Verse 42. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me. This is an unanswerable answer. When God, by granting us salvation, gives to our prayers an answer of peace, we are ready at once to answer the objections of the infidel, the quibbles of the sceptical, and the sneers of the contemptuous. It is most desirable that revilers should be answered, and hence we may expect the Lord to save his people in order that a weapon may be put into their hands with which to rout his adversaries. When those who reproach us are also reproaching God, we may ask him to help us to silence them by sure proofs of his mercy and faithfulness.
For I trust in thy word. His faith was seen by his being trustful while under trial, and he pleads it as a reason why he should be helped to beat back reproaches by a happy experience. Faith is our argument when we seek mercies and salvation; faith in the Lord who has spoken to us in his word. "I trust in thy word" is a declaration more worth the making than any other; for he who can truly make it has received power to become a child of God, and so to be the heir of unnumbered mercies. God hath more respect to a man's trust than to all else that is in him; for the Lord hath chosen faith to be the hand into which he will place his mercies and his salvation. If any reproach us for trusting in God, we reply to them with arguments the most conclusive when we show that God has kept his promises, heard our prayers, and supplied our needs. Even the most sceptical are forced to bow before the logic of facts.
In this second verse of this eight the Psalmist makes a confession of faith, and a declaration of his belief and experience. Note that he does the same in the corresponding verses of the sections which follow. See Psalms 119:50 , "Thy word hath quickened me"; Ps 119:58, "I entreated thy favour"; Psalms 119:66 , "I have believed thy commandments"; Ps 119:74, "I have hoped in thy word." A wise preacher might find in these a series of experimental discourses.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 42. So shall I have, etc. I shall have something by which I may reply to those who calumniate me. So the Saviour replied to the suggestions of the tempter almost wholly by passages of Scripture ( Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:7 Matthew 4:10 ); and so, in many cases, the best answer that can be given to reproaches on the subject of religion will be found in the very words of Scripture. A man of little learning, except that which he has derived from the Bible, may often thus silence the cavils and reproaches of the learned sceptic; a man of simple hearted, pure piety, with no weapon but the word of God, may often thus be better armed than if he had all the arguments of the schools at his command. Comp. Ephesians 6:17 . Albert Barnes.
Verse 42. So shall I have wherewith to answer, etc. When the heart realizes assured salvation, it is supplied with abundant answers to those who sneer at the delights of faith. Henry Law.
Verse 42. So shall I have wherewith to answer, etc. Hugo Cardinalis observeth that there are three sorts of blasphemers of the godly, -- the devils, heretics, and slanderers. The devil must be answered by the internal word of humility; heretics by the external word of wisdom; slanderers by the active word of a good life. Richard Greenham.
Verse 42. So shall I have, etc. For I should give them a short answer, and a true one, -- that I trust in thy word; I put my confidence in thee, who canst make good thy promises, because thou art omnipotent; and wilt, because thou art merciful. William Nicholson.
Verse 42. So shall I have wherewith to answer, etc. This follows the phrase, "according to thy word." Christians should learn from the example of David what to oppose to the reproaches and false accusations of the enemies of the truth. Nothing is done by railing; but weapons should be taken from the word of God; and these are strong through faith in God for the overturning of both the Devil himself and his instruments. For truly with weapons of this kind the Saviour himself discomfited Satan in the wilderness ( Matthew 4:1-11 ); and Paul ( Ephesians 6:10-18 ) puts on himself, and commends to the Christian soldier, the girdle of Divine truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the Gospel, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Solomon Gessler.
Verse 42. Wherewith to answer, etc. It is not forbidden to believers, modestly and fully, to answer those that reproach them, and to rebut the lie. See Proverbs 26:5 27:11. But to be able to answer them is received as a blessing from God. Martin Geier.
Verse 42-43. In Psalms 119:42 there is a play upon the two senses of the term "word," thus: "and I will answer my revilers a word, for I have trusted in thy word." Having trusted in thy word of promise, I shall have a word of reply to make to them when thou shalt graciously hear this prayer. Take not thy word of truth (i.e., of promise) out of my mouth; let me have it still to speak of before my enemies and to rest upon for my own soul. If God were to fail in fulfilling his word of promise, it would, in the sense here contemplated, be quite taken out of his mouth. Henry Cowles.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 42. -- Faith's answer to reproach found in the fact that she trusts God's word.
Verse 42-43,. 47. -- Faith, hope, and love. "I trust." "I have hoped." "I have loved." Faith warring, hope testifying, love obeying.