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.
Psalm 119:73-80 Yod “Keeping Faith Through Affliction”
Vs. 73-74 confess the faith that God knows me;
Vs. 75-77 attribute to God good qualities that show through His ways;
Vs. 78 shows why the believer does not turn to unbelievers in troublesome times;
Vs. 79-80 state the faith of a believer who remains faithful throughout all.
Verses 73-74: (Verse 73) Begins with a quotation from Job 10:18: “Your hands have made me and fashioned me,” but Job added, “An intricate unity.” Every human is complex in working, but it works as a unity. The only thing missing from a person is the “understanding” to connect with, and use, God’s “commandments” (words showing what should and shouldn’t be done). (Verse 74) All who “fear God” are “glad” to know there’s another who has “hoped” in God’s “word” (communication of His way).
Verses 75-77: (Verse 75) “I know” (certainty based upon experience) the evidence proves that Jehovah’s “judgments” (decisions) are the standard of “right.” Abraham asked the question: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25) God’s character is without a wrong. When “affliction” occurs, we know God wants us to emerge with a yield of “the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone” (James 1:13). (Verse 76) Afflictions are times to see God’s “merciful kindness” (attempts to help) as “comfort,” according to His “word” (what He actually has said). He is the “God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). (Verse 77) Affliction can help us see God’s “tender mercies” (reminders of His love for us) “that I may live” (still have purpose, knowing God cares for me). Through it all, we see God’s “law” (words guiding the straight path) is the only thing that brings “delight” (satisfaction at progress).
Verse 78: “The proud” have not triumphed by their wrongful mistreatment “with falsehood,” for the believer has survived their false attacks, seeing truth in God’s Word and ways. After the affliction and false attacks, experience gives even more reason to “meditate” (give slow, thoughtful consideration of) God’s “precepts” (what God has emphasized or pointed out).
Verses 79-80: (Verse 79) The believer who endures with faith becomes an encouragement to all others who “fear God.” Everyone who “knows God” has combined “testimonies” (words pointing beyond to God) with experiences. “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). (Verse 80) Our prayer should be to survive, knowing “the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5). We must never be “ashamed” of God’s “statutes” (words outlining proper actions), for we need them to remain in “the way,” for Jesus said: “where I go you know, and the way you know” (John 14:4).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.