This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life (Psalm 119:50).
ZOT. That’s the Hebrew word for “this” (the feminine form actually, ze is the masculine), which is how Psalm 119:50 begins, which makes sense since it is the second verse in the Zayin section of Psalm 119 (verses 49-56) where all 8 verses begin with the Hebrew letter Zayin. (Apparently ZOT is also a noise emitted by aardvarks while capturing their prey.)
What do you do when your discouraged? Sleep? Eat? Shop? Run? Read blogs? Write blogs? All of the above? I don’t shop, although I do like to buy books.
When the psalmist is discouraged, he turns to God’s promise. Which one? Any of them. All of them. I turn to Psalm 119, but the psalmist couldn’t do that yet, because it was still being written.
Psalm 119:50 promises that God’s promise gives life. How does that happen?
1) God’s promise gives us hope, something we all need, particularly when life is rough. Hope sustains, and focuses us on the future when things will be better because God will have worked to keep his promise.
2) God’s promise gives us comfort. We realize that God’s word is full of people who, just like the psalmist here, were in affliction. We aren’t alone as others were depending upon God and his promises alongside us in our affliction. Affliction themes appear repeated throughout this psalm (119:50, 67, 71, 75, 93, 107, 153).
3) God’s promise gives us God. It is his promise (“your” is the most common word in Psalm 119, always attached to a Torah synonym). God is the one who makes the promise and he’s the one who will keep the promise. Focusing on his promise deepens our relationship with God, because it keeps us looking to him.
When I was struggling in the fall of 2012 with stomach reflux, sleeplessness and voice problems, God’s promise gave me hope and comfort. God didn’t promise that he would heal me instantly. It took 6 months, but he comforted me in the midst of my pain. God was present.
What gives you life in the midst of affliction?