Righteous are You, O LORD,
And upright are Your judgments.
Your testimonies, which You
Are righteous and very faithful.
My zeal has consumed me,
Because my enemies have forgotten
Your word is very pure;
Therefore Your servant loves it.
I am small and despised,
Yet I do not forget Your precepts.
Your righteousness is
an everlasting righteousness.
And Your law is truth.
Trouble and anguish have overtaken me,
Yet Your commandments are my delights.
The righteousness of Your
testimonies is everlasting;
Give me understanding and I shall live.
It’s back to school time again. Well, actually it was back to school almost a month ago, but for some reason it seems like life continues to be hectic and unpredictable rather than falling into a manageable routine. And when I am most tired it seems like conflict is a ready companion, bringing new trials and difficulty into my life. Maybe you can relate to what I have been feeling this past month. But what can we do, when we feel like we are running on empty, and our reserves are completely depleted? Is there something we can depend on to give us confidence in the face of rejection, pleasure in the face of overwhelming distress, and wisdom in the face of trials? The Psalmist answers these questions in this 13th stanza of Psalm 119. God’s righteousness, faithfulness, and wisdom are all reflected in His word, which bears the same characteristics. When everything around us is in chaos, His word remains the solid foundation on which we can rely, and a source of strength and hope to continue on. Let’s consider the Psalmist’s words more closely:
God’s word is consistent with his character – both are righteous, eternal, and faithful. When our efforts to convince others of the truth of God’s word are met with hard hearts we may become indignant, but we must not forget that His word remains even when all men turn away. We have not failed when men reject the truth from our lips, for we are simply messengers, showing others God’s holiness and faithful love through His word. As Jesus told his disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) And so we can be confident that, as God’s servants, we will be despised for His name’s sake. The Psalmist knew what it was to be despised and mocked, yet he found delight in the pure and unchanging word of God, which he loved. It is only when we desperately cling to God’s word that we can find pleasure in the midst of conflict, not because we enjoy conflict, but because God has given us a sure foundation. And finally, when life’s trials seem insurmountable, we can find in His word the wisdom to see our troubles from God’s perspective, and to continue on, trusting in His everlasting righteousness. Can we say, with the Psalmist, “I love Your word because it is pure. I remember Your word when others despise and reject me. I delight in Your word when I am overcome with trouble and distress. And I can continue to live for You, as long as You grant me wisdom from Your perfect and unchanging word.”