My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
My eyes long for your promise;
I ask. “When will you comfort me?”
For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
How long must your servant endure?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law.
All the commandments are sure;
they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
They have almost made an end of me on earth.
but I may keep the testimonies of your mouth. (ESV)
Jer. 6:16 says, This is what the Lord says: “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your souls. But they have said, ‘We will not walk in it.'” (NAS) This is the problem, we sometimes forget to walk in the ancient paths of the saints of the Old Testament. One of my favorite verses in the New Testament is: “My brothers and sisters, if any among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back again, you can be sure that the one who brings that person back will save a sinner from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.” (James 5:19-20 NLT)But to the psalmist, they are not listening to correction but strive to destory him and the believers.
Does your soul hunger and long for salvation? I do not mean the Salvation that is redemption but the salvation from the slings and arrows of life that constantly assail you. For those in missions, it means salvation from the persecuters that imprison, beat, torture and falsely accuse them of crimes. For the caregivers that pray for their charges who are accused of “forcing” religion on them. Yet in these hardships, those who chose to walk in the Path of God’s Righteous Word find joy. “My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh sings for joy to the living God.” (Psalm 84:2)
Yet even as the heart is filled with joy for the Word, the author still longs for justice. The psalmist says his eyes fail, they long, they are even tearfull with anguish (depending on which translation you read) for the justice of the LORD. He seeks comfort, and retribution for the torment of his defectors and persecuters. How long must I endure is what he is aking. Jeremiah the prophet asks, “My eyes are wasted away with weeping, my entrails shuttered, my liver spilled upon the ground at the ruin of the daughters of my people. As children, mere infants, fainted in the squares of the Citadel.” (Lam. 2:11 TJB) David writes, ” I am weary with crying; my throat is parched, My eyes fail while I wait for my God.” (Psalm 69:3 NAS) And even the ever rigfhteous Job says, “I go about moaning without comfort; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.” (Job 30:28)
Yet in all this, Isaiah says; “…My eyes look wistfully to the hieghts; O LORD, I am oppressed, be my security.” (NAS) The ESV reads, “be my peldge of safty.” Yet in all this the writer has not forgotten God’s Word, His Law or His Love and the promise to be renewed and restored. Yet in all the trials, temptations and intimidations to go the way of the flesh, he remains faithfull to the commands of God. In the sight of the threats of torture, the pains of mockery and ridicule, he remains in the path of God, the Walk of Righteousness. Even as the nation is trusting in the sins of the flesh and the weariness of envy and pride, he trusts God to make things right.
Even as those who reject God, who do not know Him, nor respect Him, plot against us, God knows their hearts, thoughts the not yet done deeds. Even as we hold fast to the precepts of Christ and walk toward His Light, we have the Spirit of God within and are empowered by the Divine Spirit. Even as we are tormented, we are called to do what is good and pleasing in the sight of the Lord Jesus. We are assured that the Word of God will prevail even if we forfiet our lives. For our eternal life can not be destroyed by the hands of evil.
But is it wrong to ask for justice to be done? To request that those who dishonor us, be dealt with shame? And is it wrong to desire that they gain no pleasure in what they do? What I say is that our joy comes from doing what is right and holy in the sight of the Lord Our God, not in the destruction of our enemies. We need to let our happiness in serving God out weigh the sins of the world. Let our joy in Christ’s Grace be the torment of souls and minds of our persecuters. As those who stood in the arena of Rome faced death before denying Christ, caused them to be shamed who oppress the Lovers of God. Even in the suffering of disease, job loss, morgage failure and fraud, and other calamities that face many who trust in God, we can still stand in the assembly and sing with joy for the blessings we have in eternal union with Christ. We can rejoice that we have a loving God who will not desert us.
Psalm 109:26-27 reads, (NAS)”Help me, O LORD my God; Save me according to Thy lovingkindness. And let them know that this is Thy Hand; Thou LORD hast done it.” Ps. 51:1, “Be graicious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; Accordining to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgression.” Ps. 49:5-8, “Why should I fear in days of adversity, When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me, Even those who trust in their wealth, And boast in the aboundance of their riches? No man can by any means redeem his brother, Or give to God a ransom for him- For the redemption of his soul is costly …” Ps. 48:9-10, “We have thought on Thy lovingkindness, O God, In the midst of Thy temple. As is Thy name, O God, So is Thy praise to the ends of the earth; Thy right hand is full of righteousness.” In the days of our stuggles, we can forever trust in the Living God who is Christ, the rescuer of our souls. Even as we struggle with the physical life, we still rely on God, for our home is not on the temperal plane but in the heavely one.
So as it says in James 1:2, count your suffering as joy. Trust in the Grace and Mercy of the Lord to deliver you from the failings of the world. If it is in His will you will be delivered from the problems of the world and you shall take pleasure in His ways. Even if they take everything I own and destroy everything I love and Cherish, it is for nothing because I still have the Love of God, His Law and Love, and His Redemption. Even if I can not be saved from the torment of the flesh, I have been rescued from the guilt of the past and the pains of damnation.
In this I can share the pleasure of Christ and the Path of God’s Word. In the steadfastness of God’s faithfulness, let us rejoice and live in accordance to the Will and the Word of God. Give thanks for the blessings that come in the serving of the commandments and the statutes of God and serve one another as Christ served us. Let us live in accordance to the Love, Mercy and Grace of God given to us upon the Cross. Because of this we can say with out fear or doubt, God has, “In steadfast love given [us] life, that [we] may keep the testimonies of [God’s] mouth.” (Ps. 119:88)