Psalm 119.81-88 (1)
Pray Psalm 119.81, 82.
My soul faints for Your salvation,
But I hope in Your word.
My eyes fail from searching Your word,
Saying, “When will You comfort me?”
(Ripley: Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah, O My Soul)
My soul faints for Your salvation – but my hope is in Your Word!
I have searched Your Word with patience seeking comfort from You, Lord.
Like a wineskin, Lord, You test me; I am withered with despair!
Let Your statutes my sweet rest be as I call on You in prayer.
Read Psalm 119.81-88; meditate on verses 81, 82.
1. How did the psalmist come to be?
2. To what end did he exist?
As we begin the כ (kaph) stanza we find the psalmist nearly worn out from seeking the Lord! Clearly, the psalmist is in distress. He’s seeking relief. He pines for the comfort of the Lord. He longs to know more of the Lord’s salvation. This seems serious. The psalmist is fainting in soul and failing in body. He is disturbed and distressed.
What could be the cause of such stressful and debilitating seeking? We will learn the answer to that in the verses that follow.
But here let’s just note that, while we may not face what the psalmist was experiencing, we are always subject to attacks against our soul which can bring our Kingdom lives to a crawl. Let’s learn from the psalmist that, whatever we must face, however many foes may array against us, our hope is in the Word of the Lord. He will never fail nor forsake us, and His Word is sufficient to sustain and equip us, come what may (v. 81). He has given us a great salvation, and though we must work at knowing more of it (v. 82), there will always be more to know (Heb. 2.3; Phil. 2.12; Eph. 3.20).
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.16.
Just when we think we have come to the peak of the crisis and are ready to slide down to the finish, something else happens to our psalmist that throws him into another fit of despair. So typical. So like us! Thank You, Lord, that your word is full of real people.
His soul was “fainting” for the salvation of God, and he was still putting all his “hope” in the Word of God. Then he added that his eyes were “failing” from all the “searching” in this Word, looking for “comfort”. (Ps. 119. 81, 82) We grieve with him. We grieve with ourselves when we are in the same situation.
What is our initial response to him when we read of his dilemma? What is our initial response to ourselves?
Here are some things we know about people: “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Prov. 24.10). “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?” (Jer. 12.5) “…we are dust” (Ps. 103.13, 14).
Here is something we know about God: “The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths will faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Is. 40.28-31).
Here is something God wants us to know when we are feeling discouraged: “Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you” (Deut. 20.3, 4).
Let us not grow weary when looking for the comfort of God. He knows that we daily face a bitter enemy: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5.8).
And what are we to do when faced with this enemy who wants most of all to blow us off the right path? “Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Pet. 5.9).
And what words of comfort and encouragement spur us on to hope? “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, prefect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet. 5.10, 11).
Salvation that encompasses all the fainting, hoping, searching, and comfort—there and then, here and now!
1. The psalmist was feeling weary in soul and body. What makes you feel that way?
2. But he continued hoping in the Word of God. When you are down, what Scriptures do you turn to to focus on Jesus and strengthen you through your time of weariness? Why these in particular?
3. How can you prepare your heart and mind each day to take on whatever enemies might confront you?
The psalmist sought deliverance from his sins, his foes, and his fears. Hope deferred made him faint; his eyes failed by looking out for this expected salvation. But when the eyes fail, yet faith must not. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.81, 82
Pray Psalm 119.87, 88.
Ask the Lord to prepare you for any temptations or attacks from spiritual forces of wickedness in high places. Seek mercy and grace for revival in your soul and strength, so that you can keep God’s Word.
Psalm 119.87, 88.
(Ripley: Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah, O My Soul)
For my foes would make an end to my existence on the earth.
Yet Your precepts I befriend to know the greatness of their worth.
In Your kindness, Lord revive me! In Your love, restore my soul!
Let Your Word in me alive be; I will keep it well and whole.
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.