When Trouble Comes

Bible Book: Psalms  119 : 153-160
Subject: Trouble; Revival; Adversity

All through this Psalm the writer has experienced trouble. It is a constant reminder that the Christian life is a land of hills and valleys and we cannot have mountaintops without also having valleys. As the writer nears the end of the Psalm, he becomes more urgent, the Hebrew alphabet was about to end, but his trials would continue, and he needed the help of the Lord.

There is a word that is used three times here in the 20th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and a total of 16 times in Psalm 119. Nine of those times the psalmist uses the word in petitioning the Lord. The KJV uses the word “quicken.” The Psalmist is asking for spiritual renewal and spiritual fervor. When we look at its use all 16 times, we conclude that the psalmist is primarily concerned about his spiritual attunement to the Lord (he is not in tune with the Lord). His heart’s desire is for God to use His word to do whatever is necessary to infuse and maintain vibrancy in his relationship with the Lord.

Therefore, the key word in this passage is “revive me” (154, 156, 159). This means to give me life, lift me up and keep me going. The prayer is for revival. The Psalmist grieves for those who transgress

because they don’t observe the word; in contrast, he is sustained by placing his confidence in that which is both true and everlasting.

I. Boldness In His Petition

A. His Assurance Is In The Word 153b, 154b

“for I do not forget Your law” – it is the law of God that assures him God is his deliverer. “revive me according to Your word” – speaks of my surrender to His revealed word.

“Consider my affliction and deliver me” – in his crisis he needs God to step in and “see to” his need. Abraham used this word when he answered his son’s question in Gen

22:8. “The Lord will see to it,”

“And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering; so they went both of them together.” (KJV) In other words, provide the sacrifice. Our wonderful Lord not only “sees” the need, but can “see too” providing what he needed.

Psalms 34:15, “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.”

B. His Advocate Is The Lord 154

“Plead my cause and redeem me” – there is a deep cognizance that only the Lord can deliver (153) and redeem (154), therefore, the Psalmist hands over his case to the Lord to “plead my cause.” The word “cause” represents a technical legal jargon often used by the prophets.

1. He has been afflicted. 153

2. He has been dogged 155

3. He has been distressed 157 “persecutors” – translates distressors 158

4. He has been disgusted. 158

The trouble has come to him and caused him to become “battle worn.” He needs Divine Intervention!

In verse 154 the word “redeem” speaks of a kinsman redeemer who would rescue a family member in need, as Boaz rescued Ruth.

In the incarnation, Jesus entered the human family and became our kinsman, and in the crucifixion, He paid the price to redeem us from sin, death, and hell.

The psalmist calls on the Lord to “plead” or defend “my cause.”

Jesus is our Advocate Who represents us before the throne of God.

1 John 2:1-2, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

C. His Obedience Is To The Lord 157b, 159a

“Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies” “Consider how I love Your precepts”

The psalmist’s confidence in God’s new work in his life is not based upon his obedience to God but upon God’s faithfulness to His covenant.

D. His Assumption Before The Lord 159

“revive me” – whenever God acts afresh in our lives, it is by His grace. In fact, the irony of revival is that it usually comes in the darkest hour. For example, when the Evangelical Awakening in England struck in the 18th century, the church was dissipated with deism and the Country with gin. Then, because of the prayers of a few, God moved, and the course of history was changed through the preaching of George Whitfield and John Wesley. It is God’s “loving-kindness” that will change us again.

God, in His grace, gives us what we do not deserve, and in His mercy He does not give us what we do deserve. His throne is a “throne of grace” where grace and mercy are abundantly available to us. Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Note verse 154, “Revive me according to Your word.” Verse 156, “Revive me according to Your judgments.” Verse 159, “Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.” Note also in verse 156 the psalmist is reminded that, “Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord.”

1. Bible Shows Us Who He Is

Devotion to the word is not the same as devotion to the Lord. The Bible is like a signpost on the highway.

2. Cross Shows Us What He Did

Here His mercy was displayed as His judgment was poured out on His Son.

3. Mercy Shows Us Why We Can Come

II. Belief In God’s Work 159

You can bring revival because of what You have done. If we prayed on the basis of our own merit, God could never answer, but we come to the Father in the name of the Son and with the help of the Spirit.

The psalmist’s devotion to the word of God gave him assurance. The psalmist knew of the Lord’s lovingkindness from reading about it and experiencing it.

III. Belief In God’s Word 158, 160

A. The Example of Others 158

In this case, we see a bad example. But, their bad example did not change his own convictions. They did not influence his belief in God’s truth.

“treacherous” were the traitors or transgressors, therefore, the psalmist was “disgusted” or grieved. Grieve is a love word. We do not grieve over those we do not love. Psalmist is referring to people he loves.

The Holy Spirit can be resisted, quenched, and grieved. Resisted by the unbeliever

Quenched by the church Grieved by the believer

Just as the Holy Spirit can be grieved by those who love Him, the psalmist is suffering because he is being betrayed by those he loves.

Why? “Because they do not keep Your word.” It was not so much that they were plotting against him, but the fact that those he loved had no regard for God’s word.

I resented my father before and after my salvation? Why? I resented the way he treated me, or us. However, later, I was grieved because of the way he treated and resisted the Lord. That was his real issue.

B. The Entirety of His Word 160

What is called an idiomatic rendering, which means, “the head of Your word,” which means from the beginning God’s word is true. The fidelity and righteousness of His word sustains the psalmist in believing that the Lord will vindicate him. He rests his case with the Lord.

Its sum total is true and lasting!