Psalm 119.73-80 (3)
Pray Psalm 119.75.
I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
Sing Psalm 119.75, 76.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want)
Your judgments all are right, I know; You judge me faithfully.
Let kindness be my comfort so Your mercy I may see.
Your grace Your faithful servant show, as You have promised me.
Read Psalm 119.73-80; meditate on verse 75.
1. What did the psalmist claim to know?
2. Why did God “afflict” him?
In our day, as many have noted, language is being subjected to a certain abasement. A kind of Gresham’s Law of language is at work, by which sloppy or improper use of words and language is replacing careful and precise use. In the Church, for example, we bandy about certain evangelical terms – disciple, praise, glory, Kingdom, faith, good works, and so forth – as though we really understand what they mean. But our careless overuse of these words has emptied them of all meaning save that which we as individuals recognize.
The same has happened in a broader sense with the word, “know”. These days, “know” refers to a kind of tenuous intellectual state, a possessing of certain knowledge about a situation or thing. We also use it in everyday conversation to make sure people are understanding what we say: “Ya know?” Knowing something has, in many ways, been emptied of all objective reality and made a purely subjective disposition, and the effect of this has been to cast doubt on the ability to know anything really.
But the psalmist insisted, “I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right” (that is, righteous). What did he mean? In Biblical terms, to know something is not only to acquire it as a bit of information but to prove it in everyday practice. The psalmist knew the judgments of God because he read and meditated on them, to hide them in his heart (vv. 9-11). He knew them to be righteous because they exposed his own sin and showed him the path he must walk in life (vv. 59, 60). And he knew the judgments of God because they proved righteous in his daily experience.
Thus, God acts in faithfulness – or truthfulness, perhaps – to Himself when He afflicts us for straying from His righteous path (Heb. 12.3-11). God’s faithfulness to His Word helps us to prove its power for righteousness as we confess our sin, repent and return to the Lord, and walk the path of righteousness marked out in His Law.
We know the Law when we understand and embrace it (mind, heart), set it as the standard for our decisions and actions (conscience), and live it out faithfully in all our words and deeds (vv. 55, 56).
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The psalmist knew that God was right about everything. God’s judgments were right. Always. God is good. Always. And God afflicts us, to teach us, to guide us; and so that we will learn His Word.
The psalmist has already told us that “before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep” God’s Word. (Ps. 119.67) Then he told us, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn” God’s statutes. (Ps. 119.71) And now he is saying, “I know that” God’s judgments are right, and “that in faithfulness” He has afflicted me. (Ps. 119.75)
He knew. He believed. He trusted. He learned.
Job knew something that enabled him to survive and thrive during his afflictions: “I know that my Redeemer lives…” (Job 19.25).
Paul knew something that helped him through his sufferings: “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1.12).
And here is something that we know because Christ dwells in our hearts through faith; and we are rooted and grounded in love, so that we are able to comprehend with all the saints “what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that [we] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3.17-19). And this knowledge carries us through the afflictions that we face.
And here are some other things that we know:
“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 Jn. 2.3).
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 Jn. 3.16).
“Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” 1 Jn. 3.24).
“We know that we are of God…and we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.
This is the true God and eternal life” (1 Jn. 5.19, 20).
He chastens us “for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness” (Heb. 12.10). Ya know? Amazing.
1. What does it mean to say that you “know” God’s Word?
2. How would you counsel a new believer to work at “knowing” God’s Word?
3. Whom will you encourage today to press on in the knowledge of the Lord and His Word?
The knowledge of which the prophet speaks, is a sure evidence of his having made a strict and earnest examination of himself; for, had he not well weighed his own guilt, he could not by assured experience have learned the righteousness of God in his afflictions. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.75
Pray Psalm 119.77, 78.
Call on the Lord to help you know and experience more of the righteousness of His Word today as you make the most of your time and work your Personal Mission Field unto the Lord.
Sing Psalm 119.77, 78.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want)
Your tender mercies come to me that I may live in You.
Your Law I ponder joyfully, Your will to know and do.
Shame all who treat me wrongfully; Your precepts I pursue.
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.