My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.
Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?
For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.
How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?
The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.
All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.
They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.
Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth
Caph is the eleventh section of this Psalm. We have reached the middle. This middle has been said to be the “midnight of the Psalm” (Psalms Commentary). It is within this section we see the despair our writer is feeling. He is almost to the point of giving up, to the point of throwing in his towel, so to speak. His soul is fainting. His eyes are failing. He is like a bottle in the smoke (that is his body and mind have become exhausted). He is being persecuted wrongfully. They have laid traps for him. They have almost made an end of him. He is definitely feeling this midnight.
Yet, as like the darkest night, one star seems to always shine through. He has reached the lowest low, yet he still has hope in God’s word. He still remembers God’s statutes. He knows God’s commandments are faithful. He knows God offers help. He knows that forsaking God’s precepts is not the answer. He wants to be revived.
Have we ever experienced a midnight like this? Have we ever had moments in our lives that seem to be nothing but discouraging, everything seems to go wrong, and it’s one bad thing after another? It’s during those moments in our lives that it is so difficult to see the good. Deep down, we know it is still there, but it takes a whole lot of squinting to see it. This is how the psalmist was feeling right now. He was doing what was right, just as he has been throughout this Psalm, yet the persecution keeps pressing. He even comes to the point of asking “when will you execute judgement on them that persecute me?” (Psalm 119:84). We know vengeance belongs to God (Deuteronomy 32:35; Hebrews 10:30). We know He is the judge (Romans 2:16). Yet, sometimes we feel that the persecutors are prospering, and we are sinking in persecutions. But, just like the Psalmist, we need to remember that ALL of God’s commandments are faithful (Psalm 119:86). We need to squint with all of our might and see that faithfully following and obeying God’s word (ALL of His statutes, commandments, and precepts) is what is takes to defeat those persecutors.
God will pull us out of this dark midnight if we are faithful to Him because He Himself is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9). He will never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). If we feel as though we are in this pit that has been dug for us (Psalm 119:85), we need to remember God is still there waiting to pull us out. We just need to ask for help (Psalm 119:86). God is our refuge, strength and an abundantly available help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
In the dark of the midnight one star can shine bright. It is hope that keeps us shining. It is this hope that can sustain us throughout this midnight. It is the perseverance and determination to get to those better days that keeps us from getting consumed by the world. Be like the Psalmist. Remember to cling to God with all your strength. It’s during our “midnights” that we need not to let go.
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by Kristina Odom