And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
Psalm 119:43 ESV
Again, this verse is bound to the one before it for a proper understanding. So far in our present stanza, Waw, the psalmist has cried out for God’s steadfast love and salvation to come to him, according to God’s promise. We then discovered that he made that prayer because longed to be able to give an answer to those who taunted him about his trust in God. On the heels of those prayers, the now continues and take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules.
We should first note that the psalmist here calls the Scriptures, the word of truth. In spite of the taunts made against him that God could not be trusted, his confidence is securely in God’s Word, for it is supremely true. He clings to it above all else.
But why does he pray for God not to take His word out of his mouth? We should recall that verse 13, the psalmist declared the longing to use his own lips as instruments for speaking the rules of God’s mouth. While the readiness to speak God’s Word to others is most certainly there, the immediate context suggested the practice of speaking the Scriptures to himself, of meditating upon God’s rules by repeating them to himself. Now, in an hour of desperation, he cries out for grace to let the Word still remain upon his lips, for it is through such self-preaching and meditation that he continued to place his hope in God’s rules.
Given that times of trial and affliction are assured to come in this life, we should take the psalmist’s plea to heart. Indeed, before such testing periods, we should develop the habit of speaking Scripture to ourselves, meditating over it again and again. In Philippians 4, Paul instructs us to deal with anxiety by taking our cares to God, and he then commands to set our minds upon things of excellence, of honor, of truth, of praise, etc. (Philippians 4:8). Scripture, of course, is the most excellent, most honorable, most true, most praiseworthy treasure that we can ever set in our minds or upon our lips because it is the revelation of God Himself. It is a gift, therefore, to have God’s Word in our mouths, and particularly during times of affliction, it anchors us to our great hope in our Savior.