Psalm 119:81-88

81. My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
82. My eyes long for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83. For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84. How long must your servant endure?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
85. The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law.
86. All your commandments are sure;
they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87. They have almost made an end of me on earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88. In your steadfast love give me life,
that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

81. I must be consumed with God’s promises for deliverance. God promised to not test His own beyond what they are able to endure. Currently, He has brought so many responsibilities [opportunities] into my life that I feel the need for deliverance from stress. What I really need, however, is a frame of mind to respond to stressful situations with calmness and faith in God’s strength working through me. The tasks He has put in front of me are my special assignments of service to Him. The fact that He gave them to me means that I can do them. Deliverance for me comes in the guise of thinking rightly about my circumstances.

82. The eyes, though they are small, are a wide gateway to the soul. They take in much, and what they take in is the material that our minds have to mull over. Our bodies will not be healthy if all we consume is not healthful. Similarly, it is foolish to assume that our thoughts will be pure if we fill our mind with images that promote the contrary. A sure hope is necessary when circumstances threaten despair. But, hope is not found in those circumstances. We must gaze intently upon the hope of our Lord. We must take in His splendor. We must diligently gaze upon His Word. Therein is our hope explained and therein is all we need to live well.

Set a strong guard about thy outward senses. These are Satan’s landing-place, especially the eye and ear. — William Gurnall

83. Though the psalmist was worn out by hardship, he could confidently state that he had not forgotten God’s Word. This is likely an understatement. I expect that he had actually been tending to his soul with God’s Word, not merely remembering that God’s Word existed. I assume that his remembering was diligent. Compare your diligence in studying God’s Word to your most diligent other endeavor. Are you really diligent in God’s Word?

84. My asking questions of God should not be in a demanding way. My attitude, even when perplexed and disturbed, should be one of joyful and humble submission to my Lord Who does all things well.

God will judge. On this earth, it may appear that He is more eager to judge His own than the lost. The wicked seem to have few or no troubles while the justified are overwhelmed by them. Is this unfair of God?

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. — Romans 8:25-39

Tribulation is a great aid to the Christian, as one of the things it does is demonstrate that he/she is held securely by God. Also, tribulation is a tool of sanctification in our lives.

Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. — John 16:32-33

Tribulation shows that God’s promises always come to pass. It seems to me that one of the reasons Jesus promised tribulation is that His people might have peace. How does such a promise bring peace? A promise is only as sure as the person making it. No one or thing is more sure than God, Who existed from eternity past. His promises are sure. On one hand He promises tribulation. On the other, preservation. We are held by the most sure hands, and can rest peacefully therein.

Back to judgment–one day all will be made right. One day there will be no more injustice. The King of all things will do this, as no earthly judge is able to. So do not take revenge, but wait on God and learn to trust Him completely.

85. Here, the psalmist states what has been done to him. But, he does not express anger or desire for personally taking revenge. He expresses concern for God’s glory which the proud disregard by disobeying God’s law. My concern must be not for my comfort but for God’s glory.

86. The psalmist paints a distinction between God’s Word and the wicked’s ways. God’s way is Truth, and the way of sinners is falsehood. There is no bigger difference. So the psalmist turns to the only source of aid–the Lord. Do I turn to the Lord for help or do I prove myself an idolator by looking elsewhere?

87. What reason do I have to complain about life? The psalmist almost lost his life. Why do I complain about what makes my life interesting?

I must dig into God’s Word in the easy times if I am ever going to do so in the hard times.

88. True life is in God’s mercy. I have been given all I need for life and godliness in Jesus. However, I must daily nourish myself in His Word. Though I have been given eternal life by God’s initiative alone, the present day experience of life involves my participation. God’s Word is like manna that I must daily partake of for nourishment. Once-in-a-while-time-with-God is not enough to sustain me. I must diligently nourish my soul in His living Word that I may walk righteously and godly in this world.

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