Double-Mindedness is Evil
Psalms 119:113 Samekh I hate the double-minded, but I love your law.
Our God is not at all shy about using strong words like “hate” and neither ought we be, (in the right circumstances). The “Samekh” octave begins with harsh words for those who are double-minded. These are those who have one foot in the church and one foot in the world. The world is full of pagans who exult in their sin and unrighteousness. But there seems to be an even greater population of those who desire to be identified with Christ…or at least the benefits of Christianity while never putting to death the old man.
The Psalmist has suffered affliction for his faith. He is attacked from every direction and has no safe place to rest from the snares of the wicked. His very life is at stake regularly. Thus, it is no wonder that he has such disdain for half-hearted Christians. Those who are of “two minds” are ready to profess Christ when the immediate benefits thereof are evident. And the double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will quickly espouse the doctrines of the world when he sees suffering or affliction for Christ around the corner. No reasonable Christian would trust an unredeemed sinner with his heart, but how often have we poured out our hearts to a brother or sister who turned out to be double-minded and then realize that their counsel was not biblical? Profuse are the kisses of the enemy. He will shower you with Christian clichés and sayings, never having any real Truth for your soul. The double-minded are altogether useless (1 Kings 18:21) and in need of rebuke.
We ought to be wary of our own double-mindedness as well, then. Before you are too critical of others, be sure you are not disqualified. One of the ways you can make your calling and election sure is by growing in your love for God’s law. God’s law is the cure for double-mindedness! His law does not have the power to save, but it has the power to show the Christian his faults that he may know the direction he must head to grow in grace. God’s law is a Great Separator of the righteous from the unrighteous. There is no equivocation with God’s law, so by observing it and loving it, we will see that our double-mindedness fades away, as his commandments are always sure (Psalm 119:86)!
My Shield is God!
Psalms 119:114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.
When David cries to God “you are my hiding place” this is very likely a reference to his salvation. He uses the same phrase in Psalm 32:7 immediately after extolling begin forgiven by God of his iniquity. David has already expressed hatred toward the double-minded and love toward God’s law, so it is appropriate to put to pen a reminder of from where our help comes from. It is God alone who is our hiding place. Only in Christ can we hide from God’s wrath. But anyone hidden in Christ is perfectly hidden from God’s wrath. We can feel safe in the arms of God and live out our calling as exiles in a foreign land because we have a hiding place.
Not only is God our hiding place, but He is our shield. He is our defense against everything hurled toward us by the enemy. There is no condemnation from God for those who are in Christ Jesus, the hiding place, but the condemnation of the world is in ample supply. God does not promise that his people will avoid attacks from evildoers. But He acts as our shield. It is God who takes the brunt of the punishment when we are accosted for our faith (Acts 9:5). With a shield, we will still feel the impact of the blows and experience the heat of the battle, but we will not receive a fatal blow until the Shield determines it is time.
And is not Christ also our shield toward the condemnation of the Father? Did he not take on the full punishment we deserved for our sin? Christ is our shield, protecting us from the wrath of God, perfectly withstanding all the indignation and penalty. And where do we read of this great exchange? In His Word! Our hope is not in that which could be revealed by the light of nature or through human intuition. Our hope comes from trusting what God has revealed from Genesis 3:15 onward. We know that Jesus is our hiding place and our shield because the Bible tells us so.
Depart From Me
Psalms 119:115 Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God.
For the first time in this great chapter, the psalmist addresses evildoers in the second person. Throughout this psalm, he has spoken directly to God about the insolent, but now he addresses the wicked directly. His tongue bids them thence depart from him. The child of God desires separation from the world, separation from evildoers, and separation from his former self. Many modern translations render this verse “that I may keep” but the good King James reads “for I will keep the commandments of my God.” We may desire for the wicked to depart because we think that will make obeying God’s righteous commands easier for us. And we may be assaulted by fewer external temptations if that be the case, but we are called to holiness regardless of our circumstances.
It seems more likely that the intent of the author or Author here is a warning to the wicked. It is as if he is saying, “Depart from me BECAUSE I am going to keep the commandments of my God and you are not going to like it.” How often the Christian finds himself deserted by others because of his stand for God’s laws. The wicked cannot help but feel conviction when they are around a righteous man (1 John 3:12). So we warn those around us that they must either adhere to the Truth to which we adhere, or they would be happier to depart from us.
There is a sense in which we excommunicate those who in their double-mindedness express a desire to be with us while we perform the duties of the Lord while they simultaneously dwell in tents of wickedness. To the man who thinks himself a Christian, yet lives in worldly lusts of the flesh we say “Depart! That we may keep the commandments of God.” Judgment begins at the household of God and we need to be careful how we worship Him. There is no room for evildoers in the solemn worship of Christ. I do not say that we cannot worship Christ if evil is present, but rather that we do try to ensure the church is pure, for the sake of everyone in it. Will not the Lord himself say to many, “depart from me?” (Matthew 7:23)
Our Hope and Prayer
Psalms 119:116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
Having made an enemy of everyone who opposes God, the psalmist remembers his own weakness and God’s strength. God needs no reminders when He has made a promise, but men make much of reminding themselves of God’s promises when they cry out to Him for help. When the righteous cry for help, Jesus hears him and delivers him (Psalm 34:17)! His ears are open to our cries (Psalm 34:15). So do not neglect to call out God’s promises back to him in your prayers, dear saint. It is for your own sake that God has modeled this method of prayer in the Bible.
And what is God’s promise? This is the promise that He made to us, eternal life (1 John 2:25). We must cling to what God has actually promised in order to have our faith built up. David prays to be upheld according to God’s promise so that he may have life and so that he will not be put to shame in his hope. Hope puts us to shame when that hope is not materialized. But hope from God never puts us to shame if it is hope in things actually promised. Consider:
Romans 5:5 ESV and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Our hope in Christ alone does not put us to shame because we have the Holy Spirit who manifests God’s love in our lives. We know that we have an eternal heritage because the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. And we can face adversity in this world (with hope) because we believe there will be an ultimate deliverance. There is an end to all the evil. (Revelation 21:4) “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” So we ask God to edify that hope that dwells within us by the power of His Spirit so that we might press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!
See all posts in this series
Psalm 119:1-4 — Blessed!
Psalm 119:5-8 — Blessed!
Psalm 119:9-12 — Purity is the Objective
Psalm 119:13-16 — Declare and Delight!
Psalm 119:17-20 — Open My Eyes!
Psalm 119:21-24 — The Comfort of God
Psalm 119:25-28 — Thirst and Life
Psalm 119:29-32 — Shame Shifting
Psalm 119:33-36 — Seeking The Way
Psalm 119:37-40 — Behold God's Promise
Psalm 119:41-44 — Answering the Taunter
Psalm 119:45-48 — A Wide Place
Psalm 119:49-52 — Comfort Amidst Affliction
Psalm 119:53-56 — Righteous Anger?
Psalm 119:57-60 — What's Your Portion?
Psalm 119:61-64 — Companionship
Psalm 119:65-68 — Afflicted by God
Psalm 119:69-72 — More Affliction?
Psalm 119:73-76 — Sovereign Creator
Psalm 119:77-80 — May God Supply!
Psalm 119:81-84 — Our Whole Being Longs for God
Psalm 119:85-88 — They Have Dug Pitfalls
Psalm 119:89-92 — Established
Psalm 119:93-96 — Limited Perfection
Psalm 119:97-100 — Elevated Wisdom
Psalm 119:101-104 — Sweeter Than Honey
Psalm 119:105-108 — Freewill, Oaths, and More Affliction
Psalm 119:109-112 — Sorrows, Snares, Sons, and a Savior
Psalm 119:113-116 — My Hiding Place and My Shield
Psalm 119:117-120 — God Discards the Dross
Psalm 119:121-124— Deliverance
Psalm 119:125-128— God's Law > Everything on Earth
Psalm 119:129-132 — Into The Light
Psalm 119:133-136 — Does Your Love Bring You To Tears?
Psalm 119:137-140 — Zeal + Ignorance = Worthless Religion
Psalm 119:141-144 — Assurance of Perseverance
Psalm 119:145-148— Meditate on the PROMISE
Psalm 119:149-152 — Be Comforted For God Is Near
Psalm 119:153-156— Christ Alone Delivers
Psalm 119:157-160 — We Are In A Battle
Psalm 119:161-164— Do You Hate Falsehood?
Psalm 119:165-168 — Cause → Effect
Psalm 119:169-172 — Eruption of Praise
Psalm 119:173-176 — Seek Your Servant Like a Lost Sheep