Psalm 119 (verses 41-56)
“I trust in thy word”
Verses 41-48: Lord, I have by faith thy mercies in view; let me by prayer prevail to obtain them. And when the salvation of the saints is completed, it will plainly appear that it was not in vain to trust in God’s word. We need to pray that we may never be afraid or ashamed to own God’s truths and ways before men. And the psalmist resolves to keep God’s law, in a constant course of obedience, without backsliding. The service of sin is slavery; the service of God is liberty. There is no full happiness, or perfect liberty, but in keeping God’s law. We must never be ashamed or afraid to own our religion. The more delight we take in the service of God, the nearer we come to perfection. Not only consent to his law as good, but take pleasure in it as good for us. Let me put forth all the strength I have, to do it. Something of this mind of Christ is in every true disciple.
Psalm 119:41 “Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, [even] thy salvation, according to thy word.”
VAU: The Sixth Part.
“Thy salvation”: This reflects a repeated desire (compare verses 64, 76, 81, 88, 94, 109, 123, 134, 146, 149, 153, 154, 159, 166).
We see in this, the psalmist crying out for mercy. Not any one in their right mind wants justice. We would all fall short, if God meted out justice to us. It is through His great mercy and grace, that we are saved. Salvation if a free gift. It is unmerited favor with the Lord. From Genesis to Revelation, we see the salvation of man through the Savior. His Word tells of the Savior.
Psalm 119:42 “So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.”
Saying there is no help and salvation for him in God; asking where is his God, in whom he trusted? And where is the promise of salvation, on which he depended? To which an easy and ready answer might be given, when the mercies and salvation of God came unto him, and he clearly appeared to be interested in them (see Psalm 3:2).
“For I trust in thy word”: In Christ the essential Word, the object of trust and confidence. Or in the written word, it being divinely inspired and dictated by the Spirit of God, and so to be depended on as true and faithful. Or rather God’s word of promise concerning mercy, grace, and salvation, which God that has made is faithful and able to perform, as may be believed.
Trust placed in the Word of God, is trust that will produce favor. This type of trust brings life. The world thinks that trust in God is foolish. The world will not be saved. There are several Scriptures I would like to share on that subject here.
1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:21 “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
1 Corinthians 1:23 “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;”
1 Corinthians 1:25 “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
There is no need to argue with the world. They do not understand.
1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.”
Psalm 119:43 “And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.”
“Hoped”: The psalmist waits patiently for the working of God’s Word (compare verses 49, 74, 81, 114, 147).
There is a miracle utterance that this is probably speaking of here.
Luke 12:11-12 “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and [unto] magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:” “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”
Matthew 10:27 “What I tell you in darkness, [that] speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, [that] preach ye upon the housetops.”
All of this speaks of a miracle utterance which the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, has you to say. Ministers call it the anointing of God. He is really saying, if you were to take away the miracle utterance from me, I would not be able to effectively speak of your judgements.
Psalm 119:44 “So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.”
Which denotes not the perfection of keeping the law, but the constancy of it. The psalmist was persuaded, that so long as he had the word of truth in his mouth, and the judgments of God in his view, he should be diligent and constant in the discharge of his duty, which these directed and encouraged him unto.
“For ever and ever”: In this life and that to come. When the law of God will be kept, and his will done perfectly by the saints, as it now is by the angels in heaven. Or this may be connected with the law of God; which law is for ever and ever, being of eternal duration and obligation. The whole may be understood of the law of faith, or doctrine of the Gospel, and be rendered, “so shall I observe thy doctrine continually”. Contained in the word of truth; which doctrine is for ever and ever; it is the everlasting Gospel.
This a declaration of a determination on the part of the psalmist to keep the law of God as long as he lives.
Psalm 119:45 “And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.”
The Hebrew word translated “liberty” means “wide, board, large, spacious”. It refers to life that is free and open, where there are no limits, checks, or restraints. The psalmist has been delivered from those restraining evil passions and corrupt desires that fettered his existence.
Those whom the Lord sets free, are free indeed. Those who desire to live a holy life before the Lord, find that there is liberty in this decision. They are no longer under the bondage of sin. To seek to know the ways of the Lord is certainly the factor that sets us free.
Psalm 119:46 “I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.”
As very likely he did before Saul and his courtiers. Before the king of Achish and the princes of the Philistines, when as yet he was not a king himself. And when he was come to the throne, such kings as came to visit him. Instead of talking with them about affairs of state, he spoke of the Scriptures, and of the excellent things they bear witness of. And such a practice he determined to pursue and continue in.
“And will not be ashamed”: Of the testimonies of God, and of the truths contained in them. And of speaking of them and for them; or of being reproached and vilified on that account. So the Apostle Paul was a chosen vessel to bear the name of Christ before kings. Nor was he ashamed to speak of him and of his Gospel before Nero the Roman emperor, or Agrippa king of the Jews. And before Felix and Festus, Roman governors. Nor ashamed of the reproaches and afflictions he endured on that account.
The truly anointed of God to minister, do not care if the listener be royalty or a commoner, the message is the same. They all need the Savior. Jesus gave us a very good reason why we should never be ashamed of Him or the gospel.
Mark 8:38 “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Verses 47-48: Which I have loved”: The psalmist expresses his great affection for the Word (compare verses 97, 113, 127, 140, 159, 163, 165, 167).
Psalm 119:47 “And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.”
In perusing and practicing them.
“Which I have loved”: A good man loves the law of God, and the commandments of Christ, and delights in them after the inward man.
1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
To those who choose to keep the commandments, they are a delight. The commandments of God were given to help man in his walk with God on this earth. They are not just a set of rules that are hard to keep. They are to benefit man.
Psalm 119:48 “My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.”
As an expression of delight or rejoicing, as people lift up their hands with their voice when they give expression to joy. It denotes a high statue of joy; such as leads to an outward expression. Not merely that which exists in calm contemplation, but where the heart is full, and when it finds outward expression.
“And I will meditate in thy statutes” (see notes at Psalm 1:2). I will indicate my joy, and my happiness, in thy commandments in every way possible. By outward expressions, and by deep and calm contemplation when I am alone. In my daily employments, in solitude, in the night-watches. This is indicative always of true religion.
The lifting of the hands upward is a sign of praise to God. He is saying, I will praise God for His commandments. He loves them. He meditates (thinks deeply), about the teachings. In them, he finds life.
“Thy statutes have been my songs”
Verses 49-56: Those that make God’s promises their portion, may with humble boldness make them their plea. He that by his Spirit works faith in us, will work for us. The word of God speaks comfort in affliction. If, through grace, it makes us holy, there is enough in it to make us easy, in all conditions. Let us be certain we have the Divine law for what we believe, and then let not scoffers prevail upon us to decline from it. God’s judgments of old comfort and encourage us, for he is still the same. Sin is horrible in the eyes of all that are sanctified. Before long the believer will be absent from the body, and present with the Lord. In the meantime, the statutes of the Lord supply subjects for grateful praise. In the season of affliction, and in the silent hours of the night, he remembers the name of the Lord, and is stirred up to keep the law. All who have made religion the first thing, will own that they have been unspeakable gainers by it.
Psalm 119:49 “Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.”
ZAIN: The Seventh Part.
The word of promise made unto him, concerning establishing his house and kingdom forever. Which he desires God would show himself mindful of in fulfilling it, and renew and confirm his faith in it. And give him some fresh assurance of the performance of it (2 Sam. 7:16). Not that God ever forgets his promise, or is unmindful of his word. But so it seems when he delays the accomplishment of it, and when unbelief prevails and doubts arise, and faith is not in lively exercise; and he has not so clear a view of the promise, and comfortable assurance of its being performed.
“Upon which thou hast caused me to hope”: Which, when first made, he received in faith, and hoped and waited for the accomplishment of. A word of promise is a good ground of hope, let it be on what account it will. Whether it relates to interest in God, as a covenant God and Father; or to pardon of sin; or to salvation by Christ. Or to fresh supplies of grace and strength from him; or to eternal life through him. And the hope which is exercised on the promise is not of a man’s self; it is the gift of God, a good hope through grace. Which the Lord, by his Spirit and power, produces, and causes to abound in, or to exercise in a comfortable manner.
The Word of God brings hope. It is the one thing in life that we can depend on. God does not lie. The hope that the Word brings the believer is true. We can see in the covenant that God made with Abraham, that God fulfills His promises. Usually God lets an impossibility in the flesh arise, and then He brings the miracle, as He did in Isaac. Abraham and Sarah were beyond the childbearing years, when God sent them a miracle son, Isaac. The hope of the Christian is of the resurrection.
Psalm 119:50 “This [is] my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.”
David had his afflictions, and so has every good man; none are without; it is the will and pleasure of God that so it should be. And many are their afflictions, inward and outward. The word of God is often their comfort under them, the written word, heard or read; and especially a word of promise, powerfully applied. “Comfort”: What the psalmist found in God’s Word (compare verses 52, 76, 82). This is putting underneath everlasting arms, and making their bed in sickness. This either respects what goes before, concerning the word of promise hoped in, or what follows.
“For thy word hath quickened me”: Has made me alive; or, caused me to live. That is, the word, the truth of God, had been the instrument of calling him from the death of sin, and of imparting to him new life. Or had been the means of his regeneration (compare James 1:18; 1 Cor. 4:15; Heb. 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23). As it was by this “word” that he had been made alive, so his only comfort was in that word, and it was to him a just ground of consolation that God had brought him from the death of sin, and had imparted to him spiritual life.
What a shame when someone dies in a family, who does not believe in God. They have nothing to comfort them. Even in the afflictions of Job, he was comforted knowing that the Lord would redeem him. The Word of God brings comfort. Jesus is the quickening Spirit.
Psalm 119:51 “The proud have had me greatly in derision: [yet] have I not declined from thy law.”
Profane sinners, proud and haughty scorners, that make a jest of religion, and scoff at everything serious and good. These derided the psalmist for his piety and religion, his principles and practices; in which he was a type of Christ. Who was both the song of the drunkards, and was derided by the proud and haughty Scribes and Pharisees. As all self-righteous persons are, they who trust in themselves, and despise others (Psalm 69:11).
“Yet have I not declined from thy law”: From walking according to it, as a rule of life and conversation. From professing and maintaining the doctrine of the word, the truths of the Gospel, he had knowledge and experience of. And from going on in the ways of God and true religion he was directed in. And this testimony the Lord himself gave of him (1 Kings 14:8; see Psalm 44:19).
We remember in a previous verse, that the proud are cursed. Those who are cursed never have much respect for those who have chosen to serve God. Even though the world around us may criticize us for serving God, it does not affect the true believer. They go right on serving God.
Psalm 119:52 “I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.”
Either the judgments of God executed on wicked men; as the bringing a flood on the world of the ungodly. The burning of Sodom and Gomorrah. The destruction of Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea. The cutting off of the Canaanites, and dispossessing them of their land. Or the providential dispensations of God towards his own people; who sometimes chastises and corrects them, and brings them very low, and then raises them up again, as in the case of Job. These things the psalmist called to remembrance, and revolved them in his mind, which gave him pleasure and comfort.
“And have comforted myself”: With such thoughts as these, of that God, who had cast down the mighty from their seats, and had scattered the proud in the imaginations of their hearts, and destroyed them. Could easily rebuke the proud that had him in derision. And he that had shown himself so good and gracious to his people, when brought low, could raise him out of his afflictions and distresses.
Again, we see that the Word of God continues to comfort him. How quickly some forget the blessings of the past. It is good to look back and see the blessings of the past. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He still will bless us, if we will only believe.
Psalm 119:53 “Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.”
Trembling, sorrow, and distress, to a great degree. Like a storm, or a blustering, scorching, burning wind, as the word signifies, which is very terrible.
“Because of the wicked that forsake thy law”: Not only transgress the law of the Lord, as every man does, more or less. But willfully and obstinately despise it, and cast it behind their backs, and live in a continued course of disobedience to it. Or who apostatize from the doctrine of the word of God; willfully deny the truth, after they have had a speculative knowledge of it, whose punishment is very grievous (Heb. 10:26). And now partly on account of the daring impiety of wicked men, who stretch out their hands against God, and strengthen themselves against the Almighty, and run upon him. Even on the thick bosses of his bucklers; because of the shocking nature of their sins. The sad examples thereby set to others, the detriment they are of to themselves, and dishonor they bring to God. And partly because of the dreadful punishment that shall be inflicted on them here, and especially hereafter, when a horrible tempest of wrath will come upon them. Hence such trembling seized the psalmist; and often so it is, that good men tremble more for the wicked than they do for themselves (see Psalm 119:120).
If we read and study the Word of God, we know that those who decide to turn against God and live for their fleshly desires are facing a horrible future. God blesses abundantly those who love Him and serve Him, but there are terrible things awaiting those who do not accept Him as Savior. The Word of God has a great deal to say about this.
Psalm 119:54 “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.”
Meaning either his unsettled state, fleeing from place to place before Saul. Or, literally, his house of cedar, his court and palace, which he considered no other than as an inn he had put into upon his travels homeward. Or rather the earthly house of his tabernacle, in which, as long as he continued, he was but a pilgrim and stranger. Or, best of all, the whole course of his life; which Jacob calls the days of the years of his pilgrimage (Gen. 47:9). So Hipparchus the Pythagorean calls this life a sort of a pilgrimage; and Plato also. This world is not the saints house and home; this is not their rest and residence. They confess themselves pilgrims and strangers here; and that they belong to another city, and a better country, a heavenly one, which they are seeking and travelling to (Heb. 11:13). And as travelers sing songs to themselves as they pass on, which makes the way the easier and pleasant to them. So the psalmist had his songs which he sung in his pilgrimage state. And these were the statutes, or word of the Lord, and the things in it, which were as delightful to him as the songs of travelers to them. Or the songs he made and sung were composed out of the word of God; and which may serve to recommend the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, made by him, the sweet psalmist of Israel, to the Gospel churches, to be sung by them (Eph. 5:19).
There is nothing more beautiful, than the Word of God put to music. If you look carefully at the old hymnals, you will see that the people who wrote them, knew the Word of God. They are Scripturally correct in 95% of the cases.
Psalm 119:55 “I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.”
I have thought on thee in the night, when on my bed. I have done it in the night of calamity and sorrow (see notes at Psalm 63:6).
Probably, when we lay down to sleep at night, we think back over the Words in the Bible more than we do as we are rushing to get a job done in the day. Sometimes at night when I am wide-awake, I pray a large part of the night. When it is so quiet, it is a good time to fellowship with God. In looking over the happenings of the day, I realize I have kept the law of the Lord.
Psalm 119:56 “This I had, because I kept thy precepts.”
Either the comfort he had from the word, the pleasure and delight he had in it, being his songs in his pilgrimage (Psalms 119:50; 119:165). Or this knowledge of the name of God, and the remembrance of it, and his carefulness and diligence in it in the night season, were of the Lord, and gifts of his. Or rather this he had from the Lord, that he kept the precepts and commands of God in the manner that he did. It was all owing to grace and strength received from him; for so the words may be rendered, “this was given unto me, that I have kept thy precepts”.
The person who seeks to do the will of God, will be led into these other things we have been reading of here. He is saying that these blessings came to him, because he was doing the will of God.
Psalm 119 (verses 41-56) Questions
- Who wants justice from God?
- Salvation is a ______ ______.
- The type of trust, spoken of in verse 42, will produce ________.
- The preaching of the cross is _______________ to the Greeks.
- God chose that by the foolishness of ____________ to save people.
- The ________ of God is wiser than men.
- 1 Corinthians says, the natural man does not receive the things of God, because they are _____________ discerned.
- What type of utterance is verse 43 speaking of?
- What ye hear in the ear, preach on the _____________.
- How long has the psalmist promised to keep the law?
- They are no longer under the bondage of _____.
- This is the love of God, that we ______ His __________________.
- What does the lifting of the hands, in verse 48, show?
- What does meditate mean?
- What is the one thing, in this life, that we can depend upon?
- What brings a miracle from God?
- Job, in his afflictions, was comforted by what?
- What did the psalmist comfort himself with?
- What type of future do those have who reject the Lord?
- There is nothing more beautiful than the Word of God being put to ______.
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