“HOPE IN OUR AFFLICTION"
INTRO: Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD,
and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the
waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see
when the heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be
careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."
Of all the things which mankind must have to survive, there is one
which is a vital necessity. That is HOPE. "Man can live about forty
days without food, about three days without water, about eight
minutes without air…but only for one second without hope."(Albert
M. Wells, Jr. Inspiring Quotations-Contemporary & Classical. p. 90).
Bishop Arthur Moore told of a man who jumped to his death from the
window of a high-rise. A janitor in the building knew the man and
commented on his suicide by saying, "When a man has lost God,
there ain't nothing to do but jump." Fortunately, God will never be
lost as long as we "seek Him with all our heart." (Jeremiah 29:13). A
great Scottish preacher said, "The most profane word we use is
‘hopeless.’ When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you are
slamming the door in the face of God." (Raymond McHenry. The Best
of In Other Word. p. 132). At the famous Menninger Foundation, Dr.
Bruce Larson asked some of the staff to identify the single most
important ingredient in the treatment of the emotionally disturbed.
The entire staff was unanimous in singling out hope as the most
important factor in treatment. Regardless of one’s mental status,
hope is necessary for survival (Raymond McHenry. The Best
of In Other Word. p. 133).
The Christian, according to 1 Peter 1:3, has a "living hope" in Christ
Jesus! "Other men see only a hopeless end, but the Christian rejoices
in an endless hope." (Albert M. Wells, Jr. Inspiring Quotations-
Contemporary & Classical. p. 90). The hymn-writer wrote: "My hope is
built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not
trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ,
the solid Rock I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, all other
ground is sinking sand." Unless a person, then, has Jesus Christ he
has no hope for the future! Job 8:11-14 says, "Can the rush grow up
without mire? Can the flag grow without water? whilst it is yet in his
greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb. So
are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrites hope shall
perish: Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's
web." During the most trying times in your life, where does your hope
lie? Although the author of this Psalm is not known, it is evident that
the psalmist found himself in a trying time in his life. Where did he
find the strength to endure this? He found his strength in GOD’S
WORD! Let us look at this subject, "Our Hope In Affliction." Let us
(1) GOD'S WORD PRODUCES HOPE
PSALM 119:49—“Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which
thou hast caused me to hope.”
A. THE PEACE GOD’S WORD GIVES. Psalm 119 is the Old Testament's
greatest expression of love for God's law. The psalmist meditated upon the
law, loved it, and delighted in it. To him, it was something to be obeyed.
By obeying it, light and guidance were given, and fellowship was
established with the living God! (Alton H. McEachern. Layman’s Bible
Commentary. Volume 8-Psalms. p. 140). Later in this same psalm in v165
the psalmists declares—“Great peace have they which love thy law: and
nothing shall offend them.” God’s word produces peace and gives hope!
ILLUS: Charles Spurgeon wrote concerning this verse: “What a charming
verse is this! It deals not with those who perfectly keep the law, for
where should such men be found? but with those who love it,
whose hearts and hands are made to square with its precepts and
demands. These men are ever striving, with all their hearts, to
walk in obedience to the law, and though they are often persecuted
they have peace, yea, great peace; for they have learned the secret
of the reconciling blood, they have felt the power of the comforting
Spirit, and they stand before the Father as men accepted. The Lord
has given them to feel his peace, which passed all understanding.
They have many troubles, and are likely to be persecuted by the
proud, but their usual condition is that of deep calm - a peace too
great for this little world to break… That peace which is founded
upon conformity to God's will is a living and lasting one, worth
writing of with enthusiasm, as the Psalmist here does.” (Charles H.
Spurgeon. The Treasury of David. e-Sword. Version 7.7.0.
Copyright 200-2005. Rick Meyers. All Rights Reserved Worldwide).
The Psalmist here says—“…thou hast caused me to hope.” God will never
disappoint us! God will never let us down! This brings great peace to our
hearts! As believers, "We rest with assurance upon the impregnable rock of
Holy Scripture." Winston Churchill, British politician and Prime Minister.
(1874-1965) (Bible Illustrator For Windows. Version 3.0f. Copyright 1990-
1998, by Parson’s Technology. All Rights Reserved). Isaiah 26:3 assures
us—“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.”
B. THE PROMISES GOD’S WORD GIVES. The Psalmist requests God that He
would keep His promise to His servant, for this was his hope! He realized
that the LORD'S promises are sure; therefore he has hope! The Palmist
declares, “All the hope which I have has been excited by thy word; thy
promises. I have no other source of hope; I cherish no other hope. I pray
now, since that hope has been thus excited in me, that I may realize all I
have been led to desire and to expect.” The word of God is the only
foundation of hope for people; and when our hopes are fairly built on that,
we have a right to appeal to God that he will make it good. (Albert Barnes’
Notes On The Bible. e-Sword. Version 7.7.0. Copyright 200-2005. Rick
Meyers. All Rights Reserved Worldwide).
ILLUS:Vance Havner remembers, “Many years ago, my father and mother
put into my hands an Old Book. They said, 'It'll be a lamp to your
feet and a light to your path.' There were times when the winds of
doubt blew pretty hard. The storms seemed to dampen the glow.
Sometimes the darkness was frightening, but that old Light has
seen me through to this good hour. I heard about a camp meeting
back in the old days. One night, it looked like a storm was coming
up, and they had no lanterns. The preacher had to walk down by
a dangerous cliff to where he was staying. So an old farmer got
together some "lighters," as we call them in the Blue Ridge
mountains. He got a branch of pine wood, set it on fire, and
brought the torch to the preacher, 'This will see you home,' he
said. The preacher said, 'I don't know about that. What if it
rains?' 'It'll see you home.' 'But what if the wind blows it out?'
But that farmer knew his pine lighters. 'It'll see you home.' And it
did. 'Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already
come." (Vance Havner. The Vance Havner Notebook. pp. 167-168).
Friends, if only we will rest in the promises contained in this Book, we will
have HOPE as we travel this pilgrim way! Psalm 19:7-8 tells us—“The law
of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the
heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” I want
you to notice the words there: “the testimony of the LORD is sure…”. The
word "sure" is translated from a Hebrew word that means "firm, stable, may
be safely leaned upon, certain, and true." “The testimony of the LORD
(which witnesses for Him to us), is sure, incontestably and inviolably sure,
what we may give credit to, may rely upon, and may be confident it will not
deceive us. It is a sure discovery of Divine truth, a sure direction in the way
of duty. It is a sure foundation of living comforts and a sure foundation of
lasting hopes." (Matthew Henry) (Matthew Henry. The Quotable Matthew
Henry. p. 17).
GOD’S WORD PRODUCES HOPE but let us also see that…
(2) GOD'S WORD PRODUCES COMFORT
PSALM 119:50—“ This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath
A. THE REALITY OF COMFORT. The psalmist declared that God's Word
brought him comfort during his suffering. The word "comfort" here means
“consolation and peace of mind." God's Word has become his symbol of
hope and it is his source of comfort (Colossians 3:16)! God’s Word was his
only encouragement. It was God’s Word that brought him HOPE! It was
God’s Word which gave him comfort!
B. THE REASON FOR COMFORT. I want you to look at those words in the
last part of v50—“ for thy word hath quickened me.” He had this comfort in
God's Word because it had "quickened" him. The word "quicken" here
means "to make alive." That is what God's Word is and what it does
(Hebrews 4:12)! God's Word made us alive when we were dead in sin; it
has several times made us lively when we were dead in duty; it has made
us alive to that which is good, when we were far from it; and it has
quickened us in that which is good, when we were cold and indifferent."
(Matthew Henry). Why does God's Word bring us comfort? :
It Reveals To Us Who We Are (John 15:5).
It Reveals For Us Who He Is (John 1:1-5; 9-14).
It Reveals To Us What Our Duty Is (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 2:5, 9-10).
“God’s Word is an enemy for depression, an escape from temptation, the
promise of the future, as well as a guide, hope, and inspiration for now and
always.” (Al and Brenda Taylor) (Albert M. Wells, Jr. Inspiring Quotations-
Contemporary & Classical. p. 16).
But God's Word can be of little comfort to us unless we receive it and
remember it (v52). If the word stays not in the memory, it cannot profit.
Many can remember better an article they read in the newspaper, or a
scene from a movie than they can remember a line of Scripture. That is
why the Psalmist declared, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might
not sin against thee," (v11) and "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light
unto my path" (v105).
Someone has said, "A Bible that is falling apart probably belongs to a
person who isn't!"
ILLUS:What does your Bible mean to you? A man was injured in an
explosion in Kansas City resulting in a badly disfigured face and
the loss of his eyesight. He also lost both arms in the explosion.
One of his greatest disappointments, however, was in his
realization that he could no longer read the Bible as he had done
for years. He heard of a young lady in England who had learned to
read the Bible in Braille with her lips. Much to his dismay, the
nerve endings on his lips were so severely damaged in the fire that
he could not utilize them to read. Accidentally, he brushed the
raised Braille characters with his tongue and discovered that he
could learn to read Braille with his tongue. At last count the
disabled man had read the Bible through four times! And we have
difficulty reading the Bible? (Dr. David Sylvester. Great Stories.
Volume 12. October-December 1996. p. 6).
GOD’S WORD PRODUCES HOPE, GOD’S WORD PRODUCES COMFORT and finally let us see that…
(3) GOD'S WORD SWEETENS OUR WALK
PSALM 119:54-56—“Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my
pilgrimage. I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and
have kept thy law. This I had, because I kept thy precepts.”
A. THE CONSOLATION IN OUR WALK. The Psalmist said that God's Word
consoled him even in the pressures of life so that he could sing the praises
of God (v54). God never promised us that our Christian life would be easy,
but He did promise us His presence and has given us a song as we travel
along life's way (Psalm 40:2-3)! The song He has given us praises God
even in adversity (Philippians 4:4). Think about Paul and Silas shut up in
that prison. What were they doing? Feeling sorry for themselves and
having a pity-party? No, The Scriptures tell us, "And at midnight Paul and
Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them."
(Act 16:25). They rejoiced in the God of their salvation and sang from their
hearts! The Psalmist realized like all of God’s servants that this world was
not his home but he was a pilgrim in it seeking a better country. But he
did not sigh over that fact, but rather, he sang about it! “Thy statutes have
been my songs…” he said. God’s Word had been the source of his joy!
They were his happiness, consolation, and delight. He found pleasure in
meditating on them. He found joy and peace in them in times of trouble
ILLUS: "I wish I could sing; I think I'd feel weller then!" said a little seven-
year-old lad in Bellevue Hospital while a surgeon was examining
him to find out what injuries he had sustained in a fall into a 12-
foot deep excavation. "All right, laddie; you can sing if you will
sing something nice," said the kindhearted Dr. McLean. The little
fellow began to sing in a high, clear soprano, "Nearer, My God, To
Thee." As the childish notes rang out, nurses, doctors and
attendants from various parts of the hospital began to steal in
until there were fully a hundred people in the room. "Well, I guess
you are right, little man," said the doctor as he finished his
examination; "I can't find any broken bones." "I guess it was the
singin' that fixed me," replied the boy. "I always sing when I feel
bad." If we grown-ups would do as this little boy did--sing when
we "feel bad," no matter what our loss or misfortune or trouble--we
would certainly "feel weller." --The Sunday School Banner (Bible
Illustrator For Windows. Version 3.0f. Copyright 1990-1998, by
Parson’s Technology. All Rights Reserved).
B. THE CONSIDERATION IN OUR WALK. The Psalmist said, “I have
remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law. This I
had, because I kept thy precepts.” When you consider something you think
about it, deliberate upon it, weigh the options, and to reflect upon it. As the
Psalmist considered his walk with God he said—“I have remembered thy
name, O LORD…and have kept thy law.” We see in vv. 54-56 three things
the Psalmist had:
A Readiness To Rejoice (v54).
A Readiness To Remember (v55a).
A Readiness To Respond (vv. 55b-56).
If we are going to have a walk that is sweet we must do the same! We must:
1) Be ready to Rejoice in The LORD and His Word, 2) Be ready to remember
the LORD at all times, and 3) Be ready to respond to the LORD'S Word and
This Christian life can either be sweet or burdensome; the choice is ours.
We can either rest in God's Word and go singing along life's way, or else, we
can reject and resist God's Word and be burdened down with worry and
In Psalm 104:33-34 the Psalmist said—“ I will sing unto the LORD as long
as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of
him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.” Friend, will you do that?
The trials, troubles, and cares of this life are hard enough! But they are
especially hard when Satan has stolen your song! When you cannot rejoice
in the Lord, then friend, Satan has you precisely where he wants you!
CLOSING: One of the greatest things God has given us, apart from Salvation
and unlimited access to His throne in prayer, is the Word of God!
In it we can find the answer to all of life's most pressing problems,
in it we can find strength to serve Him in all situations, and in it we
can find comfort and consolation during our trying times. But
unless we hid in our hearts and rely on it during our affliction, then
this precious Old Book means little to us!
God's Word brings us hope when there seems to be no hope! I ask
you today, "where do you find your hope during affliction?" It can
be found in the pages of this precious Old Book!