PSALM 119: 113-120 [The Ministry of The Word Series]
REJECTING OR ACCEPTING THE WORD / TRUST AND TREMBLE
[1 Corinthians. 3:11–15]
The psalmist's love, trust and hope is in the Word of God, but he knows that not all people's heart and life are so devoted to God. The psalmist thus reflects upon those who reject God's Word (CIT). God reveals that they are double-minded (v. 113), evildoers (v. 115), strayers, deceitful (v. 118). Their judgment therefore is certain (v. 119). No wonder he feels a holy reverence before God (v. 120).
In this age of sentimentalism and vague spirituality, we need to share his sense of awe and reverence. The psalmist's love, faith and hope are entirely devoted to the God of revelation, as should ours, because God is our Refuge, Shield, Sustainor and Deliverer. [Each verse begins with Samekh, the 15th letter of the Hebrew alphabet.]
I. REFUGE IN GOD, 113-115.
II. RELIANCE ON GOD, 116-117.
III. REJECTED BY GOD, 118-119.
IV. REVERENCE FOR GOD, 120.
Our psalmist had an utter contempt for those who reject God's Word in favor of man's thoughts as he states in verse 113. "I hate those who are double-minded, But I love Your law."
Double-minded people refuse to make up their mind between good and evil. [Could be loosely translated as wishy washy, riding the fence, won't take a stand, see-sawing, or divided thoughts]. They falter or vacillate between two opinions. They are more concerned with popularity than with truth. James says, the double-minded man is "unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8).
When it comes to obeying God there is no middle ground. You must take a stand. Either you are obeying Him or you are not. Either you are obeying Him or you are being destabilized by the world, the flesh and the devil.
In opposition to this vacillation, the psalmist loves God's law, which is straightforward, trustworthy, and absolute. The opposite of the eternal and infallible law of God is the wavering, changing opinion of men. In proportion to his love to the law was his hate and rejection of man's thoughts, opinions and inventions.
We too like the Psalmist must choose to love God's Word. We must not be pliable to the thoughts and ways of fallen man, but be devoted to God's unchanging Word.
David loved hoped in God's Word because, as verse 114 declares, God was his Refuge and Shield. "You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your Word."
The Word of God leads him to the God of the Word as he confesses: "You are my hiding place and my shield" (Ps. 28:7).With these metaphors, he shows us that God is his protection and his protector. Like a deep cave, he hides in the Almighty. Like a shield in battle, his God covers him, so no enemy can corrupt or damage him.
To dwell in the Presence of the Lord brings shelter and protection. God is our refuge (ser, s ter, "hiding place") and defender in the storms of our troubles. God is the source of our protection from all the world throws at us.
He therefore "hopes in" God's Word. The reason for this is simple: God has proven Himself as the One who will take care of him. God has faithfully fulfilled His Word to him and now His Word is the psalmist's hope. God has proven Himself as David's tower of strength against his enemies therefore he places his trust and hope in God's keeping and protecting Word.
The writer then addressed the wicked, demanding that they leave him in verse 115. "Depart from me, evildoers, that I may observe the commandments of my God."
With divine boldness, the psalmist commands, "Depart from me, you evildoers." He has no time for those rebelling against the Word of God. Since we are influenced by the company we keep, evildoers are not to be a part of our company(1 Cor. 15:33). [Today we command man and spirit in name of Jesus.]
The demand for evildoers to depart is because he is resolved to do the will of the God who protects him. Thus he confesses "For I will keep [‘preserve'] the commandments of my God!" Notice the claim "my God" in the psalmist cry. Because he was committed to Yahweh as his God, he was committed to obeying His Word.
II. RELIANCE ON GOD, 116-117.
The psalmist asked God to sustain and deliver him as he has promised in verse 116. "Sustain me according to Your Word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope."
Based upon his decision to keep God's Word, he prays, "Uphold me according to Your Word, that I may live." It is important to note that God not only gives us His Word; He also gives us the strength to obey it. Life is to be found here, in fellowship with Him and in obedience to Him.
The psalmist adds the appeal, "And do not let me be ashamed of my hope." Shame would come if God did not come through for him. He has so committed his way to God that without the life God has promised him he will fail miserably. He stands in need of sustaining grace in order to preserver and succeed.
God's will never let you down. His Word will sustain you through your trials, if you place your hope in God's promises.
In a similar appeal to verse 116 he prays in verse 117 for God to wrap him in His care and carry him through it all. "Uphold me that I may be safe, that I may have regard for Your statutes continually."
David makes a personal relational request of the Lord to uphold him. The result of God upholding him is that he will be safe (or "saved").
As God lifts him to Himself, he will find safety or deliverance (from the evildoers, v. 115). If God will uphold him, he vows: "and I shall observe [or, ‘I will look in'] Your statutes continually." He makes firm and fixed resolution to live a holy life by keeping God's statues. His life will be devoted to the Word of God. The only way to preserver in God's will, way, and Word is by God's presence and power. Living in the Holy Spirit's presence and power is a must for the believer who would serve God everyday, all his days.
III. REJECTED BY GOD, 118-119.
The alternative to this godly life is given in verses 118–19. Verse 118 declares that God will not spiritually sustain those who do not walk in His Word making their life useless in the cause of God's kingdom. "You have rejected all those who wander from Your statutes, For their deceitfulness is useless."
To stray or wander is to "shake off or make light of." God is holy, and He calls us to a life of holiness. Thus He says to Israel, "And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Ex. 19:6).
God rejects strayers because "their deceit is useless." They say they know what is best, but cannot for they have strayed from walking in the light and wisdom of God's Word. In their attempt to deceive others they have deceived themselves. What every they do is useless or holds no value before God (John 15:5). [No liar can stand before the God who is true [Rev. 21:8]. Sooner or later God will set His foot on those who turn their foot from His Word.
The destiny of these deceivers is made clear in verse 119. "You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross; Therefore I love Your testimonies."
Dross is that which is burned out of metal when it is refined in the fire (see 1 Cor. 3:11–15). In a smelter where molten ore or metal is purified this dross or scum rises to the top to be skimmed off and thrown away. Those who stray (v. 118) from God's statues are treated like dross [the Hebrew for dross is a pun on the word stray]. This is a very frightening picture of how God will treat those who reject His Son and His Word.
[Spurgeon said, "As the metal is the better for losing its alloy, so is the church the better for having the wicked removed. These wicked ones are "of the earth" [not of heaven] "the wicked of the earth," and they have no right to be with those who are not of the world... the Lord therefore puts them away... leaving none of them to deteriorate His church. The process will one day be perfect [in heaven's Church]." [Spurgeon, Charles. The Treasury of David. Vol. 3. McLean, VA: MacDonald Publishing. p. 357.]
The Lord goodness in removing the wicked delights the psalmist as he confesses: "Therefore I love Your testimonies." Not only is it right to separate out the dross from those being purified, it is in his self-interest. By loving God's Word, he will not be among the wicked who will be removed. Furthermore, as God removes the wicked, He Himself will be vindicated and His Word will be shown to be true.
IV. REVERENCE FOR GOD, 120.
In light of the judgment to come, and in light of God's character, which stands behind it, the psalmist responds in awe and reverence to God in verse 120. "My flesh trembles for fear of You, and I am afraid of Your judgments."
The psalmist trembled in awe at the judgments of God. His "flesh" [or humanity] quivers out of his deep reverence for God. Judgments here refers to retributions.
Here is godly fear. It is evoked because of the greatness of God and the certainty of His judgments against all the double-minded and evildoers. As He reveals Himself we must fall on our faces before Him. Thus Isaiah cried out, "Woe is me" when he saw the holiness of God in the temple (Isa. 6:5).
[Our love for God and His Word will remove the fear that torments from those who are in Christ because His perfect love casts out such fear (1 John 4:17–18). [Williams, Donald. The Preacher's Commentary Series, Vol. 14: Psalms 73-150. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989, S. 369.] Then only the fear that leads to reverence, awe and obedience will remain.]
This last verse imparts great wisdom to the believer. We should have a healthy FEAR of God! I believe in what Scripture says that we are justified and declared NOT GUILTY, but that does NOT preclude us from seeking to live a life of holiness and seeking to please our God!
I believe the church today has come to the point where we no longer have a reverential fear of God. But God is holy and He will NOT be mocked! He has His standard that He calls ALL of humanity to live by, and those who reject His Word, reject Him, and ultimately will pay the price for that rejection! Good men have need to be restrained from sin by the fear of the Lord, especially when judgment begins at the house of God, especially when hypocrites are put away as dross. [Bobby Stults. SermonCentral.com / Psalm 119:113-120. Samekh.]
The psalmist is concerned for the evildoers of his day. He talks to them about God, and he talks to God about them. Because He accepts God's Word, he must reject man's opinions. Though such resolve makes him a target of the proud wicked, he has committed himself to trust wholly in God and His Word.
May we become like him.