David made it through the low point, or “midnight of the psalm” in last week’s passage. In this section, his tone changes from despair and doubt to steady reliance on God’s words.
Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.
Here is why it is worth our time to study the Bible: it’s going to last forever. Every moment we spend in the Word will be of value in eternity. The Bible is the only thing on this earth that is not temporary. It is a permanent fixture in heaven that we will recognize and rejoice in when we get there.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
Just as the Word is firmly fixed in the heavens, so too, the faithfulness of the Lord is firmly fixed on the earth. Hundreds of generations of people have come and gone, and God has faithfully endured every one. Evidence of His faithfulness is everywhere. The hymn writer said it best:
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
(Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Thomas Chisholm)
By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.
David saw the sun rise every morning, the planets stay on their tracks, and the seasons turn in time. God had organized the universe with His creative word. This gave David confidence that if he held on to the Creator God and His creative words, he was secure.
David used every expression he could think of to drive this idea home. Verse 89: “firmly fixed”; verse 90: “established” and “stands fast”; verse 91: “stand” — they all mean the same thing. “The order and stability of the created work of God is guaranteed by the authority of the word of God. And therefore the believer who rests upon that word, rests upon firmness and will not fall into a pit.” (Christopher Ash) All of nature is serving the purposes of God, to show us His power and faithfulness.
If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
Looking back on his period of suffering, David realized how close he came to giving up. And sometimes people do give up. For some, affliction can lead to destructive anger, bitterness and hopelessness. For others, trials drive them deeper into the arms of God where His Word sees them through dark times. David understood that holding on to the word that was firmly fixed in creation was his only place of security.
I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.
Having come out on the other side of suffering, David had fresh appreciation for life. He would not soon forget the help and hope he received from God’s Word.
There are some verses I will never forget, because they spoke to my heart during difficult circumstances. Those words are marked in my Bible with a date in the margin. They stand as a testimony of God’s help when I was struggling. Spending regular time in the Word keeps me from forgetting His provision in the past and His promises for the future.
I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts.
David had given himself to God, so he knew he could continue to depend on God’s care. All believers have the seal, or mark, of the Holy Spirit, God’s sign of ownership. “Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.” (Eph. 1:13-14) We belong to Him. Guaranteed. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies.
His troubles weren’t over, but David had learned not to obsess about what his enemies were up to. He knew they were watching him, but David turned his attention from them to God’s testimonies. The wicked were lying in wait for David, but David was waiting upon God. It takes strength and resolve to keep our eyes on Jesus when under attack. It’s another three word prayer I whisper often — “Eyes on Jesus, eyes on Jesus, eyes on Jesus.”
I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad.
As a bit of a perfectionist (Enneagram #1), I’m always bumping up against imperfection. What a relief to come to terms with the fact that perfection isn’t required or even expected. Spurgeon said, “He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it.” God is different. He is limitless, bottomless, boundless, inexhaustible, immeasurable, and every other word in my thesaurus.
Things I know for sure from this passage:
- During times of uncertainty, I need the firmly fixed Word of God that stands fast.
- Nature is constantly speaking to me of God’s faithfulness.
- Delighting in God’s Word is a mark of spiritual maturity.
- I am His and I can trust Him to take care of me.
- Perfection belongs to God alone.