Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word. — Psalm 119:41-42
When we lean upon God and put our trust in His Word, He gives us courage to face those who “reproach” us for our faith. A brother in our Lagos church is one of the many who have experienced how God supports His own in the face of opposition. Brother Babatope Makun, known to his friends as T-Mak, relates how he was saved as a nine-year-old boy. However, very soon after his conversion, he faced a tremendous spiritual challenge.
T-Mak’s father had been exposed to religious teaching but had become disillusioned because he did not find the truth. He moved his family to a rural area, and there came in contact with people from the Apostolic Faith who gave him some Gospel literature. Impressed by what he read, he attended their church services and was saved. Not long after, T-Mak was also saved.
Unexpectedly, T-Mak’s father died just six months after he had given his heart to God. It fell to T-Mak’s elder brother, who was not a believer, to assume responsibility for the household. This brother would have nothing to do with the church, and he told T-Mak that he could no longer attend worship services. In fact, he issued an ultimatum: either T-Mak would give up attending church or his education would not be paid for. That was a very serious matter, as a child obviously would have no way to obtain funds for schooling on his own.
However, God gave T-Mak courage. He related, “The song says, ‘I will serve Thee because I love Thee’ and that is my testimony. As a small boy, I couldn’t really explain what I was doing, but I knew that for all the pressure that was on me, the Lord drew my heart close to Him.” T-Mak chose to stand firm in the face of his brother’s opposition, and continued to worship the One who had saved his soul. Miraculously, God provided for T-Mak’s schooling. Today, he serves the Lord as assistant youth leader and youth music leader in our Lagos church. He says, “God has led me step by step. I have had a very tremendous time worshiping the Lord, and I intend to serve Him until I die.”
We may never be called upon to make a decision like the one T-Mak made. In fact, we may never face direct opposition for our faith. But make no mistake, there is a battle going on! The combat may not be visible, but Satan is always trying to pull us away from our commitment to God. Like the psalmist who authored our focus verses, we must depend upon God’s mercies and strength from Him in order to withstand our spiritual enemy. As we fill our lives with His Word and obey His precepts, we can stay true in spite of all opposition — whether seen or unseen!
Psalm 119, Stanzas 6-11
Today’s text is the second portion of Psalm 119, the longest of all the Psalms and the most intricate in style. As with the first five stanzas, these six contain eight verses each, are titled with consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and continue the theme of appreciation for God’s Law. The sections covered in this portion of text are Vau, Zain, Cheth, Teth, Jod, and Caph.
In stanza six, Vau, the psalmist reflected upon one who reproached him because of his love for God; through the Word of God he found help and guidance to face his revilers. The theme of these verses is being unashamed of God’s Law.
In the next stanza, titled Zain, the psalmist told how God’s Law brought comfort during times of distress. When he was afflicted and fearful, he looked to God’s Law for hope, comfort, and stability. One way in which he comforted himself during his spiritual journey was to put God’s laws to music and sing them.
In the stanza titled Cheth, the psalmist showed the effects of salvation and God’s Law on his behavior. He said when he considered the way he was living and turned toward God, God became his inheritance. His immediate obedience to God’s Law brought stability, a desire to be around godly people, and a hunger for instruction. The phrase “bands of the wicked” (verse 61) is a figure of speech based upon the practice of snaring game in a noose.
Teth focuses on the disciplinary value of affliction. In this group of verses, the psalmist expressed an appreciation for God’s Word after being restored to God. Affliction had taught him obedience. The phrase “as fat as grease” (verse 70) is a metaphor expressing that the “proud” (or godless) individuals were as dull or insensible as lard.
In the stanza titled Jod, the psalmist continued the theme of the benefits accrued through affliction. He acknowledged that God had a right to allow the affliction, and had done so out of faithfulness. He found comfort and joy in the divine Word, and concluded with a plea that his heart would be “sound” (or healthy) due to his obedience.
Caph centers on support under pressure. In it, the psalmist described how he had clung to God’s Law during extreme distress caused by people plotting against him. Though he waited for an answer so long that he became disheartened, instead of forsaking or forgetting God’s Word, he continued to hope in it.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Book I (1:1 — 41:13)
II. Book II (42:1 — 72:20)
III. Book III (73:1 — 89:52)
IV. Book IV (90:1 — 106:48)
V. Book V (107:1 — 150:6)
A. Psalm 119
6. Vau (119:41-48)
7. Zain (119:49-56)
8. Cheth (119:57-64)
9. Teth (119:65-72)
10. Jod (119:73-80)
11. Caph (119:81-88)
When we face opposition to our faith, we must depend upon the mercies of our loving God, and rely on Him for the courage and wisdom to stand for the truth.