God’s Word for You
Psalm 119:48 The miracle of faith
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, June 23, 2023
43 Do not tear the word of truth completely out my mouth,
for I wait for your judgments.
With a surprising illustration, our poet says, Don’t rip your words out of my mouth by the arguments of those who oppose you. Don’t let me be so shocked by their blasphemy or by their convoluted reasoning that I can’t find a way to answer them. One problem the Christian sometimes faces is that God wants us to take things in the kindest possible way (to “interpret charitably all that he does” and says, SC I:16). But unbelievers don’t do this. Unbelievers and skeptics attack with false logic, improper arguments, and fake news, all that leaves one’s head spinning.
Another way of taking this verse is that when God gives us crosses to bear (“your judgments”), then we wait and hope even more fervently, “more than watchmen wait for the morning” (Psalm 130:6). When we are being pressed down hard by the burdens of life, the world, arguing families, toxic relationships, failing health, loneliness, and all of the other hollow spaces in the fallen world, then we have nothing at all to rely upon other than the word of truth; the promises of God. The Lord graciously and wisely tests us, judges us, so that we will rely on him in all circumstances, and so that we will not be judged with the sinful world.
Don’t be afraid to examine our poet’s phrase, “the word of truth.” This verse asks God not to rip his word of truth completely from our lips. God gave us rebirth from sin and unbelief to faith and life through the word of truth (James 1:18). This is the word that came from God through the prophets (1 Kings 17:14); it is another name in the narrow sense for the gospel itself (Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5); or in the broad sense for the entire word of God (Psalm 119:160) which we must correctly handle, diving law from gospel (2 Timothy 2:15). God proclaims and teaches us that his word is true (Numbers 11:23), and in practice we see that this is always right: “that they shall learn that the word of the Lord is true” (Psalm 141:6); and that “every word of God true, and he is a shield to those who take refuge in him” (Proverbs 30:5).
When we are shocked by the ravings of the world, we can still speak the word of truth. Perhaps, to begin with, all I can think of is to quote the word of God, or the catechism. Isn’t that why we memorize those things, after all? So that they will be the first words from my mouth when there is a question, or even when there is an attack on the word of God? What is the childish doubt of the evolutionist on the text of Genesis? Isn’t it often, “But can’t the ‘days’ of Genesis be millions of years long, or longer?” This might solve what is in their minds an insoluble difficulty, but the simple word of truth is that the days of the creation account each had a normal, regular “evening and morning” (Genesis 1:5, 1:8, etc.), and that they were days like our days today.
The skeptic will claim that miracles are impossible, and yet the Bible reports them as historical facts. This is a simply matter of faith. The Christian believes that his faith is a miracle of God: “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us” (Romans 5:5), and faith is the work of God, not of man (Colossians 2:12). Therefore, if each Christian is the recipient of this kind of miracle, is it difficult to believe in other miracles? Jesus accepted miracles of the Old Testament as true (Matthew 12:39, 24:38-39; Luke 4:27, 17:32). Why should we not accept the miracles he himself did as being true? From the feeding of the five thousand to the withered fig tree, the judgment of God is that “all this took place” (Matthew 1:22).
In all things, it is both Christian wisdom and a simple faith that says, “I will wait for God’s judgments.” Whether this is God’s answer to a question, an answer we learn from his word, or his final judgment (“Well done, good and faithful servant”), we wait for him. All our hopes rely on him.
Pastor Timothy Smith