Psalm 119 - Zayin (Managing Bad Times)
Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.
I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.
Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law.
Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.
In the night, Lord, I remember your name, that I may keep your law.
This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.
Life isn’t easy, yet the Psalmist said to God, “you have given me hope”. Is that where you find hope when the going gets tough? What is “my comfort in my suffering”? The Psalmist hung on to three principles in managing bad times – Remember the promise of God (our salvation); sing and remember God’s words and names; and practise obedience to God.
“Your promise preserves my life.” Do I have the confidence that God’s promise preserves mine? If we don’t feel refreshed and comforted, we should ask ourselves whether we believe in God’s words. I remember one the lowest points in my career, when we had nowhere to turn to. We hung on to God daily in prayer. God amazingly turned around the heart of my former director and ‘saved’ me. We felt so close to God during those times of adversity.
“The arrogant mock me unmercifully”. We live in a less than merciful world, so we can understand how the Psalmist felt, especially if we have been treated harshly before. We may lose our job when we aren’t needed. We may lose our battles at work if we aren’t good enough and we may lose the favour of our bosses. For the Psalmist (very likely King David), he might lose his kingdom and be laughed at for his faith in God. David even shared his faith to his enemies, so we can imagine the mockery from them.
“Indignation grips me because of the wicked”. Who were the wicked? They were “those who have forsaken your (God’s) law.” The Psalmist used the description ‘grip’; it was a feeling that held on to him emotionally. Those who don’t follow God’s law can look nice and well mannered on the outside, but their actions will reflect otherwise. We need to have godly indignation towards that.
What is “the theme of my song” and do I sing it “wherever I lodge”? To the Psalmist, it is God’s decrees, and he sang it everywhere. What a way to relieve the stress! We are blessed with a variety of beautiful worship songs to sing daily. The Psalmist remembered the names of God every night. What are the names of God that we remember the most? For me, they are, God who provides (He will give me the way out); God who sees (He is watching over me); and Abba (my daddy).
“I obey your precepts.” And lastly, the Psalmist practised obedience. There is a difference between ‘compliance’ to God’s law and practising obedience. Compliance to His law is impossible and God doesn’t expect that. He does expect us to practise obedience. We may fail when we do that, but we can push on with God’s help.
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.