81My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.
82Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?
83For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.
84How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?
(Psalm 119:81-84, King James Version)
Wineskin in Smoke
83 For I have become like a wineskin in smoke,
Yet I do not forget Your statutes. (Psalm 119:83, New King James Version)
With a little better understanding of this verse, I think we will all have to admit that very often our lives have become like a wineskin in smoke.
In Old Testament Bible times, wine was poured into leather skins. The soft leather had the ability to stretch, so that, as the wine aged, it did not burst the skin. When living in tents, the wineskins were hung from the tops of the tents. The tents, unlike Indian teepees did not have holes in the top to allow smoke from their fires to escape, so when fires were lit inside the tents in chilly weather, the smoke rose to the top of the tents and then curled down, permeating everything in the tent, including the wineskins. Unfortunately, this served to dry out the leather wineskins so that they became cracked and brittle, and eventually useless for holding wine.
The Psalmist of Psalm 119 is expressing his weariness of life in verses 81-84. Have we not all had seasons of life when we literally fainted for the salvation of the Lord? Life with its many twists and turns can often become so burdensome that we simply long for the return of Christ, and for relief from our staggering circumstances. Our Christian lives often become cracked, dry, and brittle--almost useless as a faithful testimony of the Lord's working on our behalves.
Yet, as we look around us, it seems as though we are the only ones suffering. Especially, as we look upon the lifestyle and comforts of those who have no love for the Lord, we can easily become discouraged. Why does it seem as though they continually live a life of ease while we struggle from one day to the next?
Though we do not see the resolution to the Psalmist's grief in these verses, we do see, throughout the entirety of Psalm 119, the recurring theme, "God is faithful." Resolution from the Lord will come. Though we do not enjoy days of affliction, as believers we can attest to the fact that it is during days such as this that God grows our faith and our love for Him.
So, it is a good thing to pray for grace that God will lift us up during the difficult days and set our feet upon His solid rock. It is a good thing for us to turn our hearts and minds back to His Word for relief and comfort from all distress.
Though these days seemed long and almost unbearable to the Psalmist, think about it. He has now been with the Lord for over 2000 years! Just so, our days of distress will come to and end, if not in this life, then certainly in the next.
What an amazing God we serve. If your life seems to have become like a wineskin in smoke, look to Christ your Hope, your Joy, your Peace, and your only Comfort in this life.
God Bless You,