I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame!
In many ways our faith, or lack thereof, is most evident when we are facing the difficult times of life. It is remarkable how many people delight in exalting God’s sovereignty when life is going pretty well. But when things take a downward turn, the topic of God’s sovereignty is not as popular.
Peter reminds us that one of the great benefits of trials is the fact that they reveal the genuineness of our faith.
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1 Peter 1:6–7
The psalmist demonstrates the integrity of his faith when life was very rough. He begins by declaring his commitment to and dependence on God’s word. The fact that the psalmist is clinging to the word indicates that he is desperate and is holding on so tight that you could not pry his fingers away from it. This should be the reaction of every true Christian when they are facing life’s most challenging moments.
What is it that drives the psalmist to cling to God’s word? The answer is found in the book of Deuteronomy.
“You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.”
We follow the Lord because we both love Him and fear Him. We desire to keep His commandments and to respond to His instruction in faithful service. We cling to His word because we cling to Him.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
In the psalmist’ prayer his asks God not to put him to shame. The psalmist has completely committed his entire life and destiny into the Lord’s hands. His confidence is in the promises of God. This request is not out of concern for what the Lord will accomplish; it reflects his awareness that God alone is the One who can offer such protection.
Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.