Lent Devotional: Psalm 119:161-168
by Jonathan Haefs
Psalm 119:161-168 (click here to read the entire passage)
Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil…
Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous rules.
Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble. (Psalm 119:161-162 and 164-165)
I’ve never been in a hurricane.
I have seen the aftermath and utter devastation that such a storm leaves in its wake, but I’ve never actually been through one myself. Still, in all the footage I’ve watched and stories I’ve heard, the thing that has always amazed me most about these “natural” disasters is the “eye of the storm.”
It simply blows my mind how there is a place in the center of mass chaos and destruction that is actually, perfectly at peace.
What blows my mind even more is that I have met people who embody this “eye of the storm” reality.
I’ve walked alongside people who have hurricane like storms ripping through their lives. Sometimes it is health, sometimes finances… or it can be relational or vocational… I’ve even had the honor of walking alongside people on the holy ground headed towards death itself. And, in all that I have seen and heard, the thing that always amazes me most is how these people have a heart like the “eye of the storm.” In the center of mass chaos and destruction, their hearts and minds seem to be a place of peace.
How is that possible?
The Psalmist sings an answer to our question in Psalm 119:161, “Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words.”
Amidst persecution that is surely leaving an aftermath of destruction in its wake… the Psalmist still sings because his heart keeps its eyes fixed on the Word of God. His situation does not speak the final truth over what is happening in his life… God’s Word does!
The world does not define the way he sees God’s Word. No! God’s Word defines the way he sees the world!
And the Word declares that God is good, God is in control, and God can be trusted. The Psalmist soaks his mind in these truths… verse 164, “Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous rules.” And this shapes all his experiences… verse 165, “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.”
Setting the eyes of his heart on the Word makes his heart like the “eye of the storm!”
What about you and me? When the chaos of this life swirls around us… where do we go for some kind of foundation to stand on? Where do we look for some peace like the eye of the storm?
The Psalmist cries out for us to turn our gaze upon God through his Word. Nothing is worth more… for everything else will fail us! But through the Word, the eyes of our heart behold the one who is of supreme worth… the only one who can hold our hearts and give us peace like the eye of the storm.
“I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.” (Psalm 119:162)