Psalm 119:51

The proud have had me greatly in derision:
yet have I not declined from thy law.
~ Psalm 119:51

The proud have had me greatly in derision:

Derision refers to scorn or ridicule. The proud have scorned the Psalmist because of his dedication to God’s Word and way. They have used his afflictions as an opportunity to heap scorn upon him. They do this because they hate God and His people. They do this because they also misunderstand affliction. God sovereignly works all these things together for good (Romans 8:28), but they have such a limited perspective that they cannot see it. Therefore, they mock.

yet have I not declined from thy law.

The Psalmist had suffered double trouble. He endured his afflictions and the scorn heaped on him for them. However, despite these difficulties, his resolve for God’s Word is only strengthened. Job’s wife tried to provoke him to give up God’s way and the Psalmist’s scorners tried to do the same. Rather than forsaking it the Psalmist found comfort in it and so we must do in the face of affliction and the teeth of our adversaries.

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Psalm 119:49

Remember the word unto thy servant,
upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
~ Psalm 119:49

The seventh stanza of this Psalm is about comfort in and through God’s Word. The Psalmist draws strength from fulfilled promises and ready help in distress from the Word. The result is strengthening rather than straying when faced with derision.

Remember the word unto thy servant,

This is a prayer of faith that isn’t a reminder to God but rather an appeal to God’s faithfulness to His Word. God has spoken it and will also do it (Isaiah 46:11). He isn’t seeking some new thing but praying in line with our Lord when He taught the disciples to pray, “Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10).

Remember is a term associated with God’s covenant faithfulness. He remembers His covenant and therefore will keep the promise (Genesis 9:15-16; Leviticus 26:42-45). This was the way Moses prayed (Exodus 32:13).

upon which thou hast caused me to hope.

Comfort for the Psalmist did not rest in signs and wonders but his hope was upon the Word of God. The patriarchs of faith in Hebrews 11 died without receiving the promises (Hebrews 11:39), but they died in faith and faith is the “substance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 1:1). Their hope was in the sure Word of God and had no other ground. So the Psalmist turns to God and His Word at all times for hope and comfort.

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Psalm 119:47

And I will delight myself in thy commandments,
which I have loved.
~ Psalm 119:47

If we consider all the Psalms together, they run the gamut of expression. There are great depths of sorrow, misery, dryness and crumbling because of sin, confession, repentance, praise, God’s glory, and prophecy. It’s a pity these are not demotic, but perhaps that is why they are striking.

Verse 47 of this great Psalm has another expression of this sort. The Psalmist speaks of God’s commandments and speaks of delight and love. This expression is common throughout this Psalm (Psalm 119:47-48, 97, 127, 140, 167, 174).

The word for delight here is also used to speak of a child playing (Isaiah 11:8) and conveys the thought of seeking pleasure or enjoyment. The word for love is used to speak of a diversity of types of affection. So the Psalmist has great affection for the Word and seeks his delight in it. He has obviously made a high treasure of the Word and consequently his heart follows.

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Psalm 119:43

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth;
for I have hoped in thy judgments.
~ Psalm 119:43

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth

Manner of life has been more prominent in this Psalm than matter of speech. Speech is important but it has to be prioritized. We can easily say one thing and do another, which is hypocrisy, and thereby nullify the words we speak in the minds of those who hear us. The psalmist previously expressed this principle in prayer (Psalm 119:27), where he understood “the way of thy precepts” to be before and foundational to talking “of thy wondrous works.”

This first phrase is a prayer to God for the word not to be taken from his mouth. The word can be forfeited through inconsistent walk of life but something more is behind these words. He prayed to God for His word not to be taken out of his mouth and the next phrase of the verse explains the impetus behind this prayer.

for I have hoped in thy judgments

The last phrase of this verse explains his dependence of God fulfilling His word. If he has spoken of the mighty promises of God and they fail, the word will be utterly taken out of his mouth. He prays for deliverance based on God’s word. He has declared the wondrous works of God, His judgments, and precepts. So He prays for God to fulfill that the spoken word will not fail.

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Psalm 119:42

So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me:
for I trust in thy word.

~ Psalm 119:42

So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me

The Psalmist furnishes further reason for the mercies of God to come to him, that he would have an answer to his enemies. God’s people are quickly reproached whenever their circumstances look grim. Let one of God’s people endure a visible trial and the gainsayers quickly line up to rain reproaches on his head.

The relief here sought is similar to David’s prayer in trials (Psalm 86:17; 35:1-4). It is actually a common prayer for God’s people (Psalm 31:17-18; 35:26; 40:14-15; 70:2-3; 71:24). So it is also a guide and comfort to us today when people mock and say, “Where is thy God?” (Psalm 42:3).

for I trust in thy word

This trust is had while he is yet awaiting God’s mercies. He is in the midst of trial and though he does not yet have answer for his enemies, his heart and hope are fixed. The pleader of God’s mercies does not doubt their arrival, it is only a matter of when. Here again he trusts in the word, for God’s mercies will come in His time (Galatians 1:15).

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