Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday!
This week I am going to continue my series on Psalm 119.
For those who may not know, Psalm 119 is broken down into 22 stanzas and each stanza begins with one letter from the Hebrew Alphabet. Each stanza is broken up into 8 verses for a total of 176 verses. It is the longest Psalm in the Psaltry. And, Psalm 119 is an example of an acrostic, which is a poem where the first letter of each verse spells out a word, message, or follows the alphabet. In this case, Psalm 119 follows the Hebrew Alphabet.
My goal with this series is not lofty. I am not an expert on Psalm 119. I just love its symmetry and message, and I want to share that with you over the next 22 weeks. Perhaps I will be able to share some insight, some interesting tidbits and facts, or just some thoughts on how the verses strike me. My true goal is that this series is an extra encouragement to you, and helps you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. I hope you enjoy and are blessed!
Psalm 119: 81-88 (CJB Translation)
Kaf (the letter K; the k sounds like the k in kite; the af sounds like the word off)
I am dying to know Your salvation; my hope is in Your Word.
My eyes fail from watching for Your promise; I ask, “When will You comfort me?”
For I have shriveled like a wineskin in a smoky room; still, I don’t forget Your Laws.
How long can Your servant stay alive? When will You bring judgment on my persecutors?
The arrogant have dug pits for me to fall in; this is not in keeping with Your Torah!
All Your mitzvot (commands) show Your faithfulness; they are hounding me with lies; help me!
They have nearly ended my life on earth, but I have not abandoned Your precepts.
In keeping with Your grace, revive me; and I will observe Your spoken instructions.
Psalm 119 is all about hearing and doing the Scriptures.
Things are getting real for the psalmist! In this stanza you can feel his frustration and the change in his tone. The frustration stems from what the Bible says versus what is happening in the psalmist’s actual, authentic life. The Bible is full of God’s promises to His faithful children. The psalmist has spent the previous 80 lines extolling God, His promises, His faithfulness, and how the psalmist loves God’s Word and faithfully spends time in it daily. It’s been very clear that the psalmist LOVES God’s Word and is diligent in his relationship with God.
HOWEVER, life is beating this man up. Evil, wicked people are constantly hounding him, constantly trying to end his life. The psalmist is exhausted. In this stanza, it appears as if he is forcing himself to say, “I will still read Your Word, Lord, and I will still obey.”
I don’t doubt the psalmist’s intention to continue in his relationship with God. But I do feel like he has met a moment in life where he has to convince himself to continue on. Why? Because it doesn’t look like God is fulfilling His promises to His kids.
The psalmist has totally exhausted his eyeballs searching for God’s promises on this earth. He is physically shriveling up because he is desperately watching for God’s promise of comfort to come upon him, but it just doesn’t seem like God’s Word is coming about. It seems like the bad guys are winning!
Does this remind you of our times today? Can you relate to the psalmist? I certainly can.
So, this leads me to the letter associated with this stanza — the letter kaf.
The 11th letter, kaf, in Hebrew means “palm,” as in the palm of your hand. Kaf comes from the root word kafah, which means “to bend or bow down.” Think about what your fingers do when you bow them down — they cover the palm. This is where the word kaf, or palm, gets its connotation of being a protective covering.
So, what keeps the psalmist going back to his Bible time and time again even though in this moment (verses 81-88) it feels like there is a contradiction between what God says He will do and what is actually happening in the psalmist’s life? The promises!
Here is the greatest KAF (palm) promise from the Bible:
“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me” (Isaiah 49:16 ESV).
Doesn’t this make you want to “Lift up [your] heart and PALMS to God in heaven” (Lamentations 3:41)? Doesn’t it make you want to “lift up [your] PALMS toward God’s commandments…and meditate on His statutes” (Psalm 119:48 ESV)?
Here’s the point the psalmist is trying to make: life LOOKS like it contradicts God’s Word and His promises BUT looks can be deceiving. Even if we have to force ourselves because life FEELS so hopeless, we must be in God’s Word daily. It’s a perspective thing. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 (ESV), “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Why? Because these things lead us to God’s Truth — those promises the psalmist so desperately longs to see. And, isn’t being told that your name is engraved on God’s hand one of the BEST promises ever?! This definitely makes me want to spend time with God.
In God’s time, everything will happen as He says it will happen. Remember, God has YOU engraved on the palms of His hand, too. He has not forgotten you. His promises will be fulfilled. Do not lose HOPE!
NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN!
WHAT BIBLICAL VERSE IS ENCOURAGING YOU TODAY?
Check out more Thursday Encouragement from my fellow blogger friends:
Trisha @ Joy of Reading
Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home
Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective
Becca @ The Becca Files
Gina @ Stories by Gina
Rebecca @ Rev. Rebecca Writes
Andi @ Radiant Light
Leslie @ Words of Hope
Claudia @ Claudia Moser
Keneesha @ Women Loving God’s Way