This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Thy word has revived me.—Psalm 119:50 (NASB 1977)
I read the “That” in this verse to mean the solid fact of God’s Word reviving a desponding person—whether downhearted over his own sin, the sin of another or others, or the sinful state of the world in general. The fact that the Word brings comfort in our affliction affirms the fact of the Word’s reviving power; and the reviving effect testifies to the fact of the sinner’s sure salvation, and therefore his rightful share in the mind of Christ. Otherwise the sinner would remain out in the cold, uncomforted.
The shepherd’s own sheep hear his voice. Those belonging to Christ have the blessing of discernment; they are given to know their Shepherd, and they are revived by his voice in times of despondency and doubt. Paul said, “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord.—Psalm 40:1-3
It’s almost—no, it’s completely impossible for me not to despond over Things Going On in the World that I find unjust, plainly wrong, or discouraging for any number of reasons. These texts and numerous others between the same covers, keep me from having to put rags under my arms like Jeremiah, to be extracted from the miry clay.
Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the LORD.”—Psalm 31:24 (NASB)