Psalm 119.113-120 (5)
Pray Psalm 119.118, 119.
You reject all those who stray from Your statutes,
For their deceit is falsehood.
You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross;
Therefore I love Your testimonies.
Sing Psalm 119.118, 119.
(Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
All those who from Your path stray, reject and bring to shame.
They mock Your chosen pathway, and scorn Your holy Name.
Like dross cast them away, Lord - the wicked of the earth!
Your Word will I obey, Lord, and praise Your holy worth.
Read Psalm 119.113-120; meditate on verses 118, 119.
1. Whom does the Lord reject and put away?
2. How did that make the psalmist feel about God’s testimonies?
At one point in my life I was writing poems and essays and sending them out to various journals. In those days before the Internet, you had to send an SASE – self-addressed stamped envelope – if you wanted to receive a response. When these came back, I’d open them with high hopes. But by far and away, I received more rejections than I did acceptances.
See, the problem wasn’t that I didn’t think my writing was good. I was convinced it was. It was just that, well, I failed to meet the standards of the editors. It didn’t matter how earnest or persuaded I was about my work; what mattered was their view.
Jesus dealt with a similar situation. On the last day people came to Him, calling Him “Lord, Lord” and all that, hoping that their chosen course and confession of His Name would get them into heaven. But He rejected them, calling them workers of “lawlessness” (Matt. 7.21-23).
Solomon reminds us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14.12).
Listen up: If you stray from God’s commandments, away from the path of righteousness onto the path of wickedness, you can expect to receive a sad and terrible SASE from Him: REJECTED! You thought your best efforts were like silver. He sees them as dross. Turn from, ignore, neglect, or reject the statutes, commandments, testimonies, and precepts of God’s Law and His Word, and no matter how sincere you are or how satisfied you are with your chosen path, you are on the way to rejection, now and forever. Our salvation is not earned by keeping God’s Law; rather, it is proved by our obedience to Jesus’ standard.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Work is available, and I must fill out a job application. On it, I am requested to share characteristics about myself. You know, to impress, because I’d like to be part of this company. Here goes: “I like to think that one of my best features is that I am like dross. What is that you ask? Well, here is a word salad to sum up the salient points: something regarded as worthless; rubbish; foreign matter, you know, like dregs or mineral waste. Scum formed on the surface of molten metal. Yep. There you have it. I know you can’t wait to hire me. Feel free to call or email me with your offer.”
Spoiler alert: I don’t think the boss will be impressed.
More importantly, is God impressed with this condition? Or that kind of mindset or heartset? Are we strayers and stragglers from God’s Law? Are we deceiving ourselves about the state of our faith? Do we think God is OK with wickedness?
It must be possible for God’s people to become like that because many Scriptures speak to this characteristic. Here is what God thinks about it: “Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries, and take vengeance on My enemies. I will turn My hand against you, and thoroughly purge away your dross, and take away all your alloy” (Is. 1.25). Fired. But sent for more training.
The word of the LORD came to Ezekiel, and he wrote, “…the house of Israel has become dross to Me…so I will gather you in My anger and in My fury, and I will leave you there and melt you…then you shall know that I, the LORD, have poured out My fury on you” (Ez. 22.18-22). Totally unemployable.
He does indeed “put away the wicked like dross” (Ps. 119. 119). Rejected. Because really, does God want Kingdom-workers to bear that resemblance?
The good news is this: “Take away the dross from silver, and it will go to the silversmith for jewelry” (Prov. 25.4). We can go from being rejected unemployables to employee of the year! With our own parking space.
Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you” (Jn. 14.2).
We want to be useful servants in the Kingdom of God. We do not want to be dross-like. We want to be fine jewelry that God can use mightily. God told Israel that the Gentiles would see their righteousness. He went on to say: “You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD will name. You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God…for the LORD delights in you…” (Is. 62.2-4). God gives us a new name and changes us from dross into a jeweled crown.
As “His own special people” we have work to do—that “you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness [drossness] into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2.9).
“I love Your testimonies”! (Ps. 119.119).
1. What does loving the testimonies of God have to do with the dross that sometimes gathers on our lives?
2. Why is it important that we know and follow Jesus’ standard for life in His Kingdom?
3. How does God regard those who “stray” from His Word? What can we do to keep from straying like this?
The prophet means, that, however well pleased the wicked are with their own cunning, they yet do nothing else than deceive themselves with falsehood. And it was needful to add this clause; for we see how the great bulk of mankind are fatally intoxicated with their own vain imaginations, and how difficult it is to believe what is here asserted, ― that the more shrewd they are in their own estimation, the more do they deceive themselves. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.118
Pray Psalm 119.113-115.
Pray for the lost people in your Personal Mission Field. Ask God to soften their hearts toward Him and to give you an opportunity to share His love with one of them today.
Sing Psalm 119.113-115.
(Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
Lord, those who do not trust You with all their mind and heart,
shall soon receive their just due - let them from me depart!
My shelter and my shield, Lord, I hope in all Your Word!
To all Your Law I yield, Lord, to live in full accord.
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.