Psalm 119:49-56 | ז Zayin

The Power of God’s Word

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Hebrews 4:12

Of all the books in the world, the Bible is the book of the “most.”

  • Most popular.
  • Most stolen.
  • Most studied.
  • Most gifted.
  • Most burned.
  • Most referenced.
  • Most researched.
  • Most loved and hated.
  • Most (fill in the blank).
The Bible is the most powerful book in the world.

My favorite preacher says, “When you read the Word, the Word reads you.

Not only does it inspire and inform, but it literally transforms. Hebrews 4:12 says it’s alive and powerful. Which means it applies to us yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It applies to every area of our life, too. It shows us how to respond, handle, and behave in any situation.

There’s so much going on in the world today, we can’t afford to not know it. Political war, social unrest, sicknesses and diseases (physically, mentally, and emotionally), broken relationships, and the list goes on. If you’ve ever read through Psalms, you know that David and the other psalmists experienced each of these circumstances, which is what makes it so relatable.

As we dive into this next section of Psalm 119, note how often the psalmist refers to the word, how he emphasizes on its importance, and trusts God despite his circumstances. The definition of Zayin will help us see just how powerful, active, and personal God’s word is!

By the end of this post you’ll see how the word of God brings:

  • Hope
  • Comfort
  • Strength
  • Protection

Definition of Zayin

“If you need a guide for your ongoing relationship with God, read Psalms.”

― Jim George

There are two definitions of Zayin: the older definition is “armed” and the more common one is “sword.” Both represent power.

As we saw earlier in Hebrews 4:12, God’s word is the sharpest sword. It’s the most powerful. It’s what arms us and makes us ready for anything. Another representation of a sword (or power) is our tongue (Proverbs 12:18, 18:21). There is power in the words you speak. There’s even more power when you speak God’s Word.

We don’t know exactly what the psalmist went through as he talks about his low times. But he drew strength and comfort from God’s word. He armed himself with it and committed to keep going. He mentions God’s word in every line. He truly relied on it despite his hopelessness, misery, being mocked, annoyed, and restless (etc.). That sounds like a lot of us today.

Many of us have lost hope during this pandemic.

Many are miserable and restless because of work, financial, emotional, and relationship stresses.

Many are mocked for their political views and religious beliefs.

Many are annoyed or anxious.

Maybe you’ve experienced or are experiencing one or more of the above.

There is power in picking up your sword (the Bible) and sharpening it against your other sword (your tongue). The psalmist’s prayer in verses 49-56 proves that when you take the most powerful book in the world and attach it to your most powerful weapon, you can stand through anything.

“The book of Psalms can revolutionize our devotional life, our family patterns, and the fellowship and witness of the church of Jesus Christ.”

― Willem VanGemeren

Read through the eight verses below and write what stands out to you. Again, note how often the psalmist refers to the word, how he emphasizes on its importance, and trusts God despite his circumstances.

Psalm 119:49-56

49 Remember the word to Your servant, In which You have made me hope. 50 This is my comfort in my misery, That Your word has revived me. 51 The arrogant utterly deride me, Yet I do not turn aside from Your Law. 52 I have remembered Your judgments from of old, Lord, And comfort myself. 53 Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, who abandon Your Law. 54 Your statutes are my songs In the house of my pilgrimage. 55 Lord, I remember Your name in the night, And keep Your Law. 56 This has become mine, That I comply with Your precepts.

God’s Word Brings Hope & Comfort

“Let your life reflect the faith you have in God. Fear nothing and pray about everything. Be strong, trust God’s word, and trust the process.” 

― Germany Kent

I can’t emphasize enough on how “alive” God’s word is. When you lose hope, get discouraged or fearful, or experience misery in life, the Bible should be the first place you turn to. The key to getting hope and comfort is trusting that it will bring peace. By doing so, you encourage and help yourself remember God’s promises.

The psalmist faced opposition, yet his trust in God’s promises reminded him of the word in which he already hoped in; the word he initially trusted from the start; the word that GOD brought him to hope in (v49). His approach in asking God to remember His word wasn’t because God forgot. But because he understood God would never forget (Isaiah 55:11). When we hear or read any promise in God’s word and turn it into prayer, we connect with Him more deeply, which leads us to a place of constant hope.

When we hear any promise in the word of God, let us turn it into a prayer. God’s promises are his bonds. Sue him on his bond. He loves that we should wrestle with him by his promises.

Sibbes, cited in Spurgeon

The psalmist also found comfort in his misery because he remembered how God’s word already revived him (v50). Ephesians 2:4-5 says that because of his great love for us, God made us alive with Christ. This doesn’t eliminate suffering and trials (Phil. 3:10) because Christ also suffered and faced trials. Instead, it emphasizes our new life with and in Christ. It underlines the meaning and purpose of being a believer and how external things don’t have the power to phase us.

Despite his misery and affliction, he stood on what was already true: God’s word and its promise. Since the word of God already revived him, there’s nothing outside of him that could bring him down. By making statements (like v50), we acknowledge suffering is common, yet declare that we can get through it.

God’s Word Brings Strength & Protection

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” 

― Corrie ten Boom

In verses 51-53, the psalmist reveals how God’s word adds strength to comfort. When you turn to God and His word in every season, it stirs a passion inside of you, which continuously brings strength and protection to you.

With or without God, you’re going to face opposition. The difference is that believers have access to God’s peace, which surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7), and strength, which helps you stand firm in God’s promises no matter the opposition. Christ, our cornerstone and firm foundation, brings us strength and protection when we feel weak and vulnerable.

He is the Word (John 1:1)

When your faith and trust in God’s word gets challenged, you can respond by increasing your confidence in God’s word! Like the psalmist – he acknowledges his pain from derision, misery, and hopelessness, but he responds to it all by declaring the power of God’s word. Because he found hope and comfort in God’s word (from before), he continues in his prayer by saying: no matter who stands against me; I do not turn aside from Your law. I remembered Your judgments of old and comfort myself.

You get strength by sticking to God’s law instead of turning aside from it. It also protects what you originally believed in (the Gospel!). Reading and knowing God’s word helps us know who we are in Christ, which strengthens our identity and helps us stand through any storm. And the power of God’s word spoken by your mouth brings strength when you’re weak and protects you when you feel defenseless.

The more you know God’s word, the more passionate about it you’ll become. This doesn’t mean you’ll be a big preacher or an evangelist (or it might). Either way, it’ll increase your compassion for the lost. When the psalmist says burning indignation took over him, he’s emotional about the wicked, the people who don’t know God, and even more, those who go against God. His passion for the word revealed compassion for the lost.

This indignation can remind you of your why. In the psalmist’s case, he already had his hope in and gets comfort by God’s word, and doesn’t want anyone else to miss out on this relationship. But he makes this exclamation which emphasizes his compassion, and ultimately reminds him of why he comes back to the word: for its continual strength and protection.

God’s Word is Alive & Powerful

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” 

― Soren Kierkegaard

We don’t know what the psalmist faced, but we do know that he needed hope, comfort, and strength. In the last three verses of this section, his prayer becomes more declaratory. Like the quote above, the psalmist knew he doesn’t need to influence God for anything. Instead, he needed to remind himself of the word in which God made him hope, find comfort in, and get strength and protection. Trusting, knowing, and reading God’s word is a way of renewing your mind.

54 Your statutes are my songs In the house of my pilgrimage. 55 Lord, I remember Your name in the night, And keep Your Law. 56 This has become mine, That I comply with Your precepts.

A pilgrim is a person who is traveling through one country to another…  We are hurrying through this world as through a foreign land. We are in this country, not as residents, but only as visitors, who take this country en route for glory.

Spurgeon

Music is powerful – it has the power to change moods, emotions, and bring memories you thought you forgot. The psalmist faced hopelessness, misery, mockery, indignation, and restlessness, yet he made God’s word his songs.

There is power in singing God’s word because it brings comfort no matter where you are. Take Paul and Silas, for example. They sang while they were in prison, probably just to find comfort in God, but then God brought them out miraculously! Along with comfort, their hope in God increased, their strength returned, and God’s hand protected them from anything worse.

Not only did they and the psalmist sing God’s promises and songs of worship and praise, but they also remembered God’s name in the night. Verse 55 applies both literally and figuratively to us. Literally, because there are nights when we can’t sleep.

When fear, anxiety, insomnia, and stress rush in, we can turn to God’s word and find hope, comfort, strength, and protection. We can use it because it’s alive and powerful and He gives His beloved sleep. The word is in you, believer!

Remembrance of God in the night lead to an obedient life during the day.

It’s figurative in the sense that as believers we are waiting for the return of our bridegroom. While it’s night, we must keep our lamps ablaze and ready for Christ’s return! This comes from the passion you get when you study God’s word and get to know Him more. It’s not a religious duty, but a desire to know Him more.

The last verse shows us that no matter what you face, this has become yours, That you keep His precepts. In other words, turning to God’s word will grow your faith. It reminds you of the promises you hoped for, the comfort you found as it revived you, and the strength and protection it gives no matter who or what you face. This has become yours, your trust in God’s word to bring you hope, comfort, strength and protection, because it’s alive and powerful.

The word of God is transformational. It brings hope, comfort, strength, and protection when you need it most. It’s alive and powerful; active and personal. “When you read the Word, the Word reads you” and cuts through soul and spirit, exposing your innermost thoughts, desires, and even needs.

God sees you and wants you to know that the word is in you.

…it’s Jesus!

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