FREEDOM THROUGH OBEDIENCE
Lord, You are the God of tradition and innovation, the old and the new. Refresh my spirit today, I pray.
Read PSALM 119:113–128
113 I hate double-minded people,
but I love your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commands of my God!
116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live;
do not let my hopes be dashed.
117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered;
I will always have regard for your decrees.
118 You reject all who stray from your decrees,
for their delusions come to nothing.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross;
therefore I love your statutes.
120 My flesh trembles in fear of you;
I stand in awe of your laws.
121 I have done what is righteous and just;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Ensure your servant’s well-being;
do not let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes fail, looking for your salvation,
looking for your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your love
and teach me your decrees.
125 I am your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand your statutes.
126 It is time for you to act, Lord;
your law is being broken.
127 Because I love your commands
more than gold, more than pure gold,
128 and because I consider all your precepts right,
I hate every wrong path.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law.’1
This longest of psalms is best thought of as an extended devotional about the Word of God. While it is filled with expressions of adoration for God’s Law, it is also highly structured in an acrostic form, with each eight-verse stanza beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The author wants to express a theme so significant that only the full power of language will suffice – this makes the use of the alphabet an appropriate way of expressing this vast subject.
This section contains two stanzas; the first begins with an exclamation of hatred for ‘double-minded people’ (113). James surely draws on this when condemning double-minded people as unstable in all they do, so they should not expect to receive anything from God.2 Such people are indecisive when it comes to obeying God, constantly vacillating between good and evil. This reminds us that when it comes to following God, there is no middle ground – we are either walking in His way or not. The psalmist urges us to join him in declaring, ‘I love your law’ (113).
Verse 125 contains a plea for discernment, that the writer would understand God’s statutes. This is a good prayer to pray, reminding us that we really do need God’s help to understand His Word. Healthy interpretation requires the Holy Spirit’s illumination of Scripture to understand it rightly and, more importantly, to apply it rightly in our lives. This kind of discernment is more than cognitive understanding; it is the ability to live in everyday life what we read in God’s Word. A discerning study of Scripture will always lead us to careful interpretation and thorough application to every aspect of our lives.
Resolve to obey God in single-minded devotion. As you read the Bible, ask God to show you how to live it out in practical ways: lessons, commands, and examples.
Yes Lord, You are always faithful and I can be so fickle. Through all the ups and downs of my days, guide me by Your steadying hand so I will bring honor and glory to You.
1 Ps 119:18 2 James 1:7,8