You are righteous, Lord,(Ps. 119:137-144 NIV)
and your laws are right.
The statutes you have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.
My zeal wears me out,
for my enemies ignore your words.
Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them.
Though I am lowly and despised,
I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is everlasting
and your law is true.
Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands give me delight.
Your statutes are always righteous;
give me understanding that I may live.
Having a regular habit of reading and studying God’s word does not leave us immune from trouble. In the face of trouble the Psalmist commits himself to God’s word. He acknowledges that God is righteous and because God is righteous, God’s law is righteous. We need to remember that God’s word reveals His righteous character. The only view that we can have of God is what God chooses to reveal in His word. We need to take the whole revelation from God, and the balanced view of God is the biblical view of God. When people are faced with the concept of the wrath of God and what God says He will do with sinners, some people say, ‘I don’t think that God would do that because I believe that God is a God of love.’ Others have said. ‘If that is what God is like I wouldn’t want to serve Him.’ The problem here is that we can create a god in our own image and worship that idea of God. We worship the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit who has revealed Himself through His word. We have no right to choose what part of the revelation we want to believe.
What God has given us in His word is altogether righteous and totally trustworthy. The Psalmist’s enemies are those who have broken God’s covenant. Zeal and enthusiasm can wear you out in the face of the activities of those who want to disrupt the work of the Lord. The enemies know the word of God but they totally ignore it.
Experience in life and the experience of others have shown the Psalmist that God’s promises are fully trustworthy. Not one of God’s promises has ever failed. They have been thoroughly tested in the lives of God’s people. Again, the Psalmist takes the position of God’s servant and he says that he loves God’s promises.
It is one thing to take the position of a servant before the Lord, but what happens to us when other people treat us like a servant? The Psalmist is lowly and despised. His reputation is not admired by others, but that will not distract him from God’s word.
The despisers will come and go, but the righteousness of the Lord is eternal and God’s word is true. You can never satisfy the despisers, that is what they do – despise – but their reign is short lived. The Psalmist is investing his thoughts in that which is eternal.
Trouble and distress has come into his life but his delight is in the law of the Lord. The sweetness of God’s word cannot be taken from us.
Once more the Psalmist seeks new understanding of God’s word that he might live. The Psalmist wants to live well. It is unlikely that he will ever be free from trouble and distress, but also he will never be without the word of God. The word of God helps us put all things in perspective.
Lord we thank You that the Psalms reveal a whole range of emotions. Whatever our state of mind or heart, help us to draw consolation from Your word. Guide us whether through joy or sorrow, or through weakness or strength and help us to truly be Your servants, for Christ our Saviour’s sake, in whose name we pray. Amen.