73 Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments*.
74 Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
75 I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
* 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.
How doe we know that God is at work in us? This is one of the most difficult questions to answer. Not because we can’t know, but because God works at a pace we don’t always recognize.
There are times when God can, has, and does act with immediate effect. But the reality of God’s activity in our lives is more often slow and steady. It is a process that may even be described as unnoticeable. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, God is good and gracious. God knows what we can handle. So, he works in such a way that we are moving in a heavenward direction, but not so fast as to cause us to become discouraged.
The second reason for God’s pacing is he knows that if we see too much change too fast we will become dependent on his provision rather than find comfort in his presence. The abiding presence of God is the true inheritance of his children. Everything else is an added bonus to this.
The word of God provides us the information we need for transformation. But that information takes time to work because struggle to live in obedience to what it requires. And it is this obedience, the its absence, that helps us gauge how much fruit God has borne in us.
Verse 73: We have been fashioned in the image of God. While the natural means of conception appear to keep us distant from God’s personal act of creation, the reality is greater than we may understand. Every person conceived has imprinted within them that aspect of God’s person that makes us unique and special. We are living monuments to God’s glorious beauty. And when we recognize how his image becomes our visage we will recognize why conforming our lives to his commands is so vital. When we live according to what God has said, we reflect him most clearly.
Verse 74: When we live in faithful submission to God’s word, our hope becomes the joy of others who claim to belong to God as well. The bonds of confraternity that exists among those who share a common trust in God’s word are powerful. But only when we embrace them as being so. To be known by those who know God’s word is a great hope when times of difficulty arise.
Verse 75: A key realization for those who trust in God is to see his rules as good and helpful to us. They are not merely the restrictive impositions of a hard-hearted God. That is why when we are confronted with trials we can stand. We trust God to bring us through what comes our way. We may prefer to avoid the tribulations of life, but God most often delivers through and not just from what we find ourselves enduring in life.
Verse 76: What God has promised, God will fulfill. He has said that we will never be left alone nor forsaken. This is a power reminder of what we have when we are in fellowship with God. In a way, the Psalmist is demonstrating that we have to allow ourselves to be loved by God. God already loves us, But, we can behavior is such a way that we do not feel it, even when it is present.