It is fitting that the greatest tribute to the Word of God is IN the Word of God, itself, and is in the longest chapter of the Word of God! This Psalm has no author’s name, historical incident, or other distraction from its theme. It is divided into 22 sections (one for every letter in the Hebrew alphabet), each consisting of 8 lines, each line beginning with the alphabet letter of that section (aleph is the first letter of each line under the aleph section, for instance). The chapter uses some 8-10 different words to describe the Word of God, each bringing something extra to the total picture of the Word of Truth. In order to savor the depth and richness of teaching in this Psalm, we will examine each portion as if it were its own chapter.
Verses 49-50 show our hope is founded upon God’s fulfilled promises;
Verses 51-54 show how this helps us;
Verses 55-56 show how this makes God’s Law our own.
Verses 49-50: (Verse 49) The “hope” of a lover is that the one loved will remember the “word” (covenant, commitment) they have made. God does not forget (2 Peter 3:9), but “remember” lets us know that enough time may have passed from the promise to the fulfillment that we have become edgy. This is why the phrase is used, for God “remembered” his covenant with Noah (Genesis 8:1), Abraham (Genesis 19:29), Rachel (Genesis 30:22), and the Israelites (Exodus 2:24). (Verse 50) When “affliction” (troubles, distresses) attacks us, our “comfort” (ease of mind, confidence) comes from remembering God’s help in the past. “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). God’s Word gives us “life” (vitalizes, refreshes our spirit), Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
Verses 51-54: (Verse 51) The believer is comfortable to remain in the life set forth in God’s “law” (guide, make straight), so the “great derision” of the “proud” cannot affect me. We may be taunted for our faith, but we will never be taunted out of our faith! “For consider Him [Jesus Christ] who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:3). (Verse 52) The record of God’s “judgments of old” (decisions, actions for the “good” and punishments against the “bad”) is the written Word of God, which when studied, brings comfort to the reader. God will not miraculously give comfort to us, but has Christians who may come for aid and assistance with the proper passages (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) that we may “comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). (Verse 53) The believer may be provoked by the “wicked, who forsake” God’s law, as Solomon observed: “Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, Wickedness was there; And in the place of righteousness, Iniquity was there. I said in my heart, ‘God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work’” (Ecclesiastes 3:16-17). (Verse 54) Reminding ourselves of God’s “statutes” (definite lines marking the difference between good and evil) become our “songs” while we are in our “house of my pilgrimage” (living on earth in our bodies, 2 Corinthians 5:1-4).
Verses 55-56: (Verse 55) God’s “name” gives comfort and confidence through “the night” (those dreary days, troublesome times, depressions, dreads) as long as we “keep” (observe, obey) God’s “law” and “precepts” (things to notice, directions for conduct). (Verse 56) The comfort of the word of God “has become mine” for it has guided one through “affliction” and maintained “hope.” These personal experiences are what “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.