Summary: We face difficulties in life and many of us seek peace in this life… the psalmist here instructs us on how peace can be obtained and that is thru obedience to God’s Word…
April 11, 2012
Oak Park Baptist Church – Wed Bible Study Series
Psalm 119:161-169 (ESV) – 21 of 22
Sin or Shin – 20th letter of the Hebrew Alphabet
Read/show ALL verses b4 verse by verse teaching…
[ESV] [show verses here]
161Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your words. 162I rejoice at Your word like one who finds great spoil.163I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love Your law.164Seven times a day I praise You for Your righteous rules.165Great peace have those who love Your law; nothing can make them stumble.166I hope for Your salvation, O Lord, and I do Your commandments.167My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.168I keep Your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before You.
[ESV] [show verses here]
161Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your words.
161Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles only at your word.
The initial item we see the psalmist approaching in this stanza is the idea of fear or terror brought against those who serve God.
In the ESV the word used is ‘persecute’ and in the NLT they translate it as ‘harass’… the word being translated here is the Hebrew verb raw-daff which can be defined as to persecute, harass to follow after, aim to secure
Here the idea the psalmist is implying is that he is being pursued… but in a negative and stalking type way. It does not necessarily mean persecute to cause harm, but it could.
For us here in America this is more the case… we have those who ‘persecute’ us but it is more of a harassment and negative attitude toward our beliefs, and it is NOT a physical attack!
However, in other parts of the world this does not hold true. In nations all over the world there are those who are being physically persecuted for their faith in Christ!
They are mocked publicly, ridiculed relentlessly, harassed without end, physically abused and beaten, and even to the point of many have given their life because of their faith in Christ!
Here the psalmist could be speaking of EITHER of these situations… simple verbal harassment to an outright physical assault upon his person… He basically says, there are people in power who try to scare me… they try to overwhelm me with fear.
His implication is that they seek to stop him from serving God! But the psalmist does not allow their persecution to sway him…
WHY? Well he elaborates on that in the 2nd part of this verse when he says, ‘…but my heart stands in AWE of Your words…” or as the NLT puts it, “…but my heart trembles ONLY at Your word…”
Here the psalmist lets it be known that even tho’ many may come against him, his focus in on God and he gladly faces human persecution because he did not want to face God’s discipline for being disobedient to His words… His law!
This is just like the situation with Peter and John in Acts 5 when they faced the Sanhedrin. These powerful men had arrested Peter and John and demanded they stop preaching Jesus to the crowds! Peter stood boldly and said… ‘I must obey God and not man…’
This reveals 2 things at the same time… FIRST and foremost this reveals the psalmists willingness to be obedient to God’s law, no matter what it would cost him. They may be powerful men, but that would not sway his obedience to God’s word!
The 2nd thing we see here is the psalmist’s healthy FEAR of God in action… Here he displays his awe of God’s position and power…
He understands WHO is in charge and WHO is truly the ONE he answers to… These men may be ‘in charge’ here on earth, but God is in charge and when it comes to obedience, he must NOT put men before God!
This is how we must LIVE our lives… we must seek to be obedient to God’s word REGARDLESS of the cost to our lives here in this world! WHY? Well, when we stand before God on that day of judgment, we will stand blameless knowing that we obeyed God rather than men…
Jesus said in Matt 10:32: “…Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven...”
Do your actions and obedience reflect your acknowledgment of Jesus as Lord? Or do they reflect your own desires or your submission to the pressures of this world or those IN this world? Here the psalmist is teaching us to submit to His word!
But let me clarify that the psalmist does not submit in obedience to God’s word because of his sense of obligation OR out of his FEAR of God, although those things are present, the psalmist submits in obedience for a different reason… he lets us know in the next verse