Promises don’t seem worth much in our culture. Marriage vows are broken. Politicians renege on campaign pledges. Coworkers fail to follow through on their word. How can we trust a promise to provide us with any comfort?
Today’s reading describes another source of comfort for us in difficult days: the promises of God. Unlike fickle human beings who make promises without the intention or capacity to keep them, God can be trusted to follow through.
The psalmist admits that he is in a time of suffering. But he also identifies the source of his comfort: the promise of God (v. 50). He depends on God’s promise to preserve his life. The Lord has promised to be gracious (v. 58). God is good in both His character and His deeds (v. 68). And perhaps best of all, God has promised unfailing love (v. 76). All of these promises provide comfort even in the middle of difficult days.
How does the psalmist know about the promises of God? From studying His Word. All of Psalm 119 is an extended meditation on the many joys of knowing the Word of God, and today’s passage tells us that one of those is comfort: “I remember, LORD, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them” (v. 52).
Our study of Scripture is not solely for the purpose of filling our minds with facts and information. We study also to transform our hearts with the grace and knowledge of God.
The comfort from the promises found in God’s Word changes our entire way of being. Our minds have biblical knowledge (v. 66). Our hearts are shaped to love the things God loves (v. 58). And our bodies are the instruments of service and praise (v. 62).