“This world is not my home. I’m just a-passin’ through. My treasures are laid up; somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door. And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
These are the words of an old gospel song that still has special relevance for today. As we come to the passage for today, we find an attitude of expectation on behalf of the psalmist. It is an expectation that causes him to focus less on the immediate circumstances, and more on the future God has promised. He does not ignore his current circumstances, as we will see; but he does temper them with a reminder of his future hope. I think this is tremendously beneficial for us to see his attitude, in light of the present circumstances we may be encountering in our own lives.
Section 7 (ZAIN)
Psalms 119:49-56 Remember the word unto thy servant,
upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.
The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.
I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord; and have comforted myself.
Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.
Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law.
This I had, because I kept thy precepts.
We come directly to it in verse 49. It is upon the Word of God that the servant of God has his hope. In fact, notice that he says that God has caused him to hope upon His Word. The Word of God is not such that we are unsure of the its promises. God’s promise of a better day, a soon return, and glorious future are sure. It is our blessed hope. While we do not know the day, nor the hour; yet we do know that God knows, and that it will come to pass. It is our confidence and our hope in dark days.
The psalmist says that in the days of his affliction, it is the promise of God’s Word that gives him comfort. He can read again the blessed promises and find comfort. He can meditate on those words he has committed to memory and find comfort.
I sometimes wonder if this was the case with Daniel in the lion’s den. Did he meditate on the promises of God for his people and find hope and comfort in that pit?
What about Joseph? Did he do this as well? Is this why they had such tremendous faith in God during days of affliction? I tend to believe so.
Verse 51 speaks to their situation, as well as those of the psalmist. The proud princes had Daniel in derision when he prayed three times a day and was sentenced to the lion’s den. No doubt, Josephs brothers had him in derision when he was sold into slavery. King David was held in derision by many throughout his life. Yet, it was the word of God which gave them comfort and hope. The remained faithful. Why?
I think the answer is found in verse 52. The psalmist thought back over the judgements of God in the past. He looked at how God had dealt with him, and His people in the times gone by. From this history he took great comfort.
Essentially, in a dark present, he looked back to an instructive past, and was assured of a blessed future.
Romans 5:3-11 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also:knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die:yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
This is the blessed hope for the believer. We look back and see how God dealt with us, even when we were the enemies of God. He loved us and he died for us! He saved us. If that is how he dealt with us in the past, then what might we expect in the future, now that we are His children!
And laying aside the thought of immediate deliverance in this life, we have the blessed hope also of final deliverance from all pain and affliction in a short time, when we are with Him for all eternity.
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
There is a deliverance coming. It is sure. It is our hope. In days of affliction we can take great comfort in this fact.
The psalmist believed this so strongly that he was filled with horror for those who had rejected God. He felt sorry and alarmed for the very people who were causing him the difficulty. Can we say that this is our attitude? I confess that it is not often mine.
Verse 55 is wonderful. The psalmist states that God’s Word had been his song in the house of his pilgrimage. He knew that this world was not his final home. He was indeed a stranger and pilgrim on the earth. His citizenship was in another country.
Hebrews 11:13-16 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly:wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God:for he hath prepared for them a city.
So while he traveled, he sang the songs of God. He turned scripture into a song.
He has already told us that God’s Word was his meditation, but now he says that it was his song as well.
We are admonished to do this as well.
Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord
And, more to the point:
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Whether or not this means singing the words of the Bible, or singing songs with good Bible doctrine, or both; I think this is an important part of the Christian life.
Our music is so important. It affects our spirit and our thinking. The psalmist could be found singing songs of God’s Word. It focused his thinking in difficult days.
He sums up the thought in verse 56 by expressing again why he had this hope. It was because he had not neglected God’s Word. The benefit of obedience to Scripture is the experience of the blessing we receive. If we turn our back and walk away when times are hard, we miss the blessing of comfort.
Where will we go for comfort if not to God’s Word? The world has many alternatives to offer. Some of them offer temporary distraction, but very little lasting comfort.
No my friends, we have the Bible. Let it’s promises be our comfort.
I am not making light of affliction. Neither did the psalmist. I have many dear friends who are even now in the depths of a great trial of affliction and suffering. I have been there. I expect I will be again. When we are, we look back over our lives and see how God has dealt with us in the past, and we take comfort. We can look in the Bible and in more recent history for how He delivered His people from suffering, and we can take hope. The we look at His Word for what a blessed hope is sure to be ours in the very near future, and we take comfort. There is a great day coming dear one. A great day. No more pain, no more sorrow. No more death and crying. How do I know? The Bible tells me so.
Heavenly Father, I pray today for my friends, and those I do not know who are suffering, or going through some dark valley. Let the light of hope, offered in Your Word, break through the gloom and give them comfort. You have promised to never leave us, nor forsake us. Remind us of this when we are alone. I pray also for those without You today. Truly they are without hope, who are without God. Draw them to Yourself. Open their eyes to their need; and save souls for Your glory. In Jesus name, amen.