53 Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
who forsake your law*.
54 Your statutes have been my songs
in the house of my sojourning.
55 I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
and keep your law.
56 This blessing has fallen to me,
that I have kept your precepts.
* Through these reflections, those phrases that identify God’s word, revelation, or law will be highlighted in the text in the hopes of accentuating the many and varied ways we can visualize what God has given to us for our good.
The longer we meditate on and linger with God’s word, the greater our ability to understand God’s heart. The word is not a window into the mysteries of God’s being. Rather it is like water washing away what has been keeping us from seeing clearly.
The world can put so much in our way, it can become difficult to notice what God is doing. We have to continually wash all of that debris away. We have to diligently make the effort to keep our vision clear.
It can feel like a daunting task, but the fact we have God’s word means we can do it. Maybe not perfectly. Maybe even not like we would like to. But if we keep using the cleansing properties of God’s word we will see with renewed eyes.
It can be difficult to make sense of how God’s word works in our lives. It certainly can. The question is whether we will fight through those insecurities and persevere until the end.
Verse 53: When we know God’s word; when we have accepted the word’s role in how we live and think; and then we see some blatantly living and speaking against what God has given, it can be anger inducing. But why? Because they forsake God’s law and then seem to prosper. Or they forsake God’s law and then rail against all we have seen and heard from God. This is one of the more candid confessions in the Psalm. It’s presence is helpful, instructive, and liberating. It means we can be honest with God and God is not bothered by our struggles.
Verse 54: The idea of the words of God being like the Psalmist’s “songs” in the those places that are not home is an interesting perspective. The safety and security God’s word affords his people is without equal. It is a wonder so few take advantage of what we have access to. Seeing God’s statutes as something worthy of singing about may appear strange to us, but maybe that line of thought must be challenged and amended.
Verse 55: Particularly in poetic language, when the word “night” is used, it usually means more than just the time of day. From a metaphorical stand point it points to separation from God. However, within the context of Psalm 119, we see that night has a slightly different intent. Here, it appears to us, that the Psalmist is using night to describe those times when it would be easy to dismiss or ignore or become lazy in holding onto God’s law. This why it is important to remember it. Because when we forget, we lose the light of our path in times and places where God is least felt as present.
Verse 56: In the keeping of God’s precepts, there is a blessing already contained within this obedience. We too often think that our obedience will be the catalysts for some other blessing. What we must learn to appreciate is that the fact we are living in obedience is evidence of God’s gracious intervention. When we are living out what God has commanded, we can rejoice in how God has transformed our minds and hearts to the point we desire to obey. This in itself is a blessing.