78: TRIAL – STANDING FIRM IN HARDSHIP: Delight in God’s ways, however, is not removed from the realities of our struggles. In verse 78, the psalmist gets specific about the situation of life that he is facing. While the Lord may discipline him for his own good, it would seem here that there are people who are abusing him. There seem to have been people who had harmed him or maligned him in some way. We don’t know the details. We just catch a glimpse here that the person who wrote this psalm is suffering under the weight of people who are wronging him unjustly. And I think many of us can relate to this. For many of us the year that has ended has brought unfair circumstances upon us and we have begun the New Year in struggle and in fear and in pain and upset that there is so much wrong in our lives that we had nothing to do with.
One constant since the beginning of humanity has been that people have suffered for no good reason. And I mean no good reason. We were created good, but when we rejected good, we received bad. And ever since people have suffered hardship whether it be physical (through sickness or plight) or personal (through the hurtful hands of others). The point of verse 78 is that the psalmist is trusting God to right the wrongs that are beyond his control. No resolution of his own can fix this problem. The only thing he can do is to stand firm in the hardship by trusting God to act justly. And in return he is pledging himself to live according to God’s ways. God is a God of unfailing love and unending compassion, so the psalmist is committing himself to God. He’s promising to walk humbly with God. He wants God to bring to justice those who are utilizing hurt and abuse for their own gain, and for his demise. He wants God to bring justice because he knows he was not created for unjust treatment. “Your hands formed me, God. Don’t let people treat me like this. Bring justice. And God, in the hardship, I will look to you.” He says, verse 78: “May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts.” These others, they failed to live according to God’s ways. But the author is not going to stoop to that game. Despite the hardship, he’s going to live the way God made him to live.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. But that brings us to verse 79 and the reminder that we are not alone in hardship. For better or for worse, we are surrounded by a multitude of witnesses who are in community with us.