Ps 119:81-83 (KJV) 81) … My soul fainteth for thy salvation: [but] I hope in thy word.
82) Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?
83) For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; [yet] do I not forget thy statutes.
Have you ever been in a situation that seemed to be hopeless? Did you ever feel as if you were all alone as you faced a tragedy in your life? Here, in our text we find the author of this Psalm (probably King David) recording an event in which he felt both hopeless and alone. In the next three “Think on These Things” we will be looking at these verses, trying to find a remedy when we face these same feelings during our walk on earth. As we continue our study, we are going to see that the remedy will involve different aspects of God’s Word.
All three of these verses follow a pattern involving two basic parts:
a. an explanation of his feelings during times of tragedy b. a remedy for those feelings
In today’s devotion, the final of our three part series, I would like us to look at verse 83 –
For I am become like a bottle in the smoke;
In the days that this Psalm was written a “bottle” referred to a bag made from the bladder, stomach or skins of animals sown together to form a container for solids or liquids. When placed above a flame these bottles became brittle, dried out and worthless to its user.
The Psalmist is telling us that during this dreadful time of trial, he felt as if he was gradually falling apart, fading away, and prematurely aging, rendering him useless to the Lord and to others. In other words, he felt as if this trial he was facing was gradually “killing him”. (Psa 31:9-10, Psa 102:1-9)
[yet] do I not forget thy statutes.
In the midst of his feelings of uselessness, decay and ruin, the Psalmist tells us of the importance of God’s Word. Unlike the previous two verses, the Psalmist uses the term “statutes” to describe God’s Word. Why is this? The idea of a “statute” involves a responsibility that is handed down, or to be appointed to a position or ministry. As the Psalmist looked to His Word, he was being reminded of the responsibilities God had placed upon him. But along with teaching him about his responsibilities, he is told of His promise to enable him to serve.
Most certainly, if he was left to himself the Psalmist would be like the bottle in smoke, unable to complete the tasks laid before him. However, the Lord promised to him that He would intervene and enable him to do what He had called him to do.
When the tragedies of life seemingly render us useless, in His Word, we find that the Lord not only calls us to serve Him but enables us as well. Although we may feel unable, He is working in us, empowering us to do that which would be humanly impossible.
1. In the first installment of this series we saw that when the burdens of this life bring about feelings that we cannot continue on, we can receive strength through His Word that we will be delivered from this present evil world and enter into the eternal presence of our Savior, the Lord Jesus.
2. In the second installment of this series we saw that, when our burdens leave us with feelings of loneliness and abandonment, we are to run to His Word and live in it, seeking truths about the Lord’s person, works and promises of blessings on our behalf.
3. In this final installment we find that, when our trials seem to render us useless, not only does the Lord call us to serve, but He graciously works in us enabling us to fulfill our calling.
The key to standing in the midst of the trials of this life is staying in the Word. It is in His Word that we find strength, comfort and hope to continue on faithfully until we go home to be with Him.
May the Lord bless us as we “Think On These Things”.
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