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 119:81-88 Kaph “Finding Strength In Weakness”
Verses 81-83 describe our weakened condition;
Verses 84-87 show how much worse it gets;
Verse 88 make an appeal for strength.
Verses 81-83: (Verse 81) A soul may “faint” (grow weaker, dims) waiting for God’s salvation, but nothing else will do, for “hope” (anticipation) is still in God’s “word” (actual statements). (Verse 82) Eyes “fail” (strain, ache) from constant peering into God’s “word,” searching for God’s answer to: “When will You comfort me?” Under stress, strain, duress, distress, pain, or anguish, we can only tolerate so much. We ask God, not whether or not He will help, but “When.” (Verse 83) “A wineskin in smoke” dries out, becomes brittle, and useless as a liquid container. Before we become useless, we continue to remember God’s “statutes” (words defining proper conduct, lines marking out what we must do).
Verses 84-87: (Verse 84) We ask, “how long will we live,” and “when will God payback our persecutors?” The souls of those who died in the Jewish persecution of the churches of Christ (Acts 8:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16) asked the same question: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10). That answer came back in Revelation 19:1-2. (Verse 85) “The proud” (those lifted in their own minds above God and His word) create pitfalls (or problems) for those who serve God. “The proud” are mentioned 5 times just in this Psalm (verses 51, 69, 78, 85, 122) as representing all who disobey God’s “law” (words that guide in a straight path). (Verse 86) Dangers are not caused by God’s “commandments” (words that tell us what we should and should not do), all of which are “faithful” (producing faith), but are caused by “wrongful persecution” (undeserved, unprovoked, uncaused). “Help me!” is our appeal to our God who cares, can help, and considers our immediate plight. Christians may “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). The help we need always comes from the Lord, and His way to help is revealed in His word. (Verse 87) Though oppressed near death, we should never “forsake” (give up, quit) on God’s “precepts” (words that highlight or point out what is important).
Verse 88: With fainting soul, strained eyes, strength drying up, problems caused by “the proud,” we ask to be “revived” (have our spirit refreshed, renewed vigor, restored ability) that we may finish our task of keeping His “testimony” (words of His character and will), not that God would take over and finish what we are capable of doing. Paul said of Philemon, “For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother” (Philemon 7).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.