Psalm 119.89-96 (3)
Pray Psalm 119.92, 93.
Unless Your law had been my delight,
I would then have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have given me life.
(Finlandia: Be Still, My Soul)
Unless Your Law had been my great delight, I would have perished when affliction came.
I will Your precepts ever keep in sight, for by them I have life - I praise Your Name!
Lord, I am Yours, deliver me from night! I seek Your precepts for Your praise and fame.
Read Psalm 119.89-96; meditate on verses 92, 93.
1. What was the psalmist’s attitude toward God’s Law?
2. How did the Law of God (precepts) serve him?
Full and abundant life comes only by the Holy Spirit working with the Word of God (Jn. 6.63). And this full and abundant life consists in knowing Jesus and the Father (Jn. 10.10; 14.6; 17.3). In this unreal world of getting-and-spending, looking out for #1, and trying to stay one step ahead of trouble, people want what we have in Jesus – peace, forgiveness, beauty, goodness, wisdom, safety, and joy. Real life.
But the god of this unreal world of lies and wrong belief distracts and diverts people to vain idols and false hopes (2 Cor. 4.3, 4; Rom. 1.21-25). Instead of seeing in us the full and abundant life they desire – which, alas, is as much our fault as theirs – they mock, scorn, threaten, and even persecute us.
How can we bear up under such affliction? The psalmist tells us: Delight in the Law of God and always remember His precepts. Rejoice to belong to Him, to know the real world of God’s heavenly Kingdom coming to earth in and through us unto His glory. This is life, Spirit-and-Word-engendered life. And though some of us may perish through the afflictions foisted upon us – as have many of our fellow believers, past and present – still, not even death can rob us of the life we have in God and His Word.
Here is another example of how Hebrew poetry works. The structure of these two verses is A B A B, where A = delighting in and remembering God’s Word (vv. 92a and 93a) and B = affliction in our life (vv. 92b and 93b). The more we delight in God’s Law, the more we will remember it. When affliction comes – of whatever sort – God’s Law will keep us in the life He intends for us as His Spirit works with His Word. These poetic devices serve both to enrich the message of the passage and to imprint it more firmly in our soul.
Delight. Remember. Live. It’s as simple as that. The poetry of real life.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Unless. The Cambridge Dictionary makes a mighty effort to define this word by saying it is used to say what will or will not happen if something else does or does not happen or is not true; except if…
In many respects, the word sums up our state as human beings without the grace and mercy of God.
“Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction” (Ps. 119.92).
“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Ps. 127.1).
“I would have lost heart,
unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Ps. 27.13).
“Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence” (Ps. 94.17).
Unless we believe the Word of God, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, we will not have life in His Name (Jn. 20.31).
Unless we accept the forgiveness that is ours through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we will not receive the gift of eternal life (Is. 64.6; Jn. 3.16; 1 Jn. 1.9; Rom. 5.8).
Unless we choose to live for Him, all the good works He has planned for us to do will go undone (Eph. 2.8-10).
Unless we remember His Law, we will forget and forfeit the life He has given us (Ps. 119.93).
A lot is riding on whether we will or will not delight in God’s Law.
1. How would you explain to a new believer what it means to delight in God’s Word?
2. How does delighting in God’s Law, and all His Word, help us in remembering it?
3. Why is it so very important that we always remember God’s Word?
We may make the Bible a pleasant companion at any time. But the word, without the grace of God, would not quicken us. See the best help for bad memories, namely, good affection; and though the exact words be lost, if the meaning remain, that is well. I am thine, not my own, not the world’s; save me from sin, save me from ruin. The Lord will keep the man in peace, whose mind is stayed on him. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.89-96
Pray Psalm 119.95, 96.
Ask God to grant you a greater measure of salvation this day, to protect you against all adversity or temptation, and to allow you to see Jesus in glory more clearly and consistently (Col. 3.1-3).
Psalm 119.95, 96.
(Finlandia: Be Still, My Soul)
The wicked lie in wait to trouble me, but to Your testimonies I will cling!
In them perfection I delight to witness, to know the peace and joy to me they bring.
Your holy Word is broad exceedingly; my faith, my trust, my hope in You I sing!
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.