Psalm 119:49-56: A Biblical Way to Deal with Affliction
June 7, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The author of this great, as well as lengthy, psalm is clearly in some sort of difficulty at a personal level. There are various hints of this throughout the psalm, but one of the most pertinent and clear is in this section of the psalm in particular. He has an “affliction” (119:50); there are those who are “deriding” him (119:51); and he is experiencing frustration about the way God’s Word is being treated so that he has “hot indignation” (119:53).
Perhaps he is not at home or is displaced, or maybe he feels that way in particular when he senses the brevity of life because of his sickness: he talks of the “house of his sojourning” (119:54). He may be suffering from sleeplessness, insomnia too: “I remember your name in the night, O LORD” (119:55).
It is always an encouragement to read of someone who is a human author of part of the Bible who is less than perfect. It helps us to realize that we do not have to be perfect; all we have to be is someone who is repentant, trusts in God, and seeks God’s help to grow in Christlikeness. How then did this psalmist stay faithful in the midst of his “affliction”?
- He focuses on God’s “promises.” When you are doubting all things around you, cling on to that which you cannot doubt: God’s Word.
- He meditated upon the Bible. “When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort” (119:52). Even in physical pain, there is also a mental and emotional battle. Guard the heart and mind by meditating on the truth of the Bible.
- He sung the Bible. “Your statutes have been my songs” (119:54). He who writes the songs for this generation will define the doctrine of the next generation. Singing is a powerful way to connect to our emotions, and it is important therefore in church and as individuals when we sing songs of worship that they are songs that reflect and proclaim the truth of the Bible.
- Or, in summary, “I have kept your precepts” (119:56). A drowning man grabs a life belt. And this man in affliction hangs on to God’s promises.
Would you then, if you are in “affliction,” do the same as the psalmist did? If you do, you will find, like the psalmist did, that the “blessing” of God will “fall to you,” that blessing of living by God’s Word and keeping God’s Word. You will find “comfort” (119:50, 52), even in your distress.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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