At this point in Psalm 119, the
writer has already written more verses than exist in any other psalm.
Most people who read the Bible have never actually read all the way
through Psalm 119 because it takes so much endurance! I remember one
teenager who told me that reading this psalm was like torture! I told him that’s exactly what the writer of this psalm felt like too! The writer is crying out to God- "Why do I need to keep going through this, God!?! I don’t feel like I can keep on going!"
Weariness can be exhausting! And it is in that fact that Psalm 119 is so real. The writer of this psalm is not singing about the glories of his own spiritual life. When he talks about God’s word being sweet to his soul, he is not glorifying himself. He is singing from the depth of the hardship of his circumstances. He cries out to God- because he is homesick for God’s way and God’s commands to reign in his life. And so he presses on.
The mark of a follower of Jesus is that in the face of "I-can’t-keep-going" pressure there is the presence of an unreleasable grip! It’s not that a Jesus Follower never lets go of God… its that God never lets go. His presence and his hope and his life is continual. And so in the midst of turmoil, the heart of the psalmist is empowered. In this way, a Jesus Follower is able to hold on to faith. God gives hope even in the midst of hopelessness. A follower of Jesus, the apostle Paul said, can be pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. A follower of Jesus can be perplexed, but refuses to give up and quit. A follower of Jesus can be hunted down, but never abandoned. A follower of Jesus can get knocked down, but is empowered by God to get up again and keep going (2 Cor 4.8-9).
And so, half-way through 119, here is the letter Kaf, verses 81-88 (from The Message):
81-88 I’m homesick—longing for your salvation;
I’m waiting for your word of hope.
My eyes grow heavy watching for some sign of your promise;
how long must I wait for your comfort?
There’s smoke in my eyes—they burn and water,
but I keep a steady gaze on the instructions you post.
How long do I have to put up with all this?
How long till you haul my tormentors into court?
The arrogant godless try to throw me off track,
ignorant as they are of God and his ways.
Everything you command is a sure thing,
but they harass me with lies. Help!
They’ve pushed and pushed—they never let up—
but I haven’t relaxed my grip on your counsel.
In your great love revive me
so I can alertly obey your every word.