Faint but Pursuing

Michael Wilcock

READ : Psalm 119:81-88

My eyes fail . . . Your commands are trustworthy. (vv. 82, 86 NIV)

Over several days now we have seen the psalmist putting into poetry a lot of his bad experiences. Just in case you, the reader, are yourself having a bad time, and thinking that “Nobody, not even the psalmist, knows the trouble I’ve seen,” he now goes even further. The first verb in verses
81, 82, and 87 – in Hebrew it begins with kaph – means “destroyed” or “finished.” The psalmist has come to the end of his tether. The wineskin in verse 83 is dried and cracked and will never again be any use to anyone. That, he says, is just like me.

In such circumstances his deepest convictions, cultivated by the practice of many years, come to his rescue. He feels terrible; but he knows that whatever his feelings, God’s facts are still true, supremely the fact that God has spoken. All the eight law-words are here (“judgments” is the one that lies behind verse 84), but all are aspects of this one great fact. To the words of God he clings, and amid all his distress he turns back to them again and again. They are the evidence of the living God who still through all these traumatic events is doing what he has said he will do.


“When all around my soul gives way, Thy Word is all my hope and stay.”