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The Scriptorium


And God stands behind it. Psalm 119.121, 122

Psalm 119.112-128 (1)

Pray Psalm 119.121, 122.

I have done justice and righteousness;
Do not leave me to my oppressors.
Be surety for Your servant for good;
Do not let the proud oppress me.

Sing Psalm 119.121-123.
(Leominster: My Heart Doth Overflow)
Lord, justice I have done, and likewise righteousness.
Leave me not to the proud one, Lord, nor those who would oppress!
My strength and promise be of more salvation, Lord.
O God of grace, my Guarantee, uphold me by Your Word!

Read Psalm 119.121-128; meditate on verses 121, 122.

1. What did the psalmist plead before the Lord?

2. What was he seeking from Him?

We’re not surprised to see that heavy awareness of wickedness bleeding through from the previous stanza to the ע stanza (ayin – it has no specific sound attached to it). Here, proud oppressors are threatening him, although we’re not sure exactly how.

He calls on the Lord to be his Guarantee, his “down payment” on goodness. This is the way Paul referred to the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 1.14. He is God’s “down payment” that more of His Kingdom, power, Presence, pleasure, peace, and joy are yet to come.

The psalmist must have fallen into the company of oppressors somehow. Walking the streets of unfaithful Jerusalem, that wouldn’t have been too difficult. We can imagine our psalmist, strolling home from the temple, being suddenly accosted by a group of rich men who wanted to “talk” with him about his preaching.

In the confidence that God would keep him in His goodness, we can see our psalmist simply walking on, like Jesus through the angry mob in Luke 4.30. No one can harm those who look steadfastly to the Lord and stand firm in His Word. And the proof that we do? “I have done justice and righteousness…”

The wicked may indeed bring affliction to us, but nothing and no one can wrest us from our loving Father’s hand. Guaranteed.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
Since there are promises of goodness, and guarantees of protection, wrapped up in our behavior: Wouldn’t it make a great deal of sense for us to practice justice and righteousness? (Ps. 119.121, 122)

God thinks so, and is not afraid to say so:
“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice” (Prov. 21.3).
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…” (1 Sam. 15.22).
“It is a joy for the just to do justice, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity” (Prov. 21.15).
“For I the LORD, love justice…” (Is. 61.8).

How then do we go about doing works of justice and righteousness? The ones already prepared for us to do? (Eph. 2.10). We must first clarify in our hearts why we are doing them. It is not to earn our salvation. That would be impossible to do; and Jesus already accomplished that for us and gave it to us as a gift. What we are working for is to make our salvation evident. Because “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only…For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (Jms. 2.24, 26). When this matter is settled, we are ready to get busy with our Kingdom work.

Paul sums up our Kingdom mindset and heartset, and of what these works of justice and righteousness consist: “Finally, brethren, 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. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4.8, 9). Remembering always that “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2.13).

And God gave us Jesus Who makes our works of justice and righteousness a possibility. He instructed us thusly: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15.4, 5).

But in Him and with Him, we can say with the psalmist, “I have done justice and righteousness” (Ps. 110.121).

For reflection
1. In what sense is God a Guarantee for us? How do we lay hold on what He guarantees?

2. How would you explain to a new believer the place of works of justice and righteousness in the life of faith?

3. Meditate on Hebrews 10.24. Whom will you pray for and encourage in love and good works today?

Happy is the man, who, acting upon gospel principles, does justice to all around. Christ our Surety, having paid our debt and ransom, secures all the blessings of salvation to every true believer. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.121,122

Pray Psalm 119.128.
Lay the “all things” of your day before the Lord in prayer, asking Him to show you how His Word should guide your steps as you are going out into your Personal Mission Field.

Sing Psalm 119.128.

(Leominster: My Heart Doth Overflow)
Speak, Lord, and let us hear, the precepts of Your Word,
and know Your Presence ever near - our good and sovereign Lord!
Your ways are right and true; I hate each lying way
Your precepts let me ever do and never from them stray.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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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.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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