Psalm 119.81-88 (5)
Pray Psalm 119.87.
They almost made an end of me on earth,
But I did not forsake Your precepts.
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.
Read Psalm 119.81-88; meditate on verse 87.
1. How serious were his enemies’ attacks?
2. What kept him going?
How bad can persecution get?
Those who persecute the followers of Christ will go as far as they can to be rid of us. In some countries of the world, being a Christian means being under a perpetual death sentence, to be carried out when it suits the whims of the enemies of the faith.
Are you ready to hold fast to the Word of God and your faith in Christ, even to the end?
On a more practical note, the devil and his minions want to rob you of the full and abundant life of Jesus every moment of every day. They suggest alternatives to following His Word, offer opportunities for self-indulgence, and urge us on to seek our own interests rather than those of the Lord. Their objective is to keep us from that fullness of joy that overflows in witness for the Lord. The power we need for resisting their attacks is in the Word (precepts, Law, commandments, judgments, testimonies) of the Lord.
Cling to the Word (v. 31). Delight in it (v. 35). Long for it (v. 40). Trust it; hope in it; seek to know more of it (vv. 42-45). Always remember it (vv. 52, 61, 83). Hang out with those who fear the Lord (v. 63). Remember all His goodness to you and the goodness promised in His Word (vv. 65-72). Learn as much as you can from Him (vv. 73, 82).
Do not forsake God’s Word, and it will keep you even to the point of – and if necessary, beyond – death (v. 87).
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Grieved. Our psalmist is feeling the awful pain of betrayal, of being lied about, of having his love rejected, and of feeling like the end is near. And if it isn’t near, he would prefer that it would be. His spirits are down. He is depressed. And sad. The only thing that gives him hope is the Word of God.
He knows that “every word of God is pure” and that “He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him” (Prov. 30.5). And that is exactly where he is turning for help.
When we are in the same situation, feeling sad and almost done in, there are some truths we know that will help us to cope with the troubles we face.
“He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD” (Prov. 17.15). It helps to know that God dislikes our enemies’ behavior as much as we do.
“Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them” (Prov. 28.4).
We are contending with evil people, simply when we keep God’s Law.
“An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, and he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked” (Prov. 29.27). Again, just keeping the Law of God is a way for us to contend with our enemies; and we can be an abomination too.
Life can be very difficult. We have been warned by our Savior Jesus that it would be: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16.33). But oh my, it is hard when those troubles come.
Jesus never preached an “easy life” or a “health and wealth gospel”. He warned us to count the cost. He said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Lk. 9.23).
But He also wanted us to know that He would be with us, to help us carry the heavy load that life sometimes dumps on us. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11.28-30).
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” (Is. 53.4).
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Ps. 23.5, 6).
We are invited to a dinner party with the LORD. A true abomination to our enemies! Hold on to God’s Word. It is the best way to contend with the wicked.
1. What is it about the Word of God that makes it so helpful in dealing with trials and afflictions?
2. Why do we need our fellow believers to help us in our times of trial?
3. What can you do, day by day, to make sure you will trust in God’s Word at all times?
… this wonderful strength of the prophet is worthy of more special notice, who, although almost reduced to death, yet never ceased to revive his courage by continual meditation on the law. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.87
Pray Psalm 119.81-86.
Call on the Lord to strengthen you, soul and body, for His service today. Set your day before Him, and call on Him to bless you with Kingdom progress. Put on the whole armor of God to fight against spiritual forces of wickedness in high places.
(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.
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!
T. M. and Susie Moore
You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, 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.
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.