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The Scriptorium

Staying on Top

We don't have to crumble under trials. Psalm 119.143

Psalm 119.137-144 (5)

Pray Psalm 119.143.
Trouble and anguish have overtaken me,
Yet Your commandments are my delights.

Psalm 119.142, 143.
(Divinum Mysterium:
Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
For Your righteousness, O God my Lord, ever after will endure;
and Your Law is truth, like all Your Word – righteous, holy, just, and pure!
Trouble overtakes me for Your Name, O Lord,
yet Your Word is ever sure
and Your grace my soul will cure.

Read Psalm 119.137-144; meditate on verse 143.


1. What was the psalmist experiencing?

2. How did he respond?

We cannot avoid adversity, difficulty, disappointment, setbacks, injuries, or trials. Indeed, we are promised that we shall know plenty of this in our journey with the Lord (Jn. 16.33) and as we seek deeper immersion in His Kingdom (Acts 14.22).

We must not put our trust in agreeable conditions or pleasant circumstances. Looking to these for peace, happiness, and contentment will always lead to disappointment. Instead, we can find delight in the commandments of God and in all His Word (Ps. 119.92).

How do the commandments of God bring delight?

First, because they are from God, and therefore we can know they are sure, unfailing, right, and just, and that they are intended for our good, that we may live full and abundant lives (Lev. 18.4, 5).

Second, and perhaps even more important, because God’s commandments are His Word, He speaks through them to us. We hear the very voice of God in all His Word and are thus assured of His Presence with us. He is sovereign and loves us. He does all things well and works all things according to the counsel of His holy and perfect will. And He makes all things work together for our good.

Thus, when trouble and anguish threaten, set your delight on God and His commandments and not on your circumstances. Remember His Word and promises and rejoice in them and in Him. Like Jesus on the cross, look to the joy set down before you in the Word of God, give thanks, seek the beauty of the Lord in His Word, and delight with rejoicing in Him.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Trouble and anguish are more easily coped with when we acknowledge that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are our ways His ways (Is. 55.8). In His divine plan, these difficult opportunities are a means for us to do His will, and to trust Him even during terrible trials. We also believe they can be used for good, by those of us who love Him (Rom. 8.28). This is sometimes hard to fathom even though it is true. But to delight in Him and His Word is a first step toward the realization of staying on top of our troubles.

Habakkuk realized the truth of this and wrote beautifully describing it:
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;
though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food;
though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and
there be no herd in the stalls—yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3.17, 18).

Habakkuk knew how to stay on top of his troubles.
Rejoicing in God and His Word was the key to his victory.

“Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, yet Your commandments are my delights” (Ps. 119.143).
“His delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Ps. 1.2).
“I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (Ps. 40.8).
“Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it” (Ps. 119.35).
“I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I love” (Ps. 119.47).
“I long for Your salvation, O LORD, and Your law is my delight” (Ps. 119.174).
“For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man” (Rom. 7.22).

The easy way out is to succumb to the turmoil; but God has a better plan for us: “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jer. 29.11 NIV).

When we embrace and delight in that Word, it shines a new light, a Jesus-with-us Light, on trouble and anguish.

For reflection

1. How would you counsel a new believer to begin delighting in God’s Word?

2. How does delighting in God’s Word help us stay on top when troubles and trials come?

3. What should you do, when troubles or trials beset, to make sure you keep your focus on Jesus and the Word of God?

when distressed and tormented, he affirms that he finds in the law of God the most soothing delight, which mitigates all griefs, and not only tempers their bitterness, but also seasons them with a certain sweetness. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.143

Pray Psalm 119.139-141.
Spread your day out before the Lord in prayer. Commit each activity or task to His glory, and call on Him to prepare the way for you by His Word.

Psalm 119.139-141.
(Divinum Mysterium:
Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
Zeal consumes me for Your Word, O Lord, for my foes forsake Your ways.
Yet Your Word is very, very pure, and I keep it all my days.
I am small and I am much despised, O Lord,
yet Your holy Name I praise,
and Your precepts guide my ways.

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.

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.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

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.
Books by T. M. Moore

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