Psalm 119.73-80 (7)
Pray Psalm 119.75-77.
I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort,
According to Your word to Your servant.
Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live;
For Your law is my delight.
Sing Psalm 119.75-78.
(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.
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.
Read Psalm 119.73-80; meditate on verse 75.
1. What two things did the psalmist know?
2. What did this tell him about God?
What stands out to me in this yod stanza are the verbs the psalmist uses to describe his commitment to the Word of God: learn, hope, know, delight (in a noun form), fear, and meditate. These are all related to the psalmist’s approach to God’s Law and his approach to his life (cf. vv. 75, 77, 80). The strongest verb in this stanza is “know”, יָדַ֣עְתִּי, ya-da-TEE). Knowing something with confidence is the fruit of these other verbs, and it gives rise to consistency in living for the Lord.
Note how this verb is pointed both at the “judgments” of God – His Law and all His Word – as well as at the psalmist himself (“I know…that in faithfulness You have afflicted me”). In his Institutes, John Calvin makes the point that knowledge of God and knowledge of man are never very far apart. This is what we see in verse 75, where the psalmist declares he has come to know God both in His Word and in His dealings.
We only really know ourselves and our world when we see them in the light of God’s Word, and as we bring our lives into line with His teaching. Such knowing derives from and involves all the other verbs in this stanza. By seeking the Lord in meditation and delighting to learn of Him, we increase in hope and the fear of the Lord, which leads to knowledge (Prov. 1.7). In the knowledge of the Lord we live without shame, for we delight in Him and His way, and we are companions with others who share the knowledge and fear of the Lord.
It’s appropriate that, here, near the middle of this psalm, the psalmist reaches back to the use of these and similar verbs in previous stanzas and points forward to their further elaboration in stanzas to come. He’s reminding us of what it means to know the Lord and what we must do to arrive at that state.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
We have no problem singing with gusto about God’s faithfulness to us:
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father, there is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not; as Thou has been Thou forever wilt be.
But can we sing with the same enthusiasm about His faithfulness in judgments, and His afflicting us because of what He finds?
I’m sure we should, because as we know, He chastens those whom He loves (Heb. 12.6). And His faithfulness knows no bounds.
“Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments…” (Deut. 7.9)
Our God, “…the Holy One who is faithful” (Hos. 11.12).
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1.9).
“He who calls you is faithful…” (1 Thess. 5.24).
His faithfulness goes beyond human reasoning or understanding. When He looks and sees that we need to be chastened for our sins, He provides the way to forgiveness for us. He gave us Jesus, as the Perfect-Keeper of the Law, to pay the price for our sins. Then He is faithful to forgive us when we confess our sins to Him (1 Jn. 1.9).
The psalmist knew, and I know, that His judgments are right and that in His faithful loving faithfulness, He has seen fit to afflict me for my own good.
The writer of the book of Hebrews has shared a helpful way for us to think about this truth. He said, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” And then he pushes the point out beyond us to our Personal Mission Field: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works…” (Heb. 10.23, 24).
All that happens in, to, and through us, has a point. In God’s economy nothing is ever wasted. We know that we sin. We find this out daily as we meditate in God’s Law. God is faithful to afflict us and to move us forward, to give us hope, that we can delight to be more like Jesus. And who benefits from all these verbs—learn, hope, know, delight, fear, and meditate? We do. Others do. For in all this we are living out the Law. (Matt. 22.37-40).
All of God’s faithfulness is good. Even the kind that doesn’t have a hymn to immortalize it.
1. Why is it a good thing that God is faithful to His Word? What are the implications of His faithfulness for you?
2. What is the relationship between the words “learn”, “know”, and “hope”? How do these apply to our study of God’s Word?
3. Whom will you encourage today to know the Lord, learn His Law, meditate in His Word, or hope in faithfulness?
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 119.73, 74, 79, 80.
Ask the Lord to let You know His Presence throughout this day, to know the path He would have you walk, and to know in your heart that loving and serving Him is the source of great joy. Whom will you encourage today in the knowledge of the Lord and His Word?
Sing Psalm 119.73, 74, 79, 80.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want)
Your hands have made and fashioned me, teach me Your Law, O Lord!
All those who fear You, when they see me will obey Your Word.
Full gladly they will hope like me, as I hope in Your Word.
Let those who fear You turn to me, all those who love Your Word.
Let my heart pure and blameless be before Your statutes, Lord!
That shame may not attach to me, I hold fast to Your Word!
T. M. and Susie Moore
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What is the Law of God and how should we learn and obey it? Two books can help. The Law of God arranges the statutes and precepts of God’s Law under their appropriate number of the Ten Commandments. This book is an excellent tool for meditating on God’s Law and thinking about its application in our time. The Ground for Christian Ethics, on the other hand, explains why the Law matters and how we are to use it. You can order free copies of each of these here and here.
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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.