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God’s Word for You

Psalm 119:44 Always and forever

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, August 19, 2023

44 Then I will keep your law continually,
  always and forever.

In the previous verse, the poet prayed, “Do not tear your word from my mouth” and “I wait for your judgments.” Now he follows with a string of subordinate results which he phrases as promises: “Then I will keep…” (v. 44), “Then I will walk…” (v. 45), and “Then I will speak…” (v. 46). These are all words connected with blessings from God: “You have declared (spoken) this day that the Lord is your God and you will walk in his ways and that you will keep his decrees” (Deuteronomy 26:17). It reminds us of the blessed man in Psalm 1:1-2 and of the wise son in Proverbs 2:20. David said to Solomon, “Observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways and keep his decrees and commands” (1 Kings 2:3).

When he says, “I will keep your law continually, always and forever,” or “forever and ever” as some translations say, we have first of all a confession that the Holy Spirit will not depart from the believer, second of all a confession that the word of God is eternal and unchanging, and third of all a confession of faith in the resurrection and eternal life.

“God made his light shine in our hearts to give us light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). This is the work of the Holy Spirit, who will not depart from us. God comforts us in all our troubles in order that we might comfort those in any trouble with the same comfort we have been given by God (2 Corinthians 1:4). The Spirit’s promise to dwell with us for our whole lives gives us confidence and peace knowing that we are each his temple, and he is always with us (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19).

Since the poet of our Psalm says “I will keep your law continually,” we are assured that the law will not change. What God has declared, stands. His promise of salvation through Christ that was spoken to Adam and Eve in the Garden is still the same promise we are given today. The difference is only in clarity: We see Christ knowing his name and history; they saw Christ only as a future promise. But the same Christ that was in Adam’s heart is also in your heart.

With the words “always and forever” or “forever and ever,” our poet declares that this eternal continuity of God’s word will not change even after the resurrection from the dead. The rules will not change after we arrive in heaven. Christ is our righteousness and our robe, and he always will be. So a man’s place in heaven cannot be lost once he is brought inside its eternal gates in the resurrection.

The verse sets our confidence squarely on the Word of God, the eternal Word. “For God’s Word is almighty, therefore faith and the Spirit was busy and never resting, and must always be active and engaged in combat. Consequently, the word of God must not have insignificant foes, but the most powerful foes, against whom it can gain honor according to its great might; these four companions—the flesh, the world, death and the devil—are such. Therefore Christ is called “Lord of Armies” (Sabaoth), a God of warfare or of hosts, who always makes war and is engaged in combat in us” (Luther). For sin lives in us, in our inherited flesh, and the devil sows weeds in our hearts and attacks us with his lies, his poisoned words, and his dirty tricks. But the Spirit constantly assures us of our forgiveness in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the word that stands forever, and that hefts us up and carries us aboard the ship of the harvest because we bear the marks of our baptism and of a living faith, and we will be brought safely and swiftly with a fresh breeze into the harbor of everlasting life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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