That's real triumph in tragedy.
II. REMEMBER GOD'S ACTIONS, 51-53.
In verse 51 we find that though the arrogant scorned his faith he is determined to follow God's Word. "The arrogant utterly deride me, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law."
Part of the affliction that he is experiencing is derision or contempt. The Lord sustains him when he being is ridiculed. In spite of the prolonged, severe, unjust treatment, he will not turn aside from following God's Word.
These "proud" are those who refuse to submit to God's Word. They presume to be autonomous, independent of such authority or need. Thus they are those who "stray from Your commandments" (119:21). They castigate the psalmist for the foolishness of trusting in God's Word. Nevertheless, he will not turn aside from God's law. [Williams, Donald. The Preacher's Commentary Series, Vol 14 : Psalms 73-150. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989, S. 355.]
Let us be certain it is the Divine law that we believe, and then not let scoffers succeed in turning us aside from it either.