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The Scriptorium

You Can Count on That

Three things. Psalm 119.86

Psalm 119.81-88 (4)

Pray Psalm 119.86.
Your commandments are faithful;
They persecute me wrongfully;
Help me!

Psalm 119.84-86.
Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah, O My Soul)
Lord, how long, what shall my days be? When will You Your judgment toll?
Let my enemies disgraced be, those who persecute my soul.
All the proud dig pits to slay me, and they persecute me strong!
Let Your Word my strength and stay be: Help me, Lord, receive my song!

Read Psalm 119.81-88; meditate on verse 86.


1. What did the psalmist confess in this prayer?

2. Why was he seeking from the Lord?

In this life we will have tribulation, Jesus explained (Jn. 16.33). Paul wrote that we only realize more of the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God through persecution (Acts 14.22). John identified himself as a co-sufferer with us in the tribulations we must endure as citizens of the Kingdom of God (Rev. 1.9). Our psalmist has been dealing with persecution throughout Psalm 119, as we have seen. Our brothers and sisters in Christ in other lands know persecution in ways we have not yet had to confront. Nevertheless, we know daily persecution from spiritual forces of wickedness, which confront us with lies, doubts, temptations, distractions, and troubles of various kinds.

You can count on it every day. Stay alert (1 Pet. 5.7, 8). Dress for battle (Eph. 6.10-20).

But even more reliable than persecution is the faithful Word of God – His Law, the Prophets and Wisdom literature, the Old Testament histories, the gospels, Acts, the epistles, Revelation. All faithful. All unfailing. All rich with precious and very great promises and the Presence of the very Word of God Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ. All ready to refresh and renew your soul and strengthen your body to glorify God in everything you do.

You can count on the Word of God. Go to it daily (Ps. 1). Rejoice to feed on it (Jer. 15.16).

And cry out to God for help. Be open and honest about your needs. Bank on Him and His Word. Invest your hopes, desires, needs, and longings in the Lord’s Word, and wait on Him in prayer to lift you above the fray and bring you into His peace (Phil. 4.6, 7).

You can count on Him to hear your prayers (Jer. 33.3). And to give you mercy and grace for all your times of need (Heb. 4.16).

Persecution cannot prevail against the Word of God and the prayers of His people. And yes, you can count on that, too.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Three dots, three dashes, three dots—the international Morse Code for the distress signal, SOS, to indicate dire trouble and an urgent need of rescue.

That is what the psalmist is sending out in this verse. Only the distress signal is being sent to God. “My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121.2).

In previous verses the psalmist has owned up to his faults, confessed them, and turned his feet in a different direction. “I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies. I made haste, and did not delay to keep Your commandments” (Ps. 119.59, 60).

But now he is pleading with God to rescue him because he is being persecuted wrongfully. And he cries out,
“Help me!” (Ps. 119.86) As David prayed in Psalm 109. 1-5:
“Do not keep silent, O God of my praise! For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful have opened against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause. In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer. Thus they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.”

The apostle Paul also suffered much from trials, physical pain and affliction, and false accusers. He sent out many an SOS to God throughout his time on earth, and his words of teaching and comfort are helpful for us as we sort through our own troubled situations:
1. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10.13).
2. Jesus said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” And then Paul responded with these words of faith and courage, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12.9-11).

Is it truly possible to be glad about our troubles, or at least experience peace through them? Paul would answer yes. And if he answered yes, then it is possible for us to answer in the same way (1 Cor. 11.1).

For God does not show partiality… “in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10.34, 35). And those who believe in Him are “all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2.4). We all have access to the same Spirit, and to the same amount of the Spirit, “for God does not give the Spirit by measure” (Jn. 3.34). For the Kingdom of God is full of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14.17). So, whatever worked for Paul, can surely work for us. We are filled with the same Spirit and the same amount of the Spirit. We can be victorious in the face of persecution.

As Jesus assured us, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jn. 14.26 27).

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, is in us and with us, to rescue us and help us. To give us courage and peace. On that truth we can depend.

For reflection
1. Three certainties are mentioned in verse 86. What are they, and how do you experience these?

2. How do prayer and the Word of God work to sustain us in times of trial?

3. What is our duty toward our fellow believers who are going through affliction?

In this verse he again confirms the statement, That, in whatever ways he was afflicted, his mind had not been distracted by various devices, because, trusting in the word of God, he never doubted of his assistance. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.86

Pray Psalm 119.81-83.
Pray for a greater measure of God’s salvation today – that you might realize, in every area of your life, how good and faithful is God, and how reliable is His Word.

Psalm 119.81-83.
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.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Psalm 119 by clicking 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.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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