Psalm 119.73-80 (5)
Pray Psalm 119.78.
Let the proud be ashamed,
For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood;
But I will meditate on Your precepts.
Sing Psalm 119.77-80.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want)
Your tender mercies come to me that I may live in You.
Your Law I ponder joyfully, Your will to know and do.
Shame all who treat me wrongfully; Your precepts I pursue.
Read Psalm 119.73-80; meditate on verse 78.
1. How were others treating the psalmist?
2. What did he do in response?
Falsehood comes in various forms. Deception, misinformation, flattery, half-truths, bias, prejudice, lies. All falsehoods derive from the one basic lie Paul describes in Romans 1.18-32, the lie of turning away from God and His revelation to worship and serve other things, ideas, values, or visions. Those who embrace the lie must compound and propagate it to justify their commitment to it. Which makes for a veritable flood of lies throughout our society.
The problem with falsehood is its ubiquity. It’s not like the 17-year locusts, or even a national holiday that comes ‘round once a year. Falsehood is the information air we breathe! It is the devil’s flood intended to drown out the message of truth from the people of God (Rev. 12.13-17). We can’t fight lies with lies. We can only protect ourselves against falsehood and our Personal Mission Field from the landmines of lies by continuous resort to the Word of God, beginning in His Law.
And the psalmist understood the importance of meditating on the precepts of God. In meditation we exercise our minds by comparisons (“God’s precepts are like…”), images or situations (Solomon judging between the two women), consideration of synonyms (“think about”, “turn around in my mind”, “chew on”), and plain talk (“OK, here’s what ‘God’s precepts’ are, and how they apply to me”). The more we do this, the more we will train our soul to understand, desire, and choose the precepts of God whenever falsehood is seeking to penetrate our soul.
Don’t try to walk through the flood of lies. Rise above it on the truth of God’s Word.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
We remember that in Psalm 119.70 we were given permission to call the proud “greasy-hearted”. Well, here we are given the same freedom to pray that the proud liars in our lives “be ashamed” (Ps. 119.78).
But because we have the warning from God: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him” (Prov. 24.17, 18); we must be careful, always, about how we deal with those who are our foes. Even if it is just in our minds.
And we have this warning/promise from God, as well: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you” (Prov. 25.21, 22).
Truly, “falsehood is the information air we breathe.” Whether they are lies told about us personally or lies that we know are told to our loved ones or lies that are pervasive in the world in which we live, lies are everywhere. And happily, we know who is telling them. Whether he uses the mouths of others, or he inflicts the lies directly into the hearts of the unaware, it is our enemy, the father of lies, who is behind it all. Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8.44).
No falsehood is ever from God. “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace…” (1 Cor. 14.33). In fact, “God…cannot lie” (Titus 1.2).
Paul wrote us wise words about how to counteract the air of lies that surround us: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Phil. 4.8).
So, “I will meditate on Your precepts” (Ps. 119.78). And on Jesus Who is the truth (Jn. 14.6).
1. What is the antidote to the lies that are everywhere present in our world? Explain.
2. What can you do to prepare yourself each day to recognize and resist the lies and falsehoods that will come at you?
3. Whom will you encourage today to stand firm in the truth of God’s Word?
… whenever we are wrongfully persecuted by wicked men, we are invited to have recourse directly to God for protection. At the same time, we are taught that we have no reason to be abashed at their insolence; for, whatever power they may arrogate to themselves, He will beat down their loftiness, and lay it low, to their shame… John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.78
Pray Psalm 119.75-77.
Confess your confidence in the Law of God and all His Word. Give thanks to God for His Word. Pray for mercy and grace for each of your day’s activities, and the Word of God to light your path.
Sing Psalm 119.75-77.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want)
Your judgments all are right, I know; You judge me faithfully.
Let kindness be my comfort so Your mercy I may see.
Your grace Your faithful servant show, as You have promised me.
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.