Lord, like the psalmist, how I love Your commandments.
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.
Think back over particular Bible verses or passages that have helped you on your journey of discipleship. Thank God for their encouragement and guidance.
I have a long-standing dilemma over what to do with birthday and anniversary cards that people have sent me. If I had kept them all, the house would now be full of clutter; but throwing them away suggests that I don’t care about those who sent them and the trouble they went to in expressing their thoughts. So, I keep only the ones from those close to me—what they have written is precious, because they are precious.
This is how the psalmist treats the statutes of God—his commandments, which express his loving will for his people. There is a constant identification with the psalmist’s commitment to God and his commitment to God’s words. The “word” in which the psalmist hopes (114) is parallel with and equivalent to God himself, who is his refuge and shield. We find it hard, in our New Testament context, to make sense of the language of hatred in the psalms, including in this one, and rightly so; we follow a Savior who commanded us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). The issue here, however, is not revenge: it is the question of what will shape the psalmist’s life and where he will find security. God and his “righteous promise” (123) are in the end the only reliable source of hope.
The psalmist’s commitment to God’s word and command are an expression of his devotion, not a way to win God’s favor. There is another twist too: to remain faithful the psalmist needs God’s help. He needs God to “teach me your decrees,” and this flows from God’s love for him (124). He relies not on his own understanding, but on the gift of discernment to make sense of God’s law (125).
Does your love for God express itself in devotion to the Scriptures?
Where do you need to ask God for greater discernment? Through whom might God give this to you?
Lord, deal differently with me than You do with those who despise Your commandments.