Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight.Psalm 119:143 esv
Maybe it is because of my current circumstances, but the word that jumps out at me from this verse is “trouble.” Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not in trouble. Next weekend the Salt & Light ministry at our church is doing a production of The Music Man. One of the songs in that musical is “Ya Got Trouble.” I will make one of my now infamous cameos.
The Hebrew root word for trouble is TSAR, which translates to adversary or narrowing. That same root word appears in Psalm 23:5, where the LORD sets the table for the Psalmist before his “enemies.” The paired word in our verse for “anguish” is MATSOQ, which translates to “straits” or “stress.’ Put them together, and you get “narrow straits” or a “stressful adversary.”
Yet God’s commandments seem to keep the Psalmist from being overcome by the adversary or the narrow straits. That is because the overwhelming theme of the scriptures is not the punishment you get when you break God’s commandments, but rather the issues you avoid when you are obedient to God’s loving guidance and wisdom.
Too often, we see God as some supreme punisher rather than a parent or shepherd guiding us away from the calamity of our own doing. So instead of bucking against him, let’s appreciate the love and grace he is showing us all the time! Otherwise you may succumb to…
Trouble, oh we got trouble, Right here in River City! With a capital “T”