Vav (w) Stanza (41-48)
We are called to be witnesses for our Lord Jesus (Acts 1:8). We are called to use words. But we live in times when our words of witness invoke hostility. We can learn much from Daniel and his witness. Daniel knew nothing but a hostile environment, and yet from his youth up he was a faithful witness. When his enemies were trying to put him to death for his faithfulness, he never went into the Lord’s “secret service.” Delitzsch comments, “he prays for the grace of true, fearlessly joyful confession” (249).
God’s Love and a Good Response (41-42)
41 May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O Lord,
Your salvation according to Your word;
42 So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.
If there is anything that we see in this Psalm it is the psalmist’s continual prayer for God’s love, mercy, and faithfulness to be poured out on him. It is a reflection of his own deep sense of dependence on God. He prays here that God’s “lovingkindnesses” or “mercies” may come to him. Note the plural. The mercies which are new every morning must come to us again and again. They must come to us afresh. God never asks us to live on yesterday’s steadfast love, He promises it to us new every day.
The psalmist then, in a parallel thought, asks for God’s salvation, “according to Your Word.” The fresh mercies are his salvation. The believer, who is saved, needs to be saved every day. He does not need to be converted all over again, but he needs the saving grace and mercy of God to come to him to save him from himself and from the power of sin. The psalmist counts on God delivering because it is “according to Your Word,” or according to promise. How sweet it is to ask God for what He has already promised.
“How sweet it is to ask God for what He has already promised.”
The reason the psalmist counts on these mercies and this salvation is so that he has an answer to give to the scoffer, to the one reproaching him. Again, think Daniel. As Daniel was reproached for his faith and faithfulness, he asks God to give him mercies anew so that he can respond to the God-hater. The psalmist was anticipating 1 Pet. 3:15, being ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us.
Put Your Word of Truth in My Mouth (43-44)
43 And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
For I wait for Your ordinances.
44 So I will keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.
The NET translates v. 43, “Do not completely deprive me of a truthful testimony.” Perhaps he is using a strong negative (utterly) for a positive. “Give me the Word and the power to speak Your Word.” The reason is “For I wait for Your ordinance or Judgment,” that is he is waiting for God to decide the case. He is being faithful and waiting for His outcome.
It seems that the prayer is that as God intervenes, gives him the words to speak, in the midst of opposition, he is saying the result will be deeper obedience.
Freedom and No Shame (45-46)
45 And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.
46 I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings
And shall not be ashamed.
The psalmist then affirms, “I will walk at liberty” (literally, in a wide open place). Delitzsch explains this liberty, “Courageously and unconstrainedly, without allowing myself to be intimidated… inward freedom that expresses itself outwardly.”
I would paraphrase this prayer like this: “Lord, I have sought Your wisdom, Your Word, and it gives me freedom in my witness, power in my witness, boldness in my witness.”
Daniel would experience this boldness of speaking God’s Word without shame, speaking of God’s testimonies before Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, and probably countless others. The psalmist gives us an early echo of “I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16)
Fuel for faithfulness in our Witness (47-48)
47 I shall delight in Your commandments,
Which I love.
48 And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments,
Which I love;
And I will meditate on Your statutes.
Emotive words permeate the Psalm. “I delight in Your commandments! I love them!” And then a physical expression of the feeling of the heart, “I lift my hands to Your commandments,” that is, I have a fervent longing, an earnest desire, for Your Word, I praise You for it and long for it!”
What I need to be a faithful witness is to be full of the Word, soaked in the Word and dependent on God’s grace. The Holy Spirit takes the Word-soaked heart and uses it in that moment to testify and witness to God’s truth (Matt. 10:16-20).
I notice some people are so bold in their Gospel witness. They can start a conversation with anyone. Sometimes, however, I find myself not giving witness when I should. Sometimes we don’t open our mouths because we don’t love God and His truth enough. There needs to be something more powerful than the fear of man, and that is deep passion for God’s Word and a zeal for faithfulness. God will answer our prayers for the new mercies to be that faithful witness in our generation.