QOPH ~ Crying out to God with Hope! 

145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes. 

146 I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies. 

147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. 

148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. 

149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O LORD, according to your justice give me life. 

150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law. 

151 But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true. 

152 Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever. 

Psalm 119:145-152

Have you ever had trouble sleeping because something or someone was on your mind and you didn’t know what to do or how to handle the situation? I think that is what is happening here. But the important thing to note here is the Psalmist is not just praying to God for deliverance or for forgiveness. The Psalmist is praying for guidance and he is promising his own obedience as he discovers God’s direction. Notice the words “I cry” but then “I will keep”, “I call” but then “I may observe”, “I rise” and “I hope”. I think too many times, we humans, or at least me, will, or have used prayer to God, especially a prayer of deliverance as if God is a genie in a bottle who can grant our every wish or whim. But prayer is about so much more than that. I think with this passage, the Psalmist has figured that out. Yes, God will deliver us from many things but most of the time it has been my experience that He delivers me THROUGH many things, with lessons to be learned in the process and actions that must be taken on my part. But most of all, please don’t miss the hope. We have hope in His word, we have hope in the deliverance. We have promises of God all throughout His word that we can count on. And all of those promises and meditating on them is what keeps us grounded in the hope. I found this quote from Spurgeon in my studies. 

“He who is diligent in prayer will never be destitute of hope. Observe that as the early bird gets the worm, so the early prayer is soon refreshed with hope.” (Spurgeon) 

Many times I struggle with no sleep. I am a better person when I have had a full night’s sleep, aren’t we all? But I also have learned on a sleepless night, there is always something to pray for. I rise early to study and to pray because I know that I need my time in the mornings so that people can stand to be around me through the day. I have to align myself with God daily to be able to keep His hope in front of me, to know the paths I should take and to be able to keep His commandments and walk in His obedience. 

The Psalmist asks the Lord to hear him because of God’s steadfast love, but in this prayer he is praying in a way of confidence rather than the desperation we have seen in many of his prayers. He states that he knows the Lord is near and that his commandments are true and then he recognizes that he has a history with the Lord. Enough history to know that the Lords’  commandments are “founded forever”. 

I believe that this passage in this Psalm is born of years of experience of walking with the Lord. The Psalmist has a faith that has been founded on his experiences of deliverance, experiences of his forgiveness and his experiences of obedience. And the cry of his heart is to continue to obey. 

TSADHE ~ The Purity and Truth of God’s Word

137 Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules. 

138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. 

139 My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. 

140 Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. 

141 I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts. 

142 Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. 

143 Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. 

144 Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live. 

Psalm 119:137-144

As I read this passage of the Psalm, what I think about it is this is a declaration of the Psalmist of who he has found God to be through His word. It is praise in it’s own right and it’s own way, but mostly it is declaring the righteousness, the purity and truth of God and his Word. 

God’s written word, the Scriptures, the Bible, is our avenue to getting to know God. His character, His righteousness, His truth, is all revealed through His word. This word is not greater than who God is, but every word of it points to the greatness of God. 

As the Psalmist has fallen in love with God’s word, he has also come face to face with who he is in relation to God as well as to other people. He says “I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts.” The Psalmist felt insignificant but he remembered where his significance lies. It bothered him that those around him were not living according to the scriptures but he knew that the promises of God had been tried and true in his own life. Even though he has seen trouble and he has been through anguish, he realizes that the commandments of God and his relationship with his God is what has carried him through. 

The Psalmist ends this passage reiterating the righteousness of God’s testimonies and with a prayer. He has declared God’s goodness, he has recognized his promises and how they have been tried and true in his own life, he recognizes his own significance and that his significance only truly lies with God and he has recognized his troubles and the anguish he has been through. But the only thing he prays for in this passage is understanding, not deliverance, not direction, just understanding so that he may live. Sometimes that is the point, isn’t it? One thing I have learned to pray through all the things I have been through in my life is for God to help me to learn the lessons He has for me through the trial so that I may not have to learn it again later. Lord give us understanding of Your word so that we may live in the abundance You have for us! 

PE ~ Steps Directed by God’s Word

129 Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. 

130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple

131 I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. 

132 Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. 

133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. 

134 Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts. 

135 Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. 

136 My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law. 

Psalm 119:129-136

This passage is giving us some simple instructions for living. The Psalmist here has found that the way to keep his way pure and to stay on the right path is simply to fall in love with God’s word. That was the same back in Old Testament days as is it is now and vice versa. The Psalmist states in verse 129 “your testimonies are wonderful”. As the Psalmist has studied the scriptures, he recognizes the words as wonderful. I love, love love verse 130. 

“The unfolding of your words gives light, it imparts understanding to the simple.” v. 130

It reminds me of one of my favorite verses. 

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7

Years ago, I thought the understanding of God’s word was only for pastors, teachers, and scholars. I didn’t feel smart enough to ever grasp some of the meanings found in God’s word. Then I found Psalm 19:7 and it became my prayer. I am a very simple-minded woman. I have no desire to get too involved in things like politics or economics. I think there are smarter people than me that desire to do those things and they should be doing them. However, I do desire to know God more and the way to do that is to fall in love with His word and I discovered that early on. And it became my prayer for God to give me, this simple minded woman understanding of His word. Somehow I knew that knowing His word more would help me to love His word more. Now don’t get me wrong there is still a vast amount that I don’t understand. But that’s what else I love in the first part of this verse. When he says “the unfolding of your words gives light”! Every time I study God’s word, more and more of it unfolds to me. I love that. I pray I never stop learning God’s word as long as there is breath in my body. I believe that is the way it is supposed to be. We will never stop learning because there will always be more to learn! 

The Psalmist here is also asking for God to be gracious to him based on who God is. God loves everyone but I think He gives an extra dose of grace to those who love Him. (just my thoughts here) And that is what the Psalmist is banking on too. 

In verse 133 the Psalmist is making a request from God to help him in his everyday walk. 

“Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.” v. 133

The Psalmist has recognized the way to stay in step ~ according to your promise. The only way to stay in step with God is to, well stay in communion with God. The second we stop communion with God, the second we stop having our time with Him, is the second our senses start to dull about the ways of this world. You must, as a Christian stay in step with God. I love too that the Psalmist says “let no iniquity get dominion over me.” You see, we will all fall short every day. That is simply because we are human. But when we habitually fall short and when we are not keeping our steps steady is when sin gets dominion over us. As Christians, I believe God will always give us a way out of sin. If you have spent time with God, then His precepts and testimonies are in your mind and ours senses are more heightened to sin first of all. And then, God will always give us a way out of sin gaining dominion over us. That’s because of who He is, not who we are. Yes, we are going to sin, we are human. But it does not have to have a hold on us. 

The Psalmist has come to recognize not only his own sin and his desire to keep the precepts of God, his heart is broken because of the sin around him too. 

“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” v. 136

Is your heart broken because of the sin you see in the world? I’m not sure mine is enough. Oh don’t get me wrong, I think we do have to start with our own back door first. But, we are living in a time that it seems sin is glorified in our world. There are things happening right out in front of us daily that I never thought we would see. Does it break your heart? Does it break mine? If we are in step with God, we are not only uncomfortable in our own sin, I think we are uncomfortable with the sins of the world around us. And as Christians, I think we have been silent too long about the sins that are allowed right out in front of us. The first step is to ask Him to break our hearts for what breaks His. 

AYIN ~ The Seeking Servant 

121 I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors. 

122 Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me. 

123 My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise. 

124 Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes. 

125 I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies! 

126 It is time for the LORD to act, for your law has been broken. 

127 Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold. 

128 Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way. 

Psalm 119:121-128

This passage shows us the Psalmist pleading with God to act. The Psalmist starts by making bold statements about his own life and asking God to not leave him to his oppressors and the insolent. Now we are not completely sure that David wrote these passages in this Psalm but for our arguments sake we are assuming maybe he did. We know that there were times in David’s life that he was revered as King of Israel and there were times in his life that he had many oppressors. But we also know about David that he loved and served God. Not perfectly but he is known as a man after God’s heart so we know that he did serve and love God with his heart and it was his desire to do justly and rightly. Can’t that be said about many of us? It is in my heart to serve God and to do what is just and right, but I know that if not careful, I can fall quickly. I say things I wish I hadn’t, I do things I wish I didn’t but in my heart of hearts it is my desire to do what is just and right. I want to be a servant to the Lord. In this passage, the Psalmist mentions being a servant three times, he wants to be and wants to be seen as a servant of the Lord. 

The Psalmist is also pleading with God to deliver him from his oppressors. You get the feeling that maybe he has been praying for deliverance for a while now and he wants to say the right thing to turn things around. 

“My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.” (v. 123)

Haven’t we all been there before? I know I have. When I felt my prayers were just hitting the ceiling so to speak and I wanted just the right formula, just the right prayer for God to act on my behalf and fulfill his righteous promise to me. In verse 126 the Psalmist states his plea another way. 

“It is time for the LORD to act, for your law has been broken.” (v126) 

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to pray to get the Lord to act. But haven’t we all felt that way before? And you can also see in this Psalm that the Psalmist is also asking for understanding and to be dealt with according to God’s steadfast love. That shows us the faith of the Psalmist. Yes he is begging and pleading with the LORD to act but he also knows that just having an understanding of God’s word and His testimonies will sustain him through until the Lord acts. 

The last two verses testify to that. 

“Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold. Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate ever false way.” (vv 127-128)

The therefore is there to put a marker down that he will keep the faith. If David did write this Psalm, he could have written it after being anointed king, but while he was on the run from Saul. That would have been fitting. Don’t you know that in the 15 or so years that he was on the run from Saul while waiting to take the throne he had to think a time or two “it is time for the Lord to act”? I know I have had things that I prayed for years for before I saw the Lord act on my behalf. But in the end, I could look back and I could see His hand sustaining me through that time. Sometimes we just have to put a marker down in our faith. I think it’s ok to cry out to the Lord, when we are tired and we are begging Him to act. There have been many mornings that my prayer journal is tear stained when I walk away from it, because I have begged the Lord to go ahead and act. And most of the time, He didn’t act in the way or the timing I wanted. But I can honestly say that pouring my heart out to Him restored my faith to keep walking it out. I can also say that when He does act it is typically not the way I thought it would play out in my mind, But it is so much better than I could ask or think. 

SAMEKH ~ Support from God’s Word! 

113 I hate the double-minded, but I love your law. 

114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. 

115 Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God. 

116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope! 

117 Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually! 

118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain. 

119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies. 

120 My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments. 

Psalm 119:113-120

The Psalmist, David has apparently come upon some double-minded people and he is realigning himself with God and His word rather than people. Double-minded people are people who will say all the right things about God and His Word and His church but they are living an entirely different way. We see them and we know them every day. Now I am not talking about people who just make mistakes and get it wrong from time to time. That’s all of us! What I’m talking about are people who are saying they are living for Jesus and yet they really have a worldly mindset. They are living a lifestyle that in no way aligns with God’s word and His commands. David is rebuking those people in his life and he is reconfirming his commitment to God and where his hope lies. 

In verse 115 he tells the evildoers to depart from him. David has realized that he can’t keep company with those who are double-minded and evildoers. There is an old saying, “Show me your friends, I will show you your future,” there is a ton of truth in that. Yes we are supposed to be in the world so that the world can see us, but we are to be in the world so as to be light to the world. If the world starts to bring you down, it is time to retreat and to realign and to know where your hope is. There are times we have to remove ourselves from some friendships and to go to God and to His word and to His people. David saw that and he was asking God to uphold him. I love how David says do not let me be put to shame IN MY HOPE! David knew that his hope was in God and he also knew that God would answer him and uphold him because that’s who God is. It’s what he does! And He does it because of who He is, not because of who we are. 

David also knew that it was up to God to handle his enemies and he recognizes that in verse 119. When he says all the wicked of the earth you discard like dross. Dross is the impurities that is refined from precious metal. When the refiner is refining the precious metals a dross appears on the surface and the refiner throws it away. David is recognizing that the wicked of the earth will be discarded like dross. We don’t have to fight our battles, God will fight for us and the wicked will eventually be discarded. 

In verse 120 David says he trembles and fears the Lord. Let’s address fear. There are two kinds. There is a godly fear, a reverent, positive fear which is what David is talking about here and there is a negative fear. A positive, Godly fear is having a respect and reverence for God that you hold Him in highest regard. A negative fear is debilitating. There is no hope in this kind of fear. I like to think of it this way too. The right kind of fear of God is really fearing ourselves and our own human frailties and it makes us run TO God because that is the only place that our hope can be found to get things right in this life. A debilitating fear, the negative fear will make us run FROM God. And it causes anxiety and depression and hopelessness. I think when David says I am afraid of your judgments it was really him being afraid of not getting it right but knowing the only way we can come close to getting it right is to stay close to the one who is Right! 

NUN ~ Never-ending Confidence in the Light of God’s Word

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 

106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules. 

107 I am severely afflicted; give me life, O Lord, according to your word! 

108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O LORD, and teach me your rules. 

109 I hold my life in my hand continually, but I do not forget your law. 

110 The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts. 

111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. 

112 I incline my heart to perform your statues forever, to the end. 

Psalm 119:105-112

I think the Psalmist was writing this passage in a way to renew his heart and his walk to the ways of God. To me I think he is recognizing that he doesn’t really know where the path of his life will take him, but he knows that his path will be illuminated one step at a time, if he keeps in step with God. He has already sworn his oath and made his commitment to follow God but he has come against trials and tribulations, afflictions that he feels are a danger to him. But he is coming to God to renew his commitment, and to ask God to teach him from His word. I think this passage is a way for the Psalmist to remind himself that he can make the oaths and the commitments but the only way to stay on the path that will illuminate as he goes his way is to keep the word of God before him. 

It’s the same for us. I know for me I have had seasons of my life where I would carry my Bible with me to church on Sunday and then it sat on a shelf from Sunday to Sunday so that I would have to knock the dust off of it to carry it to church the next week. I can say that during those seasons of my life, I may make commitments to follow God’s rules and statutes on Sunday morning. But when I did not stay in the Word during the week and keep them in my mind, there was no way that I was walking the path that the Lord would have me walk. It felt like I was just wandering through my days. I can make all the commitments and oaths to walk with Him but unless I am staying in the word my path will seem dark and I have no idea what is next for me. 

But when I stay in the word, when I make his testimonies my heritage and I incline my heart to His statutes and I study and read then my path gets lit up one step at a time. I still may not know what is on the end of the path, but I am walking in step with the guide and letting Him lead the way. Oh that is not to say that I will not falter along the way and have missteps and trip sometimes. But when I am letting Him be my guide, well then He is there, right there beside me to help me get back on track. 

MEM ~ God’s Word is Sweeter than Honey! 

97 Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. 

98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies for it is ever with me. 

99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. 

100 I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. 

101 I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. 

102 I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. 

103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 

104 Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. 

Psalm 119:97-104

This passage is a declaration of praise to God for His word! That’s truly all there is to this one. There is not a petition for God to do something. There is no plea for help or deliverance. It is simply stating the Psalmist’s, David’s, love for God’s word and how it has helped him already. David loves God’s word, he loves to meditate on it and he has gained great benefits from it. 

So this begs to ask the question of us? How do we feel about God’s word? Is it just a box we check off to say we have read it daily? Are we even reading it? Or are we just taking a snippet of a verse here and there, but only the part that would be to our benefit. I have been guilty of that in the past and if I am not careful I can fall right back into it. But I can honestly tell you that I do love God’s word! Years ago I had trouble reading the Bible. I couldn’t really understand what I was reading and it made it hard to really stick with it. And still, I dig around in other translations and commentary to make sure I am understanding what God is trying to say to me through His word. 

But my love for His word did not just happen. I had to cultivate a love for His word. First I recognized my need and desire to love God’s word. And while this may sound simple, it is true, I prayed for God to give me a love for His word. Yes, that’s right. I knew there was something there and luckily I could see people who were very normal, people like me who had a love for His word and I realized that maybe, just maybe it was possible for me to have a love like that for His word. During that time, God gave me a verse that embedded deep into my heart to show me this was possible. 

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7

When I read that verse the first time, to me it opened a new world for me. I am definitely a simple minded woman so it gave me hope that I could gain wisdom and understanding from His perfect law and testimony. I can honestly say, while I feel pretty simple minded I do understand more that I read now than I did 20 years ago. 

So then I just kept reading. And when I don’t understand, I dig in a little deeper. Oh I hear and know of people who really get it. They can read all those genealogies and get something from them. I want to be more like that. So I am not where I want to be but I am way further along than I used to be. I guess that is how we know that we will keep learning. HMMM? 

David also recognizes the benefits he has gained from studying and falling in love with God’s word. And I believe those benefits are for us as well. He has gained the wisdom and understanding that we have been talking about. Staying in the Word helps him to stay on track and to obey God’s commandments and precepts. It keeps him on solid ground. I have said it before and I will say it again, I know what a wretched woman I would be if I did not have my time with Jesus every morning and the way I meet with Him is to open up His word and to pour my heart out to Him. And then to listen. I am not as good at that part as I want to be but I guess I am still learning. 

LAMEDH ~ God is Faithful, His Word is Eternal! 

89 Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. 

90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. 

91 By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants. 

92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. 

93 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. 

94 I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts. 

95 The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies. 

96 I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

Psalm 119-89-96

Change is something that I am not necessarily a fan of. And yet, the world is ever changing isn’t it? Seasons change. Our bodies change as we grow older. Plans change. Jobs change. Nothing ever seems to stay the same and as I grow older, I realize that more and more. But there is one thing that doesn’t change. God! He is the same today as He was yesterday and He is the same today as He will be tomorrow. That’s what struck me in this passage. The Psalmist starts with the word Forever. Other translations use the words eternal and stays. The thought is the same. God’s word is forever and it will never change. The same God that breathed the scriptures into life thousands of years ago breathes those scriptures into life today. We find God in the pages of scripture just like the Psalmist did all those thousands of years ago. The same God that our ancestors worshipped is the same God that we worship. The same God that did things like part the seas and raise Jesus back to life is the same God that we worship today. In a world where everything changes I find great comfort in a God who never does. One thing is certain in this world and that is God. He endures to all generations, He established the earth and it stands to this day because He holds it in place. We pray to move the heart of God but we will never change the character of God. We will never move God’s heart in a direction that is contrary to His word. If you are praying for something that goes against God’s word it will not happen. Because God’s word is fixed, it is eternal. 

I also love how the Psalmist says “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” One thing I know in my life is that when times get tough, if I turn to God’s word to try to get to know His heart better on the matter at hand, I am somehow sustained even to the point of finding joy when I find the Father. I have been through some stuff, but I can honestly say that I have found God as I have navigated the stuff when I turn to His word. I also find out how to pray when I am going through the stuff if I keep turning to God, and I have seen His heart move when I am praying in accordance with His word. And as I learn and make His word my delight, I know He is carrying me through the stuff I am dealing with. 

The Psalmist cries out to the Lord, to save him because he is seeking God’s precepts and save He will. His deliverance may not always look like I think I want it to. And many times it doesn’t come when I think I want it to. But one thing is sure and certain is that when it comes in His time, it is better than I can think or imagine and in that I find delight as well. 

Now I took a minute extra to look at this last verse because I wanted to be sure I understood what it meant. Commentary explains it like this, we see perfection in the earth but there is a limit to it. Flowers bloom and they are perfection but they are only around for a day or two. The things of this earth are beautiful for a time, but then they change, they have a limit, they have an ending. They change. But the commandments are exceedingly broad. They never change. It is just a different way of saying what he said at the beginning of the passage. But one other thing commentary pointed out, God’s commandments are exceedingly broad because they are for everyone. It is funny how the world sees us as Christians as intolerant and closed minded but the truth is God’s word is exceedingly broad because God’s word is for them as well as for us. Anyone can turn toward God’s word it is not for the closed minded but for the broad minded. It is not limited to this person or this kind of person. It is for anyone and everyone ~ 

“and it will make us broad-minded, broad hearted, and tolerant in the best sense if we read it and obey it. It will prevent us from being tyrants over others and to tolerate and love others even when their lives and thinking are decidedly against God and His word.” David Guzik, Blue Letter Bible Commentary

KAPH ~ Keep me Safe, Preserve my life, I place my Hope in your word! 

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. 

Psalm 119:81-88

When I read this passage I can certainly identify with the Psalmist. I feel like the Psalmist, David is praying for something that maybe he feels he has been praying for for a very long time and waiting for the Lord’s deliverance, and he is wondering if and when it will ever come. In fact the NLT puts the first line this way ~ 

“I am worn out waiting for your rescue.” (v 1) 

Have you ever felt that way? I know I have. Maybe David wrote this passage at some point when he was on the run and hiding from Saul to keep him from killing him. You know David was anointed king and then he had to run from Saul for about 15 years before he actually became king. He probably became very weary of waiting for God’s rescue during that time. I can honestly tell you that there are prayers that I prayed that God sends me answers pretty quickly but there are also things I have prayed that I have had to remain faithful to and diligent in for a long time. And yes there are prayers I have prayed that have just about worn me out. Yet, we have to, just like David did, continue to remind ourselves of His promises in His word when we don’t feel as if our prayers are being answered. We have to know where to place our hope. Even when it appears that others are getting what they want, or we see evil prosper around us, or when we have come under some persecution because of our faith, we have to remember where our hope is found. 

Believe me, I know that it is hard to keep the faith sometimes. It is hard when we pray for healing and the healing doesn’t look like what we thought it would. It is hard when we pray for our finances and there always seems to be more month than there is money. It is hard when we’ve been praying for the prodigal who just seems to keep making the same decisions over and over. It is hard when we pray for the salvation of that friend or relative, who seems to have no interest in even hearing what you have to say about Jesus. And I bet it was hard for David to keep any faith at all that he would one day not be on the run from Saul and would actually be king. Yet in this Psalm David points out where his hope is and that he is going to continue to walk in the statutes of the word. David is asking for help based on the commandments of the Lord, but most of all, David ends asking of the Lord to help him, based on the Lord’s lovingkindness, not because of anything David has done. 

So my friends, that thing you have been praying for, that child, the finances, the healing, whatever it is that you have had on your prayer list for a long time, keep hoping, keep walking it out, keep trusting and living according to the law. And Lord, we pray ~ 

In your steadfast love, give us life, that we may keep your testimonies!

YODH ~ Confidence in the Creator and His Word! 

73 Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. 

74 Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word. 

75 I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. 

76 Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. 

77 Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight. 

78 Let the insolent be put to shame because they have wronged me with falsehood; as for me, I will meditate on your precepts. 

79 Let those who fear you turn to me, that they may know your testimonies. 

80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes, that I may not be put to shame! 

In this passage the Psalmist, David is asking for understanding of the commandments, or rather the word of God. And he is also hoping that others will see his faithfulness to God and that they will be encouraged by it as well. David is again recognizing that he trusts and his desire is to obey God’s righteous rules. And he is also finding ways to rejoice in his afflictions because it is the very thing that turned his heart back to God. This passage has recognized God as our creator and also that God is the one who gives us understanding of His word. I know for me, I used to open the Bible and I would wonder what I was reading. And there are still times that I really don’t grasp what God is saying to me. But this is when I pray fervently for understanding of His word. And I keep digging. And He reveals something to me. But I wonder if one of the reasons we will never have full understanding of His word is so that we will keep digging, that we will keep coming back. I want to learn more and more about God until the day I take my last breath. I want to keep praying and asking Him for understanding so that I may keep learning. And while doing so, I pray that others will see me and that they will be encouraged to hope in His word too. 

The next few verses are a plea from David. I love that they start with “Let”. This is David asking God for His love and His mercy. He also asks God to put to shame those who have wronged him. When others are constantly coming against you and you know they are in the wrong and you are doing your best to live rightly, it is certainly ok to pray that they will be put to shame because of their falsehoods. But you also must be careful with this prayer, I think. You need to be sure to clean up around your own back door first. That is why David ends this passage with, may my heart be blameless, that I may not be put to shame. If someone is constantly slandering and harassing you, you can pray that their insults will turn on themselves. I am reminded that Nehemiah did that.

“Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives.” Neh. 4:4

Nehemiah was following God and was rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem and there were a couple of guys who were not happy about it, but instead of getting into an incident with them, Nehemiah prayed for the Lord to handle it for him. Oh how much better things are if we just pray for the Lord to handle our oppressors rather than get into things with them ourselves. That is what I pray. If you are following God and doing your best to live in what He has taught you to live, you are following Him, then you won’t be put to shame, and you can pray for those who may come against you to be put to shame, but let’s pray that it will be a godly shame that will turn their hearts to the Lord.