look on my affliction and deliver me,

for i do not forget your law.

plead my cause and redeem me;

give me life according to your promise!

[psalm 119:153-154]


when i am in a terrible state of affliction, the last thing i want to look at is a law book. yet the psalmist begs God to look at his distress and deliver him from it, because he does not forget God’s law. what is the correlation between pain and God’s law?

thankfully, God’s law is drastically different from earthly laws, because God’s covenant promises are interwoven in his law. the mosaic law is rich with guidelines on how to live for God through sacrifices, daily living, handling conflict, and more. believers can read this law, knowing that these rules are written by God:

the God who steadfastly removed his people from egypt through parting the red sea…

… the God who let manna rain down to provide for his people’s human need,

… the God who brought living water through a rock.

we read the law through the lens that God promised to take his people out of slavery, and has rules for them to live holy lives so that he can be king over their hearts, because he is the best king who gives life, not death.

the psalmist acknowledges that God is a God who keeps his promises. the psalmist probably remembers how God was faithful to his promise to take the israelites to the promised land. he is now asking for God’s continued deliverance.

the law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. [psalm 19:7]

we find God’s law and his promises in his word. it extends beyond the mosaic covenant, as the bible is all God’s divine word- his instruction for us on how to live for him, but it is also the evidence of his faithfulness in delivering his people.

in your pain, do you turn to God’s word first?

it can be so tempting to try to “escape” the pain by running to netflix, food, or social media first. or we seemingly trying to fix the problem without God’s intervention. but none of these are ultimately perfect solutions… they will only leave us unsatisfied, wanting something more.

God’s word is perfect because God is perfect. he knows what you need most in your pain: him. the word “reviving” in psalm 19 is mə·šî·ḇaṯ, which means “to turn back to.” we must turn back to God in our pain, because he is the giver and sustainer of life.

God promises that he will come back to redeem his people from this broken world. in that redemption, he promises that he will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more pain (revelation 21:4). until that day, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of that inheritance (ephesians 1:13-14). we can trust him, for his testimony is sure.

Lord Jesus, come back. thank you, God, that your testimony is sure and that your word never fails. Holy Spirit, turn our hearts to God in the midst of our earthly pain as we wait for Jesus’ return. give us a hunger for your law above all the false things this world has to offer. amen.



~ jm