Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
From the depths!
Always from the depths the cry of the people of God in this present world ascends unto Jehovah their God.
It must needs be so.
For such is the good pleasure of Him, Who work- eth all things after the counsel of His own will, that He should reveal Himself as the Highest unto those that are in the depths, as the Blessed to them that are in misery, as the Light to them that are in darkness, as the Living to the dead, as the mighty Lord to them that have no hope of deliverance, as the Justifier of the ungodly, as the One that quickens the dead, the Life and the Resurrection, the glorious, ever blessed God!
Hence, He leads many children to glory through sin and death.
His way leads through the depths!
Real depths! Depths of darkness in which there is no ray of human hope, from which there is no way out, in which no possibilities of escape present themselves, from which no human power can deliver. Depths of sin and guilt, for the which there is no atonement among men, from the dominion and power of which no human might can liberate; and of death, irrevocable, implacable death, the shackles of which are unbreakable for ever. Depths of suffering and misery, of affliction and sorrow, from which there is no escape, and for which there is no comfort; of problems and questionings for the which there is no solution, and that never receive an answer from the wise men of this world; of anger, and wrath, of desolation and trouble, in the midst of’ which and under the oppressing power of which we pine away. Depths in which all is vanity and vexation of spirit, and in which men labor and toil without ever being able to leave the track of the vicious circle in which they run. vanity of vanities. . . .
Depths in which all human power and wisdom are exposed as utter impotence and foolishness.
Through those depths it pleases God to lead His children to the blessed heights of eternal life and glory, of righteousness and the resurrection from the dead, of perfect fellowship in His heavenly tabernacle, in order that His glory may appear, and they may taste that the Lord is good!
Out of those depths He redeems them, when there is no human redeemer; He delivers them, when there is no deliverer; He calls them and shows them the way out, when all escape is cut off.
And while they are still in the depths, though they are already delivered; while they are still in sin, though they are already justified; while they are still in the midst of death, though they have already been raised from the dead; while they are still in this world, and the world hates them, and in this world they must still suffer tribulation, though they are already in heaven; while this strange and paradoxical situation exists, they cry to Him out of the depths. For as children of God in the body of this death they already taste that the Lord is good, and they long and hope and groan for the perfect deliverance, for the light of the perfect day, the beauty of which they see afar off, and in which they shall see face to face. . . .
And to those children, still in the depths, though in principle delivered from them, Jehovah gives His Word!
His blessed, precious Word!
Blessed, because in and through it the pilgrims of the night behold the glorious light of final salvation.
Precious, indeed, because it is all they have, while they are still in the depths. There is nothing else in all the world to which they can cling. Everything else is against them, contradicts them, opposes them, would destroy their faith and hope. That Word is the sole ray of light in the darkness of the depths!
God’s Word unto His servants!
The Word upon which He causes them to hope!
And hoping upon that Word, they cry out of the depths:
Remember, O Lord, that Word!
Come, Lord Jesus!
Remember the word!
That this is the meaning of the Word of God in this text from the one hundred and nineteenth psalm, is very plain from the context.
The Psalmist is in the depths, representing all the children of God that lie in the midst of death “outside of Christ.”
Does he not, in this particular section of the psalm, speak of his comfort in his affliction, vs. 50; does he not complain that the proud have had him greatly in derision, vs. 51; and that horror hath taken hold upon him, because of the wicked that forsake the law of the Lord, vs. 53; is he not referring to his present position in the world as the house of his pilgrimage, and does he not speak of remembering the name of Jehovah in the night? vss. 54, 55.
O, indeed, he is in the depths!
And in those depths he had heard and does hear the Word of God! Of that Word he speaks in every single verse of the section. It is the Word on which he hopes, the Word that has quickened him and that is his comfort; it is the law of Jehovah, from which he does not decline, or it is the “judgments” of the Lord, through the remembrance of which he comforted himself. That Word, now conceived as the “statutes” of his God, has been the theme of his song in the house of his pilgrimage, and as he kept the precepts of the Lord, he found consolation and strength in the remembrance of His name.
In the depths he hears the Word of God!
And so he cries, representing all the children of God of all ages: “Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope!”
Evidently, the Word of God is here conceived as a word of promise. For it is as such that it is the ground of his hope, and that he desires the Lord to remember His word. And a promise, the promise is the Word of God unto His servants in the world throughout. For it is not to any particular promise or part of the Word of God that the psalmist refers in these words. It is the Word of God to His servant, of which he is speaking. That Word to him is one and always the same. It may be manifold in riches. It may have many aspects. It may come to God’s servants in many forms. And accordingly, it may be designated by different names, such as law, judgments, statutes, precepts, name of Jehovah, or simply Word of God. But always it is essentially promise, gospel, the Word of God concerning His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the promise of final and complete deliverance from all sin and death, from all the oppression of the enemy, and from the fury of the forces of darkness; the promise of perfect and universal justification and victory, and of eternal life and glory in God’s heavenly tabernacle, through the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord!
The Word unto thy servant!
It is the Word of promise of which God is the Author and Finisher, that is rooted in Him, grounded on Him, and that is as sure as the oath of Him that cannot lie!
It is the Word God spoke to His children in the depths, to His servants in the night of their pilgrimage, from the very beginning of the world, which He declared again and again, enlarging upon it, opening it up to exhibit always greater riches, through patriarchs and prophets, through types and shadows; which He fulfilled and fully declared through Jesus Christ, His Son in our flesh, crucified and slain as the Lamb without blemish, raised from the dead on the third day, and exalted at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens; the Word that was preached by the apostles and evangelists, and that is still preached through the Holy Scriptures by the Church of Jesus Christ in the world until He come! . . . .
The Word of promise unto God’s servants in the depths!
And they hear it!
O, indeed, they hear the promise as the Word of God to them!
Thus the psalmist speaks of it: the word unto thy servant. There is a Word of God for him, and he knows it. The Word of promise is addressed to him personally, and he hears it. There is no doubt in his soul that the Most High has spoken to him.
How did the Word of God address the psalmist, and how did he hear it? Does he, perhaps, have reference to a very special and particular revelation, through which Jehovah delivered a personal promise of salvation to him? This would seem very improbable, for always he speaks of the Word of God in general terms, as the law, the precepts, the judgments and statutes of Jehovah. It is no doubt to that same Word of God, as it had come to the heirs of the promise in the world from the beginning, and as it had been preserved in the Old Testament Scriptures, that the poet refers also in this prayer.
Yet, he heard it as addressed to him, and believed!
For, first of all, this Word of God, as to its contents was not a vague and general offer to all men, addressed to no one in particular, but very definitely a promise to the heirs of salvation, to those that seek and find, that pray and receive, to the hungry and thirsty after righteousness that shall be filled, to the poor in spirit, whose is the kingdom of heaven, and to the mourning that shall be comforted, to the weary and heavy laden that shall be given rest, to the called that believe, to the servants of Jehovah that cry unto Him from the depths. . . .
Thy Word unto Thy servant!
Secondly, that very Word, addressed to him through the Scriptures as he knew them at that time, had been applied to his own heart, was addressed to him by the Spirit. It had called him out of darkness into God’s marvelous light, had transformed him from being a servant of sin into a servant of Jehovah, so that he found his place among the company of those to whom the Word of the Lord was addressed. And there, among the saints that were called, he heard the Word of promise as the Word of his God addressed to him personally: the Word unto thy servant!
And, thirdly, he walked in the way of God’s precepts, and did not decline from the statutes of his God.
God’s servant he was indeed!
And so he heard, and so we do still hear the Word of God as His promise of salvation to us!
Through the Scriptures, by the Spirit, in the company of the saints, and walking in the way in which His servants walk, we hear His Word, and believe.
And believing we hope!
Word of hope!
The word “upon which thou hast caused me to hope!”
The servant of the Lord in this world, as yet in the depths, hopes; and that, too, he ascribes to the work and grace of God: thou hast caused me to hope!
And, therefore, he has a sure ground for his prayer that the Lord may remember that word. He may not forget it! For this hope, which is grounded on His own Word, and which is wrought in the heart of His servant in the world by Himself, so that it is all His own work, may not be put to shame!
The original word emphasizes the idea of waiting for something. To hope is to wait. And this implies expectation. We wait for something, because we expect it. We know that the object for which we wait, in this case the final salvation and victory in glory, is coming, and that it is for us, that we shall participate in its blessedness when it comes. And so, we wait with patience. The vigil may seem long, but we wait. There may be many things all about us in the world that would induce us to cease from waiting any longer, but still we wait. Scoffers may mock that we are waiting in vain, and that we forsake the good things of life and endure suffering and reproach as the most miserable of men, but still we wait. We may not be able to see that for which we hope, for the object belongs to those things which eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard, but still we wait. And waiting we long. And counting all other things but dross, we set our hearts on the thing hoped for. . . .
All through the Word of God unto us!
For that Word reveals to us a glimpse of the glory of that for which we hope, but that glimpse is sufficient to cause us to forsake all things, that we may attain to the object of our hope.
And that Word assures us that our hope shall be realized, and that, too, unto us!
It is the ground, the sole ground of our hope!
And that we fix our hope upon that Word, is the work of God’s marvelous grace!
By nature we cannot, we will not, we dare not hope on the Word of God: it is to us a word of condemnation!
But by the revelation of Jesus Christ our Lord, His cross and resurrection, that Word of God is become a word of salvation!
And by the wonder of grace in our hearts we hear that Word, are assured that it is addressed to us, trust in it, and wait for its realization!
The word upon which thou hast caused me to hope!
Remember, O Lord!
For the sake of the glory of Thine own name, remember Thine own word, upon which Thou Thyself hast caused me to hope!
But does He ever forget?
He is the eternal One! And as the eternal God He is the Immutable! He never changes. For He does not live in time, but inhabits eternity. His being and nature are ever the same. And so is His memory. He does not remember as we do. With us to remember means that we do not completely forget, that somewhere in our subconscious mind we store away that which we once experienced, learned, spoke, or performed, and that on occasion we are able to recall it into our consciousness. With God, however, to remember means to be constantly mindful of its object.
He is ever mindful of His Word!
Nor does His servant doubt this.
But knowing that God always remembers His Word, and will surely fulfill it, He prays for the revelation of this faithful remembrance of the Most High in the realization of the promise!
Remember constantly and finally, O Lord!
Come, Lord Jesus!