Daily Family Worship

Psalm 119: 81-88: Love for the Lord’s Word

by | Jun 25, 2024

Psalm 119: 81-8

This portion of the gigantic Psalm sees the Psalmist in a sorrowful extreme. His enemies have brought him to the lowest condition of anguish and depression; yet he is faithful to the law, and he is trustful in his God. This octave is the midnight of the Psalm, and very dark and black it is! Stars, however, still shine out; and the last verse gives a promise of the dawn. The words, after this, will become more cheerful; but meanwhile, it should minister comfort to us to see such an eminent servant of God so hardly attacked by the ungodly. This reminds us that in our own persecutions, no strange thing has happened unto us.

What is David’s cry in verse 81? “My soul fainteth for thy salvation!” He wished for no deliverance except that which came from the Lord; his one desire was for “thy salvation.” For that Divine deliverance, he was eager to the last degree, up to the full measure of his strength – and beyond it, until he fainted. So strong was his desire that it produced a failing of his spirit! He grew weary with waiting, faint with watching, and sick with urgent need. Thus the sincerity and the eagerness of his desires were proved. Nothing else could satisfy him except deliverance worked out by the hand of his God. His innermost nature yearned and pined for salvation from the Lord of all grace, and he must have it or utterly fail.

“But I hope in thy word!” Therefore, he felt that salvation would come; for God cannot break His promise, nor disappoint the hope which His own Word has excited. The fulfillment of His Word is near at hand when our hope is firm and our desires are fervent. Hope alone can keep the soul from fainting, by remembering the Lord’s promises. Yet hope does not quench desire for a speedy answer to prayer; rather, it increases our perseverance therein – for it stimulates ardor, and it sustains the heart under delays. To faint for salvation, and to be kept from utterly failing by the hope of it, is the frequent experience of the Christian. We are “faint yet pursuing.” Hope sustains when desire exhausts. While the grace of desire throws us down, the grace of hope lifts us up again!

“Quicken me after thy lovingkindness!” the Psalmist prays in the 88th verse. This is a most wise and blessed prayer! If we are “quickened” or revived, we shall be out of reach of our assailants. Our best protection from tempters and persecutors is more life! Lovingkindness itself cannot do us greater service than making us have life “more abundantly.” When we are quickened, we are able to bear affliction; we are able to conquer sin, and to baffle the cunning schemes of the devil. We look to the lovingkindness of God as the source of spiritual revival, and we entreat the Lord to quicken us – not according to our deservings, but after the boundless energy of His grace. What a blessed word this is: lovingkindness! Take it to pieces, and admire its double force of love!

“So shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth,” David resolves (verse 88). If we are quickened by the Holy Spirit, we shall be sure to exhibit a holy character. We shall be faithful to sound doctrine when the Spirit visits us and makes us faithful. No one keeps the Word of the Lord’s mouth, unless the Word of the Lord’s mouth quickens them. We ought to greatly admire the spiritual prudence of the Psalmist; for he does not so much pray for freedom from trial, as for renewed life so that he may he supported under the trials. When the inner life is vigorous, all is well. David prayed for a sound heart in verse 80; and here, in verse 88, he seeks a revived heart. This is going to the root of the matter, by seeking that which is the most needful of all things. Lord, let it be heart-work with us, and let our hearts be right with You!

Lord, we give thanks to You that although we are often feel as David did – like an animal-skin-bottle, drying out and cracking in the smoke – yet the smoke does not enter into our hearts, for Christ and His grace are there, and they are both unaffected by the smoke! Amen.

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