The Reproach Answered
Psalm 119:42
So shall I have with which to answer him that reproaches me: for I trust in your word.

His state was this — depending upon, and trusting to that word of promise which the Holy Ghost had applied with power to his conscience; not relying upon the bare letter of truth, but leaning upon the sure word of promise which had been brought home with power to his heart. Being, then, in this state, he only had a greater hungering and thirsting after further food. What he had already received from God had not brought into his soul lasting satisfaction; it had rather enkindled his appetite for more. Fresh wants called urgently for fresh deliverances; new diseases required anew the healing hand. Being in this state, then, he longs after the "mercies" of God, and hungers after His "salvation." He was driven as well as drawn, impelled by urgent necessity as well as allured by Divine encouragements. An enemy was at hand who dogged his steps, an accuser with a heavy bill of charges was waiting at his gate.


1. The law of God reproaches every living soul to which it is spiritually applied, for disobedience to it.

2. Our own heart is continually reproaching us, for our shortcomings in all we desire to perform to God's glory.

3. Professors of religion are continually casting their reproaches upon us. They treat us as Peninnah treated Hannah.

4. Even the world will sometimes reproach God's people for covetousness, worldliness, a slanderous tongue, resentment of injuries, levity, frivolity, carelessness, etc.

5. Satan often reproaches the children of God (Revelation 12:10).

II. THE INABILITY OF THE CREATURE TO ANSWER ANY OF THESE REPROACHES. Can he bring forward his good works? No; the sentence of the law is within, and good works, could he perform them, are merely external things. Can he bring forward resolutions, and promises, and vows to do better for the future? No; these promises, resolutions, and vows spring from the flesh, but condemnation is written in his spirit. Shall he answer these reproaches by his own prayers? No; for the condemnation of the law is written in his spiritual conscience, and only so far as prayer is indited by the Spirit, will it go up out of a spiritual heart.

III. THE DESIRES AND BREATHINGS OF THE SOUL AFTER SUCH A MANIFESTATION OF MERCY AS SHALL AFFORD A SUFFICIENT ANSWER (ver. 41). If you will observe, the word "mercies" is in the plural, there being many mercies; but "salvation" is in the singular number, there being only one salvation. In what way, then, did he want these "mercies"? Merely as standing in the letter of the word? Only as recorded in the inspired word of truth? — as things to look at — as objects hung up, as it were, in a picture, merely for the eye to gaze upon? No; he wanted them in his heart, "to come to him," to visit him, to be breathed into him, to be made part and parcel of him, to he the life-blood that should circulate in his veins, to be the very Kingdom of God set up with power in his soul. And why did he want internal mercies? Because he had internal reproaches. Why did he need mercies in his soul? because condemnation was in his soul. It was there the sentence of death was written; it was there the sentence of acquittal was to be recorded. It was there that reproach was felt; it was there the answer to the reproach was to be given.

IV. THE WAY IN WHICH THESE ANSWERS ARE COMMUNICATED. If the law reproaches, salvation in the heart is an answer to its reproach. If our own heart condemns us, to have a sense of God's salvation in the soul is an answer to every reproach that the heart can bring. If the world condemns us, casts out our names as evil, imputes to us practices which we abhor, tarnishes our fair fame, and throws upon us every base imputation, if we have salvation in our hearts, it is a sufficient answer to all the reproaches that are cast upon us.

(J. C. Philpot.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

WEB: So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in your word.

What God's Salvation Does for a Man
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