Psalm 119.65-72 (5)
Pray Psalm 119.69, 70.
The proud have forged a lie against me,
But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.
Their heart is as fat as grease,
But I delight in Your law.
Sing Psalm 119.68-70.
(Open My Eyes: Open My Eyes, That I May See)
Lord, You are good, and good You do; teach me that I may do good, too.
Wicked men my true pathway distort: I keep Your Word with all my heart.
Their heart is dark with sin’s cruel blight, but in Your Law is my delight.
Let me not turn from Your sweet Light, nor from Your Word.
Read Psalm 119.65-72; meditate on verses 69, 70.
1. Who was spreading lies about the psalmist?
2. How did he resolve to overcome those lies?
We arrive at the crux of the psalmist’s affliction: Proud, wicked men were lying about him. Men with thick, greasy hearts, hearts which were not directed in love for God and neighbors. The psalmist was being slandered, libeled. It was a vicious attack and a difficult burden. But the psalmist may have brought such mocking and scorn on himself by his departing the Lord’s pathway (v. 67).
Did the wicked see him in his dalliance? Or hear about whatever it was he had done to invite God’s discipline? Did they know he had lied (v. 29) and coveted (v. 36)? We don’t know. But it seems clear they were making the most of the psalmist’s straying to put him down and undermine his authority.
And God was using this for the psalmist’s good (v. 68), to firm up his resolution to keep the Law of God. He would not allow his heart to be drawn away from God’s Word (v. 69). He would take delight, not in putting others down or slandering them in return, but in the Law of God and its promises (v. 70).
The best defense against those who mock, scorn, and libel us is to live consistently according to God’s Word (vv. 41, 42). They may use against us words we’ve never heard in the Bible; but the words of Scripture will be our refuge and strength, to help us stand up against all affliction and maintain our journey in the pathway of the Lord (cf. Ps. 12).
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Isn’t it nice of the Lord that He gives us words that we can say about those who slander us? We seem to be allowed to refer to them as proud, greasy, slimy (OK, I’m ad libbing) -hearted people. And that feels good.
But then in return for that favor we must find a way to keep God’s precepts and delight in His Law. “Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (Eph. 4.26, 27).
“Blessed are those who keep justice, and he who does righteousness at all times!” (Ps. 106.3) Even in the face of false accusations by horrible people. For whatever reason they choose to be cruel.
“The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise.
He who disdains instruction despises his own soul,
but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding” (Prov. 15.31, 32).
God wants us to learn from the mistakes of others. He would never want us to be proud, or greasy-hearted to them, would He?
Jesus spells out for us exactly how we are to control ourselves, our thoughts, and our love for Him and others: “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.
And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these’” (Mk. 12.29-31).
If we are keeping those commandments as we should, then there really won’t be much room left in our life for anger or hurt or pride. Or even legal name calling. Our time will be filled with the goodness of God and His work. Our calendar truly will be just too full to care one whit about being slandered or libeled or attacked by the greasy-hearted.
As Paul Simon sang, we’ll be “one step ahead…”
1. We stay “one step ahead” of those who slander and lie about us by keeping the Word of God. Explain.
2. Why do you think people speak lies and say bad things about Christians? Do we deserve some of this? What other reasons might there be, and how does this help us in understanding those who do?
3. How can you prepare right now to deal with those today who might slander or libel your faith?
The proud are full of the world, and its wealth and pleasures; these make them senseless, secure, and stupid. God visits his people with affliction, that they may learn his statutes. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.65-72
Pray Psalm 119.71, 72.
Ask the Lord for courage to live out your faith before a hostile world. What will that require of you today? Commit your day to the Lord, and yourself as a living sacrifice unto His glory.
Sing Psalm 119.71, 72.
(Open My Eyes: Open My Eyes, That I May See)
All my afflictions, Lord, I turn to You that I Your Law may learn.
Teach me to hold Your Word in my heart, never from its true way to part.
Your Law is better far to me than any wealth could ever be;
open my eyes and let me see more of Your Word!
T. M. and Susie Moore
You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Psalm 119 by clicking here.
What is the Law of God and how should we learn and obey it? Two books can help. The Law of God arranges the statutes and precepts of God’s Law under their appropriate number of the Ten Commandments. This book is an excellent tool for meditating on God’s Law and thinking about its application in our time. The Ground for Christian Ethics, on the other hand, explains why the Law matters and how we are to use it. You can order free copies of each of these here and here.
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.