then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
Psalm 119:42 ESV
This verse builds directly upon the thought expressed in verse 41; it is a continuation of that verse. After praying for God’s steadfast love and salvation to come to him according to God’s promise, the psalmist then rejoices that he will have an answer for the one who taunts him.
What sort of taunts is the psalmist referring to? In answering this question, we should first remember that the Psalms as devotional poem-prayers and liturgical hymns for God’s people the particulars are almost always kept rather vague so that each reader may apply the words to his or her own circumstance. With this in mind, it is still quite easy to envision the taunts that the Sons of Korah record being leveled against them: “As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’” (Psalm 42:10). The taunts are added on top of some affliction suffered. A servant of God has his or her back bent under the pain of trials, and mockers take the opportunity to jeer about the supposed absence of the LORD.
Have you been through such a moment? Perhaps you were already struggling to believe in God’s enduring love in the midst of suffering, when an antagonistic coworker or family member asked you how your loving God could permit your suffering. In circumstances such as that, our hope must be the same as the psalmist: I trust in your word. We can only cling to the promises of God in His Word, trusting that His steadfast love will not fail us, even when we appear to have been abandoned by Him. Suffering will come to God’s people, and along with suffering often comes the feeling being forsaken by God (which is only heightened by the taunts of others). Yet the Scriptures call us to set our gaze above this present moment, above our temporal situation, and to trust in our Father’s promised affection toward us in Christ. May we anchor our souls upon the promise of God’s good Word.