Psalm 119 – Sin & Shin (God’s Word Is Superior Over Man’s)
Psalm 119:161-168 NIV
Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word.
I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.
I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law.
Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.
Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
I wait for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands.
I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly.
I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you.
Would we rather tremble at God’s words than persecution from authorities?
The Psalmist cleverly made the comparison between the rule of law and the rule of God. He likely didn’t mean this literally, for who would not fear persecution from the rulers? Furthermore, these rulers were persecuting him “without cause”. I believe he reasoned that God was the one he should fear, not men.
This brings to mind the courage and choice of the Apostles in the face of persecution.
Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! (Acts 5:29 NIV)
Finding promises of God from the Bible is like finding “great spoil”, precious stolen goods. This revelation could have come to the Psalmist when he was at the worst time of his life. Do we feel like the grace of God, is like precious stolen goods? Grace feels stolen, in as sense, because we’re undeserving. God says to us in the Bible that He loves us no matter how badly we have swayed away from Him. But we won’t appreciate that unless we meditate on His words.
We can relate to the Psalmist when we are devastated, but only if we pick up our Bible and meditate on God’s words. In our life long journey, there will be times we’ll feel like we’re lost in a desert, and the discovery of God’s grace will be like finding water in the parched land. Without seeing the flaws in our life, we will not understand grace, and without grace, we will never understand God and how much He really loves us.
When we love God’s words, we will hate falsehood. Both hatred of falsehood and the love of God’s words come together hand-in-hand. If we claim to love God’s words and yet entertain falsehood, we become double-minded men.
I’ve struggled between the love of God’s words and falsehood, entertaining the thoughts that fly between the ‘good angel’ and the ‘bad angel’ of my conscience. I realise how important it is to walk with God daily and talk to Him constantly. Discussing my struggles with other disciples also helps me to understand that I am not alone in my struggles. The Psalmist’s statement, “seven times a day I praise you”, was a reflection of how often he struggled. Ultimately, we have to choose hatred towards falsehood and love the words of God. We will find “great peace”, and “nothing can make them (us) stumble”.
When we are under persecution and there is no hope in sight, we can look up. We’ll just have to “wait for your (God’s) salvation”, which has been promised to us.
The Psalmist said he obeyed God’s words because “I love them greatly”. How much do we love the words of God? In order to love His words, we have to put them into practice. Many people struggle to love God’s words, because they don’t practice or trust in them. Only when we love His words, will we find obeying His words enjoyable.
Nothing is hidden from God’s eyes, “all my ways are known to you (God)”. God sees everything that we do and everything that goes through our heads. That’s a scary thought, to be honest, and rightfully so. We should fear God because God sees everything. But God is God, He is who He is, we can’t change the fact that God is omnipresent and omniscient. This understanding should also help us in our obedience to God.
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.