G’day! Welcome to Partake and our continuing series “Scriptural Delights!” Here is our seventeenth podcast going through the wonder that is Psalm 119! Today we look at the fifteenth of its twenty-two letters, Samekh, and its verses 113 to 120.
113 I hate double-minded men,
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 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 deceitfulness is in vain.
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.
Thanks again for reading, Sandy!
Just as he is single-minded regarding God, obeying God and keeping God’s law, so there are others who are unstable and are in two minds about how to act! The Psalmist compares the stability and reliability of God’s word with the instability and fluctuations of those who are unstable in their commitment to God and God alone. Even his own thoughts when he strays, are the product of a mind that is having wayward thoughts. The Psalmist knows that only God’s word and God’s wisdom can provide a solid basis for making decisions, whether moral, private or public. We get the sense that he is fighting a battle within himself, to control his thoughts and thinking patterns – that when his old ways of thinking habitually take over, he hates it. He goes on to cry out to God that God alone is his rescuer, refuge and protector! He cannot rely on his own intellect and man-made wisdom to do that for him, but rather, he relies on God’s word and God’s wisdom to reveal God as his protector and shelter!
Then in verse 115, we see that he has a battle not only within himself, but also those who would seek him harm. These people are taunting, tempting and seeking to destroy him. Perhaps they are mocking him for his belief in God’s words and wisdom, which is why he retorts by saying he wants to keep the commandments of his protecting God. With God at his side, the Psalmist knows that no harm can come to him. He has a personal relationship with this God and the Psalmist seeks to follow closely. The taunts of his enemies are nothing and the Psalmist takes refuge in the wisdom of His All-knowing God. His God has promised to sustain him, maintain his life! The Psalmist has put all his hopes in and on this great God whom he desires to know more and more. He knows God’s promises are true, unlike those made by his enemies. God will not forsake him, even when all other people do.
When he is in trouble, to whom does he turn? Does he turn to his enemies and surrender? Does he rely on his own wisdom and guile to escape the clutches of those who would do him harm? No! The Psalmist knows that God Himself will deliver him from the clutches of evil, and that by paying regard to God’s decrees and God’s wisdom, there will be an escape for him! He doesn’t want to obey mere man but rather be obedient to this great God whom he loves, cherishes, adores and has promised to deliver him from evil and those who do evil! Those who reject God and God’s ways, will be rejected by God Himself! They are living a life of deceit, double-mindedness and fluctuating morals – God will reject them because they have paid Him no heed. They have relied on their own wisdom and guile to survive – but not for much longer!
For the Psalmist knows that this God rules the earth and all those who do wicked and are not in relationship with Him, will be lost forever. The Psalmist knows that it is by his God’s twin actions of mercy and grace that he will be delivered and because he loves this God, he also loves all that God has commanded to be done. He is in fear of this awesome, all-powerful God and is in awe of the wisdom given in the laws and commandments of this God. Those that rely on their own wisdom, own imagination, own power will be as dust in the wind – but those that fear the Lord, accept His wisdom and commandments, will be delivered, rescued and be alive forever – just like the Psalmist says!
I don’t know about you, but I face a constant battle to be obedient to God and His wisdom. When we are tempted to sin, we are given two choices – either sin or not sin. We hop from one leg to the other, not knowing which leg to stand on. By continuing to ponder the temptation, we fall into a double-minded state. We can choose to either obey God or disobey Him. Our 3 enemies surround us: satan, the world and our old nature. We are to be over-comers of these enemies and not in our own strength, wisdom or guile. If we put our trust in anybody or anything but God the Holy Spirit to help us overcome the temptation to sin, we will fall into that trap of double-mindedness that the Psalmist talks about. We too will then be jumping from one leg to other, not knowing how to stand. We can overcome our enemies and temptations by asking God the Holy Spirit to help us escape the trap and by also having a reverent fear of God. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom cries the writer of Proverbs. It is a fear borne out of respect rather than dread. It is a fear borne from being in total awe! So lets go, not hopping from one leg to the other or from one thought to other, but rather get to know God’s word intimately, be stable in your thinking and in your fearful desire to please this awesome God of grace and mercy, who delivers, rescues, protects and shelters! And it is in this God, that I take rest in my new nature given to me when I became a Christian and letting Him fight the battles for me. Thank you.
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