Comforting Words: God’s Lovely Gift
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to contribute this article to the 5th issue of the Bible Bee Alumni e-newsletter. Thank you, Brittany S., for this opportunity! My family has been involved in the National Bible Bee for a number of years, and you can learn more about it here.
Little children love lullabies. In a strange and sometimes scary world, the gentle tunes and soft words of a lullaby are perfectly suited to calm a child and bring on sleep. Maybe this is what the Psalmist was imagining when he penned Psalm 119:49-56.
Like a young child in a turbulent world, the Psalmist is in trouble – deep trouble, it appears. We see him surrounded by ‘insolent’ people, wicked doers, who ‘utterly deride’ him, apparently because he is trusting in God (v. 51). He describes himself as in ‘affliction’ (v. 50).
The writer of this beautiful poem, however, is not unduly shaken. Despite hardship, he remembers God’s revelation. “When I think of” (literally, remember) “your rules from of old, I take comfort, O LORD” (v. 52). Like a lullaby, God’s revelation consoles him and soothes his soul. Now he can face the most insolent evildoers.
Notice what God’s revelation provides for him. God’s Word gives him hope as he considers the goodness and faithfulness of his Master (v. 49). God’s Promise (of mercy, forgiveness, and even a coming Messiah) gives him life (v. 50). God’s Rules gives him comfort, or consolation, since they reveal the character of His King and Father (v. 52). We could even say that God’s Statutes give him melody, since he delights to sing them during his earthly pilgrimage (v. 54).
How does the remembrance of God’s revelation result in such wonderful comfort? To remember God’s Word is more than to recollect the facts, or the bare words themselves. To remember is to apply, live out, love, and believe the words. Remembrance is childlike acceptance and obedience. You will notice that the Psalmist remembers God’s Words in a very practical and applicable way. He says that he puts his hope in these words (v. 49). Far from rejecting God’s Law (v. 51), he is careful to keep it (v. 55).
To the wicked, God’s Laws and revelation are terrifying in a horrific way. Not to the Psalmist; because he lives out and loves God’s Laws, they are comforting Words. God’s beautiful Words, in fact, become the synapse, or the point of connection, between God and the Psalmist. They become a conduit of comfort and a blessed rule to live by, providing sweet fellowship between God and the poet.
As you practice gratitude for God’s gifts, remember his comforting Words. What a lovely gift God has provided for us! When we love, accept, live out, and believe God’s revelation, it becomes our lullaby – sweet and comforting Words from heaven.