Psalm 119 – Samekh (Staying Focused On God’s Words)
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
Psalm 119:113-120 NIV
I hate double-minded men, but I love your law.
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God!
Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.
Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees.
You reject all who stray from your decrees, for their deceitfulness is in vain.
All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes.
My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.
The Psalmist contrasted his love for God’s law with his hatred for “double-minded men”. A passage in James helps us understand this better.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 1:5-8 NIV)
Do we hate double-minded people who cannot make up their mind and keep changing their principles? The Psalmist continued on verse 118, that he knew God rejects all who strays from His decrees. In other parts of this psalm, the Psalmist mentioned that he too had strayed away before. So he knew what it was like to stray away from God’s words. He too had been double-minded before. We stray not because we don’t know God’s commands, but because we are double-minded. We are not fully convinced that God’s way is right and we follow our own desires. We go by our own sight rather than faith in God’s words. If we have been double-minded, we can turn our desire back to God.
When we put our “hope in your (God’s) word”, we can make God our “refuge and... shield”. Knowing God through knowing His laws reduces the double-mindedness in us. There are many false teachings around us, and if we aren’t aware of God’s presence and power, we won’t seek refuge in Him.
“Evildoers” will influence our objectivity towards God’s words. This is another cause for our double-mindedness. The Psalmist was not telling the evildoers to go away. Instead, he was consciously telling himself to stay away from the influence of these people. They will influence and sway us away from God’s words too.
The Psalmist hoped to live a righteous life, and knew that is possible only if God would “sustain” and “uphold” him. We should be in awe of God’s words. Don’t bluff ourselves if we aren’t right with God; don’t feel good when we are in sin. The words of God aren’t here to make us feel good when we are not righteous. ‘Feeling good’ will not sustain us, but the fear of God would.
The Psalmist pointed out that the cause of straying from God’s decrees is “deceitfulness”, which is done “in vain” because it’ll never work. The struggles in our minds toss us around like the waves of the sea because we let our own deceit win over what the Holy Spirit tells us. We desire many things other than our relationship with God, and they lead us to nothing. We are deceived into thinking wealth is the sign of blessings from God and we chase after them without God.
The wicked fail to fear God and God will discard “all the wicked of the earth.” People refuse to believe in a God who is Holy and who is not like us. We like to define God in our own ways that leads to depart from God. God’s nature has been made known to us in the Bible, we only need to read it and find out.
God told Moses to keep his feet away from the ground before Him because He is Holy. If Moses couldn’t accept that, he would not be able to draw near to God. It is this very holy nature of God that forbids us from getting close to Him if we are not holy. We don’t define God in our own way. God is holy and that is a fact that will never change. Fear Him and “stand in awe” of his laws.
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.