Remember back in the day buying those ‘45’s’ – those smaller records? I bought my first one in 1975. Many others followed. The hit song was on Side A, while some other song far less familiar was on Side B.
Psalm 119 has always been known for its grand and glorious focus on the Word of God. That’s ‘Side A.’
One theologian wrote,
This psalm stands as the ‘Mount Everest’ of the Psalter. It joins Psalms 1 and 19 in exalting God’s Word.
In his Treasury of David, Spurgeon wrote,
It is loaded with holy sense, and is as weighty as it is lengthy.
German theologian, Franz Delitzch, wrote,
It is the A B C of the praise, love, power and use of the Word of God.
But that’s Side A.
What many people miss is ‘Side B’ – one of the reasons the psalmist is doing his best to focus on what is true in the first place: God’s Word.
That reason is this: he’s beaten down from those who continue to gossip about him, slander him, taunt him, judge him, mock him, and criticize him. He’s worn out. In fact, he pleads with God in vs 8:
Ever been in his shoes? We all have.
Rather than hit back, he puts his faith in the One who can do far more damage to his enemies than he can. His only hope is in the powerful and protective Word of God.
Watch the pattern as the psalmist prays. With every request for help, he simultaneously reinforces his focus on, and commitment to, the power and protection of God through his mighty Word.
‘You rebuke the arrogant…don’t let them scorn and insult me for I have obeyed your laws.’
‘The proud hold me in utter contempt, but I do not turn away from your instructions.’
‘Arrogant people smear me with lies, but in truth I obey your commands with all my heart.’
‘Bring disgrace on the arrogant people who lied about me; meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments.’
‘The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments. Your laws are my treasure.’
Knowing well that only the Truth can set him free, the psalmist pleads with God:
‘Revive me by your Word... Encourage me by your Word… I cry out for help and put my hope in your Words.’
As with most anyone else who’s ever prayed while in pain, God doesn’t seem to act quite as quickly as the psalmist would like. But even while waiting, he places his faith, hope and attitude in God’s Word:
‘I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your Word.’
The psalmist was clearly in a dark time. You may be as well. But that’s why, in vs 105, he wrote that familiar statement:
‘Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’
Darkness cannot overcome the Light. It is impotent to do so. This is what John meant when he wrote,
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
This is a case where Side B is every bit as much a “hit” as Side A.
Sola Scriptura, nw