In Psalm 94 the writer confronts the evil and suffering of this world and comes to terms with the fact that only God can enact vengeance and justice. The very things which assault our faith give us an opportunity for worship and the writer reminds us that God is always by our side, whatever evil we may face.
Who wrote Psalm 94:18-19?
The psalms are a collection of Hebrew religious hymns, written by various authors between the 9th and 5th centuries BC. Traditionally, around half of the psalms in the Book of Psalms are attributed to king David. Psalm 94 does not have an identified author.
What is the meaning of Psalm 94: 18-19?
Psalm 94:18-19 New International Version
‘When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.’
As so often happens in the Bible, the writer uses a visual image to help us understand a spiritual truth. Despite the thousands of years that separate us from the writer of this psalm, this image is one, which still speaks directly to us. Perhaps you remember climbing a steep hill as a child and suddenly your foot began to slip. You felt a moment of fear and panic but your parent was there, to take your hand and help you up. The metaphor is of the fall, falling into sin, falling away from faith. God replaces our anxiety with joy, so that the vagaries of our human condition become a cause for celebration.
Psalm 94:18-19 King James Version
‘When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.’
Consider the phrase ‘multitude of my thoughts within me’. To me this seems a much more incisive characterization of the babble of contemporary life than the vague substitution ‘anxiety’ and surely ‘delight my soul’ is more suggestive of spiritual joy ‘brought me joy’. What do you think?
Psalm 94:18-19 New American Standard Bible
‘If I should say, “My foot has slipped,”
Your faithfulness, Lord, will support me.
When anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your comfort delights my soul.’
These three different versions of the psalm give us three different words to describe god’s support: ‘unfailing love,’ ’mercy,’ and ‘faithfulness’. It is not surprising that we struggle to find words to expressive the divine. Which word makes most sense to you?
Psalm 94:18-19 The Message
‘The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling”
your love, God, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself
You calmed me down and cheered me up.’
Verse 18 has an immediacy and clarity, which, for me, perfectly captures the image. I can’t say the same for verse 19. What do you think?
Psalm 94:18-19 in context.
As I began by saying, Psalm 94 confronts the evils of this world. It takes an unflinching look at the human condition, but it is not pessimistic, it is not downhearted, because God’s absolute love conquers all.
Reflections on Psalm 94:18-19
We will slip and we will waver but God’s guiding hand will never let us fall.
Read Next: The Meaning of Psalm 23:4 ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; they rod and thy staff they comfort me.’ One of the most memorable verses from the well known Psalm 23, but what does it mean?