Theme: The Life-Sustaining Word
In this week’s lessons we are reminded that in his time the Lord will both punish the wicked and vindicate the righteous.
Scripture: Psalm 94:1-23
Four things are promised to God’s people in verses 12-15. Yesterday we looked at the first promise, relief from days of trouble. Today we examine three more.
2. Eventual punishment for the wicked (v. 13). Then too, not only does God provide relief for the righteous, but he also assures them that those who oppress them will be punished in due time. In other words, “a pit” is being dug for them, and they will surely fall into it. Elsewhere in the psalms it is said that the wicked themselves dig the pit for others, but that they themselves fall in (Ps.7:15; 9:15; 35:7, 8).
3. The steadfast faithfulness of God (v. 14). The third promise is that God will not reject his people or forsake his inheritance. He may seem to do this at times, when deliverance is delayed. But his people are never abandoned in actuality. Paul told the Romans, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
4. The final triumph of righteousness (v. 15). Finally, there is a promise that judgment will again be established in righteousness. This may refer to times of moral renewal in Israel or in some other nation, for times like this do come. But in the ultimate sense it must refer to the day when the righteous kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ will be set up. It will be when the Almighty God will “make the nations his inheritance, the ends of the earth his possession” (Ps. 2:8), when “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10, 11).
Where do the righteous learn about these things? Where do they find such precious promises? The answer is in God’s law (v. 12). That is, they are sustained in life’s troubles by the Bible. Is that where you go when life becomes difficult for you or when you are called to endure something hard for Jesus Christ’? The author of Psalm 119 wrote, “Though princes sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors” (vv. 23, 24). God will provide wonderful comfort for you through Scripture if you read it.
Having assured the righteous of things God will do for them, the writer now adds a word of personal testimony, as if to say that what he has been promising to others he has proved true himself (vv. 16-19). In words that recall Psalm 73, he says that his foot was slipping (v. 18; see Ps. 73:2) but that God reached out to support him at nearly the last possible moment and provided comfort: “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul” (vv. 18, 19).
What is special about this stanza is the psalmist’s insistence that God was the only one who did this. It is not that he did not look for others. He did. He looked around for someone who would “take a stand for me against evildoers” (v. 16). But there was no one.
Have you ever felt like that? I am sure you have. It is not the way it is meant to be. Christians are to stand alongside one another to help one another and oppose wrongdoing together. But that does not always happen. When Paul was in his last imprisonment he wrote that everyone had abandoned him: all those in Asia (2 Tim. 1:15) and Demas, “because he loved this world” (2 Tim. 4:10). Indeed, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me” (v. 16). Nevertheless, he said, “The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength” (v. 17). If you feel abandoned, you should know that God will do exactly that for you.
What is promised regarding the wicked?
Summarize the personal testimony of the psalmist. Why does he include it here?
Reflection: Where do you go in times of trouble? When you are oppressed by the wicked and suffer for righteousness, do you humbly entrust your situation to the Lord and wait for him to act?
Key Point: God will provide wonderful comfort for you through Scripture if you read it.
Application: If you have not already done so, memorize Romans 8:28. Bring this verse to mind whenever you are bothered by the wicked.