Psalm 119 - Kaph (The Long Wait)
Psalm 119:81-88 NIV
My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?”
Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees.
How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors?
The arrogant dig pits to trap me, contrary to your law.
All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.
In your unfailing love preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.
The Psalmist waited and waited but the end of his trouble is not in sight. He described his “longing for your (God’s) salvation” in ways that depict strong discouragement – “My soul faints”, “My eyes fail”.
It takes someone who is very emotionally despondent to make such descriptions. It is not as though the Psalmist didn’t trust God. In fact, he did. He turned to God and he was “looking for your (God’s) promise”. He didn’t ask if God would deliver him, because he believed that God would, but his question was ‘when’. “When will you comfort me?”
We love the memories of God answering our prayers. They comfort us when we are troubled. But what if our prayers have still not been answered after a long time? Will we still be faithful? Will we still seek comfort from God? Or will we start to seek comfort through wrong ways?
The Psalmist’s image of himself being old and dry like a wineskin in the smoke depicts how ugly and despised he felt about himself. “How long must your servant wait?” was written in the present tense. The Psalmist must still be feeling his pain and there still wasn’t any resolution to his problem at the time he wrote this psalm. He was still waiting. Why has it taken such a long time to see his prayers answered? Is God still coming to comfort him?
The Psalmist’s persecutors acted contrary to God’s law. They dug pits to try to trap him, and “almost wiped me (the Psalmist) from the earth”. Despite such a long and devastating period, the Psalmist stated that he had “not forsaken your (God’s) precepts.” How would you feel if your prayers are still not answered after a long time? Would you lose your trust in God? Would you start accusing God and rebelling against Him?
The Psalmist remained hopeful in God’s word. He loved God’s words because only God’s “unfailing love” could “preserve my (the Psalmist’s) life”.
His soul longs for God’s salvation to the point of fainting. Even when he couldn’t see the promises of God, he was still close to God and asked God for comfort. Dry as he was, like a crumbled wineskin, he still remembered God’s decrees. He has an amazing heart; he kept up his spirit despite the long and painful wait.
Thanks for inspiring us, my friend!
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.