Trouble in the world is a fact of life. This is true for the believer and for the unbeliever. The wicked have no interest in, nor respect for God’s Law (Ps 119:53). All day long, the natural man relies upon himself to fulfill his dream, of gaining the whole world (Mt 16:26; Mk 8:36; Lk 9:25). He puffs himself up with knowledge (1 Cor 8:1), and he congratulates himself, on what he has decided are his good works (Is 64:6).
Imagining himself to be good, the natural man has found no reason to seek God (Rom 3:10–12). He is right in his own eyes, and he does whatever he thinks is right for him (Dt 12:8; Judg 17:6). The inclination of his heart and mind is to look inward (Gen 6:5; Eph 4:17), which is an idea supported by psychology and philosophy.
Psalm 119 reveals how important the Word of God is to the believer. Obviously, the Scriptures are outside of the believer, as they are for the unbeliever. The Word of God is to be taken in by the Christian, however (Ps 34:8; 1 Cor 11:24). As a motorized vehicle needs fuel from outside, so a Christian needs the Word to fuel his pilgrimage.
Christian hope rests in God’s promises, and it is a comfort to the child of God to recount these before the Lord in prayer (119:49). God makes His slaves to have hope in Him, alone (Col 1:27). Their future is entirely in God’s sovereign wisdom and power (1 Cor 1:24).
With minds set on the things above (Col 3:2), the saint becomes less concerned for the endless troubles in the world (Jn 16:33), and her concern is now for her journey to glory (Mt 7:13–14). Afflictions have been prepared, but this is only for the Word to have its preserving effect (119:50). Suffering aids the Christian by reducing affections for the things of the world (1 Jn 2:15–17). Suffering also drives the child of God to her heavenly Father, who cares for her (1 Pet 5:7). The vast array of afflictions is too many to discuss here, but one is prevalent in the pilgrim’s journey.
The more identifiable the Christian, the greater the likelihood exists that he will be derided by arrogant unbelievers (119:51; Mt 5:11). Self-made men are cruel, especially when their prowess, in the devil’s world system, is apparent to all. Implicit or explicit competition drives the lust of “world changers,” which is altruistic marketing jargon for the former, “world beaters.”
The Christian’s victory is apprehended by faith in Christ (1 Jn 5:4). He must not work for this achievement (Rom 4:5), but he only trusts in the finished work of Christ on the cross (Acts 16:31; Rom 3:25), and His ongoing work of sending grace to His chosen people (Eph 2:8–9). The Christian is learning to walk in the narrow way (Mt 7:13–14), and she loathes the distractions that tempt her to deviate to the right or to the left.
There is a great cloud of witnesses who have examined, tested, and proven the ordinances of old (119:52; Heb 11). They have reported the comfort that only God can give (Jn 14:16). He does this by issuing the Word that gives and sustains life (Jn 6:63; Heb 1:3). Christians also enjoy the work of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who is the One to bring God’s Word into those who receive Him (Jn 1:12–13; 8:32; 14:26; Rom 10:17). The Spirit causes the adopted child (Rom 8:15, 23; Eph 1:4–5), to remember all the ways God has loved those who belong to Him (1 Cor 3:23; 1 Jn 3:1; 4:19).
The believer knows the holiness, righteousness, and justice of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the wicked profane His name, or misrepresent His goodness to His people, there is a burning indignation that is right (119:53). God is not to be blamed for the eleven year old being raped by an uncle, a doctor, or a priest. Evil men do evil works because of their own sin nature (Jn 3:19; Eph 2:3). Each person must give an account on the Day of Judgment (2 Cor 5:10), and every sin against the infinite majesty of God will be judged in perfect righteousness (Gen 18:25). This, too, is a promise of God’s Word that assures His holy ones that justice will finally be served.
God has put a song in the hearts of His weary pilgrims (119:54). The Psalms themselves are God’s song book, provided to His people. Music was made by God, to be played and sung to God in praise and worship. The lyrics, being the very word of God, inspire the sojourners, singing their way home to glory.
The Lord is ever before those progressing on the pilgrim’s narrow path. The mind set on the Spirit of the Lord is the mind of Christ (Rom 8:6, 27; 1 Cor 2:16), who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross (Heb 12:2). Christians remember His death until He comes again (1 Cor 11:26). Here is the precious paradox…we remember the hope of glory. Looking back at God’s faithfulness to others, we are assured of the glory to be revealed to us (Rom 8:18). They fought the good fight of faith and have entered the joy of the Lord (1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7).
There is something about the name that is above every other name (Eph 1:21; Phil 2:9). Truly, it charms our fears. The name of Jesus manifests love from one and provokes hatred from another (Jn 7:7). In the dark night of the soul, there is only one Name to call upon to be delivered (Joel 2:32). The name of the Lord, when remembered by those who bear His name, “Christian,” encompasses the whole of His Person and work (119:55). There is wonder-working power in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:24). No other name constrains the saint to want to keep God’s Law (Ezek 36:27). It is no longer fear of punishment; but rather, a love for the Lord that wants to please him above all else (2 Cor 5:9).
Christian, have you owned this life in relationship to God (119:56)? Does this account of the Christian life resonate with you? Remember God, and remember it is in His Word that the old paths are revisited. He will meet you there in the dark night of affliction (Col 1:24). His promises to you never change because He never changes (Heb 13:8).
Trust in the Lord again in this hour. He is worthy because no one else has the Words of eternal life. These Words are for you, to give you a hope and a future. Remember?
Spokane Valley, Washington
June 25, 2022