Text: Psalm 119:113–120
Big Idea: In the spiritual struggles of this life, when we are battle-weary and in need of rest, God upholds us with His word.
Every follower of Jesus is in a battle, every day of their lives. Some days we see more blessing that battle. But the battle rages on – battles against temptation, battles against our own sin and the sin of others, struggles in facing the adversity and brokenness of living in a fallen world. In this honest prayer, David is not only declaring His need for God, but also declaring God’s faithfulness to uphold him when his strength is gone.
How does God do that? Here are three ways God upholds the battle-weary:
1. God protects those who hope in His Word (vv. 113-115)
God’s word is the opposite of a double-minded man, believing one thing today and another thing tomorrow. God’s word is unchanging, perfect, faithful, focused, not confused, not hypocritical. Because of this, the psalmist confesses that God Himself is his strength and his protector…[119:114] You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.
In our lives, there’s a time we need to rest, and a time we need to fight.
When we are battle-weary, when we need a break from the fighting, God is our hiding place. God’s word is a place of rest, of respite, of peace, of shelter in the storm, of quiet. A place we go to turn off the noise, turn off the defeating self-talk, turn off the sound-track of condemnation and shame, where we can hit the stop button on the instant replays of the hurts and sins of my past. God’s word is a place I can go to get away, to get off the treadmill of life and breathe again, to be reminded of who God is and who I am to Him, how much I am loved, how faithful God is in my life, and be refilled with faith. We all need a hiding place, that place of rest. And God’s word is that place.
But there are also times when we need a break, but the battle doesn’t let up. The trial isn’t stopping. We can’t catch our breath. That’s the time God’s word is our shield – in the battle, a source of protection, one who takes the brunt of the attack, guarding our hearts against temptation, against discouragement and fear and anxiety. God’s word is a shield from the arrows of the devil. The Bible says, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16), that even in the heat of the battle, we are able to stand, and when we’ve done all we can do, we stand. We can stand encouraged, we can stand hopeful, we can stand joyful, because God is faithful.
2. God upholds the hurting with His promises. (vv. 116-117)
David prays, “uphold me”, which is a picture of someone drowning, someone going under, and they are thrown a life-preserver to keep them above water, to hold them up.
He is praying, “Lord, according to your promise, in line with the covenant you have made with me in your word to be my God and to be with me, I ask that you uphold my life, keep me from going under. Let me live. Let me not be put to shame in my hope” – which means David has hoped in God’s word and has told others that He trusts God. He’s saying, “Lord my enemies are watching. Those who hate You are watching me. Let my life, my responses to suffering, my responses to my circumstances not put me to shame. Help me to live the kind of testimony that proves You are faithful and Your word is faithful.”
God’s goodness is meant to be a blessing to us, but also to be an encouragement to others. But that only happens when we give others access to our lives – when we take time to talk, to open up, to share trials, to be vulnerable. Not to receive pity, but to give others a window into how good God is in our lives.
God wants to make your life and my life a signpost for His grace. We should not only tell the gospel. We should also let our lives to show it, to display the gospel to others. Be a billboard of God’s grace by showing others how good He is to you in upholding you with His word.
3. God is just and will vindicate all injustice. (vv. 118-120)
When precious metals like gold or silver are being melted and purified, the impurities come to the top. That’s called “dross”, the impurities that were hiding inside the precious metal that the worker removes so that the metal will be pure. We don’t always know who truly are Christians and who are not. That will be made clear on Judgment Day, when all injustice is made right.
David is saying, “Lord, I am grateful that you are just. I am grateful that you are not a God who overlooks wrongdoing and injustice.” It may seem that way in this life. It may seem like the wicked get away with doing wrong. It may seem like the powerful are getting away with victimizing the poor and weak, it may seem like the innocent are dying and there will never be an end.
But there will be an end. God has not forgotten. God is just and He will judge. And because of that, David says, “I love your testimonies”. God, I love that you are just, and I long for the day justice will be done.
Those who live for Him find that Jesus is not only our Savior from sin, not only the Just Judge, but He is the Friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is faithful and true. He is our help and our hope. He is our hiding place and our shield.
He wants you to know today how much He loves you. And He wanted you to know that so much that He wrote it down in the pages of the Bible. See God’s word as that reminder – whether you’re in a battle and tempted to give up, or you’re comfortable and facing the temptation to be complacent, may God’s word be our strength and our hope.