49 Remember your word* to your servant,
in which you have made me hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.
51 The insolent utterly deride me,
but I do not turn away from your law.
52 When I think of your rules from of old,
I take comfort, O Lord.
* Through these reflections, those phrases that identify God’s word, revelation, or law will be highlighted in the text in the hopes of accentuating the many and varied ways we can visualize what God has given to us for our good.
When we find ourselves in dark places emotionally, the kind and compassionate word of a friend can bring relief. How much more the words of God when the darkness seems to deepen? Where do we turn to when the darkness of night does not yield to the breaking of day?
Too often we surrender to the dark. Not because we want to. We surrender because we don’t know what else to do.
As believers in God, as disciples of Christ, as travelers on the way, we have a different option. We have a better way.
The word of the Lord serves as light in dark times. As a balm when we find ourselves wounded and in pain. As a cool drink of water upon parched lips. As a river of joy for a sorrow-filled soul. The word of God is not like the good words of thoughtful men.
The word of God is the written revelation of the all wise God. From God’s lips to our ears; through our ears to our souls, the word of God can penetrate and mend was seemed utterly broken.
One of my fears is that we too often have too low a view of God’s word. And because of this, we have to little confidence in God to perform what we has written. We have to hedge our bets and in doing so we have uprooted our faith from the only fertile soil in which in can flourish.
Verse 49: The link between what God has promised to what we can have confidence in is unbreakable. It endures because God has forged the bond in the fire of his character. The Psalmist reminds God of what he has promised. And it is within the context of this promise that the write has placed their hope.
Verse 50: The Psalmist extends the idea of comfort here. They explicitly link together the comfort they feel in the midst of “affliction” they may find themselves. An amplification of what the write understands God’s promise to be is provided. The promise made and guaranteed by God is that there is life attached to it. This serves as an sure foundation for hope and peace.
Verse 51: Opposition to the faith of any and every believer should be expected. This means that the world outside of the community of faith does not share the values or objectives of God’s people. Therefore, their approval is not required for our obedience to God’s commands. This further implies that there is no legitimate reason to ever “turn away from your law.”
Verse 52: This is the first time the Psalmist makes a reference to the age of God’s rules. They say the rules come “from of old.” These are not new rules. They were not the result of some recent or current event. To be more accurate they are as old as God himself. Which is to say, they are eternal rules, truths, commandments, precepts, etc. There is nothing new about what God is calling us to do. We can take comfort in this because it means we can trust God. God does not change, and he does not amend what he has required of us either.