Stand in Awe
Psalms 119:161 Sin and Shin Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words.
In verse 23 of Psalm 119, David proclaims that even though princes plot against him that he would meditate on God’s statutes. Now, princes are persecuting him and he simply stands in awe of God’s words! It is a faithful thing to stand by and for God and His Word when persecution comes. Persecution is the fire that removes the dross from the golden faith of our hearts, and the precursor of the separation of the wheat from the tares. What is the defining characteristic of God’s people when persecution comes? Faithfulness, reliance, and trust in God’s words.
And what else have you at that time? Your own strength will fail you. The rantings of the false teacher who promised you sure health and wealth and friends if you’d only come to Jesus are seen for what they are: lies. Self-help books, 12-step programs, your Enneagram number, your horoscope, a priest or the pope, your IQ, college transcripts or anything else you may have boasted in or relied upon are all shown to be worthless when the fire of persecution comes. Even your own sanctification and growth in godliness couldn’t prevent it. Note, they persecuted him without cause. And so, when high-level officials such as princes or even a lowly street sweeper should revile you, there is only one place to turn, the sweet balm of God’s words.
Stand in awe of the majesty of God’s words. Observe the pristine quality of every jot and tittle. His Word has endured more attempts at destruction than you will. Behold the wondrous beauty of God’s revelation to you: inerrant, infallible, authoritative and sufficient. We sing, “there is no shadow of turning with thee” to our God and the same can be said about His breathtaking scripture. There is no spot or blemish in the Lamb of God, and so it goes with His holy writ. When princes persecute you without cause, look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith who was unwilling to depart from even an iota of God’s eternal decree, and stand in awe of God’s perfect revelation. Preach the gospel to yourself if necessary, and always use words!
We Are Spoiled!
Psalms 119:162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.
“To the victor goes the spoil!” We who are overcomers in Christ have found great benefit in His word. It is as if we have plunged ourselves into battle hoping only to escape by the skin of our teeth, and yet we find there is so much more booty to be taken for ourselves when we look upon our defeated enemies (Psalm 54:7). God’s Word is a treasure trove of spoil for us, so much so that the history of God’s people is at least in part a commentary on missing it altogether (Isaiah 8:20). No one in the world is more privileged than those who have God’s Word.
There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write damnation with your fingers.
From “The Bible” March 18, 1855, by the REV. C. H. Spurgeon At Exeter Hall, Strand.
Why do so many professing Christians “struggle” to read the Bible? Ignoring the fact that some seed falls on rocky soil (Mark 4:5,6), we are in a spiritual battle with forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12) as well. As the result, we live in a time of unprecedented amusement. We have anywhere and everywhere to turn so that we may shut off our muse-ing and be a-mused. In our fatigue, we need rest; and in our laziness, we find excuse. We have been spoiled by the comforts of this world and the blessing of God to such an extent that scripture isn’t an urgent priority.
There is little to no fear that you’ll have to recall scripture from memory in a jail cell or sing hymns from your heart to endure a night in prison. We don’t read and memorize things we can “easily look up,” and scripture is now at our fingertips to such an extent we have taken it for granted in our flesh. But the child of God who desires to know of the richness of the blessings (Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 1:3) we have in Christ rejoices to have God’s Word available and feasts upon it regularly.
Do You Hate Falsehood?
Psalms 119:163 I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law.
Christianity is thought of by many as the “religion of niceness.” Whoever came up with that idea knows very little of the scripture. Yes, Christians are called to be kind and should be known by their kindness and meekness. But too often we mistake kindness for fake-virtues like “never disagreeing with anyone,” and “never hating anything or anyone.” But as David speaks here, so does the Christ, “I hate and abhor falsehood.” Jesus Christ is the Truth and falsehood is a lie. Thus it is fitting that we should hate the opposite (falsehood) of that which we love (Christ). God chooses more than one word here to denote His holy hatred for lying. God personally hates lying and morally detests it.
Yes, there are six things that He hates (seven are an abomination to him) and the second item on the list is a lying tongue. There simply isn’t language employable to creatures like us which truly encapsulates the depth of loathing God reserves for lying and liars.
Proverbs 12:22 ESV Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
Now the psalmist contrasts his hatred for falsehood with his love for God’s law next. What a glorious proclamation of the verity of God’s law! God’s law gets a bum rap sometimes. It’s too weak to make a man righteous and serves only to expose a man to condemnation and heap even more curse upon him so Christians sometimes look at it like it has failed in some way, or isn’t as useful as God intended for it to be. We do not judge a fish by its inability to climb a tree any more than we ought to evaluate God’s law by its inability to justify men and make them righteous. Those things are not the purpose of the law, the schoolmaster who led us to Jesus. God’s law, when properly considered, is loveable because it teaches us about God! God’s law helps us to see how we ought to live now that we are empowered by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. And when we gaze upon the demands and curses of God’s law, we are reminded of our own sinfulness and are quickly pointed to the sufferings of the Christ who became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13).
Psalms 119:164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.
We began this psalm with David proclaiming that he would praise God with an upright heart when he learned His righteous rules (Psalm 119:7). Later we learn that he rises at midnight to praise God for His righteous rules (Psalm 119:62). Now, as we draw near the end we see a complete doctrine of praise due to God’s righteous rules. It has been hinted at by men of old that Psalm 119 is a life story of a man of God. Verse 9 is about a young man keeping his way pure, but as we move on we encounter situations that more mature Christians encounter. When we see that at the beginning the psalmist wants to learn God’s righteous rules that he may praise Him and then observe that later he is waking in the middle of the night to praise God for those righteous rules, it is only fitting that we round this out by seeing him as an old man here at the end.
He is devoid of any hope in his own strength to save him or keep God’s law. He has learned the righteous rules. He has been aroused from sleep to meditate upon them and praise God for them. And now he praises God all the livelong day for them. This is not a “literal” seven days but a number representing completeness or wholeness. Seven days make a complete week. The phrase seven Spirits of God is used to describe His Holy Spirit (Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6). Jesus tells Peter to forgive his brother seven times seventy times (Matthew 18:22) in an effort to explain that there is really no end to the forgiveness he himself has been granted and ought to bestow upon others. A man of God who has realized who God is will praise Him all day long. God will be his first and last thought, his comfort and his joy.
Note that the unceasing praise comes daily. David may have said “seven times a week” or some other measurement, but God moved him to pen the term “daily.” Let this be instructive to us that we also ought to live lives of praise to the God who gives new mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:22,23). As we receive our daily bread, let our minds be on the Giver rather than the gift. And as we see evil and righteousness do battle in this world, let us daily realize the benefits of God’s righteous rules and praise Him throughout our day and night, for He is worthy.
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