Psalm 119 - Ayin (Facing Oppression)
Psalm 119:121-128 ESV
I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors.
Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me.
My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes.
I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies!
It is time for the LORD to act, for your law has been broken.
Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.
Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way.
The Psalmist had faced oppression from his enemies, thus he asked God, “... do not leave me to my oppressors.” But he continued to do what was just and right. When Jesus was at the cross, facing his physical oppressors, he was also facing the spiritual oppressor, the devil.
The pressure to give in to oppressions could lead us to do wrong and commit injustice to others. It takes determination and faith for us to see through the tough times and stay righteous.
“Give your servant a pledge of good”, sounds similar to a prayer Jesus had made for his disciples, “And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:11)
God has pledged that we will be one with Him. When we pray, we pray as servants to God, for He is our master. And our Master will fulfil his pledge to save us. Do we see ourselves as servants before God? As servants, we do what the Master commands, and He will fulfil his pledge to us.
“My eyes long for your salvation”, this is the key message of the Ayin section of this psalm. The Psalmist longed for God’s promise of salvation to be fulfilled. Christians nowadays speak rarely about how they long for salvation. The erroneous belief of ‘once saved, always saved’ is subconsciously practiced when our attention gets distracted by other things we long for? What do we long for today? We may long for our children to grow up well, for our career to be established or a myriad of other things that distract us from God’s promises.
The Psalmist could have longed for the defeat of his oppressors instead of doing what’s right and just, but he didn’t. He knew the oppression was a physical torture, but doing the right and just was spiritual, and he will be rewarded with salvation from God. Jesus set his eyes on our salvation when he endured the afflictions from his oppressors.
Again the Psalmist emphasised his position as a servant to God so that the Master could teach him the scriptures. Are we relying on our own strength to obtain wisdom, or are we going to God’s words to preserve our life?
God’s “law has been broken”, and He acted by sending Jesus to die on the cross for us.
In response to God’s love and Jesus' death for us so that we may receive the salvation we long for, we ought to love God’s words and treat every word of God as right. But do we? If we do, we will obey every word and love to read His words.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.