Psalm 119.145-152 (5)
Pray Psalm 119.150, 151.
They draw near who follow after wickedness;
They are far from Your law.
You are near, O LORD,
And all Your commandments are truth.
Sing Psalm 119.150, 151.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
Those who forsake Your Word draw near in wickedness;
yet You are near, O God my Lord! Your truth will save and bless!
Read Psalm 119.145-152; meditate on verses 150, 151.
1. From what are the wicked far?
2. Who was near to the psalmist?
Sincere believers are temptation magnets. Wickedness seems to press upon or circle around them, because spiritual forces of wickedness in high places do not like being opposed. They have already enlisted multitudes of like-minded people and bred their moral and spiritual insecurities into them, so there’s never any shortage of wicked people or spirits to test, tempt, try, and trouble those whose hearts are devoted to Jesus.
So get used to it. But not to the point of complacency.
Those who dangle temptations before you – whether they are spirits or people – seek to draw you far away from the Law of God, to join them in their miseries and sin. Be alert, Peter warned us (1 Pet. 5.7, 8). Get ready to resist those who, drawing near with their temptations would draw you far away from the Lord (Jms. 4.7, 8). Always remember that Immanuel is with you, and His truth is powerful to help you overcome temptation and stay near to the Lord (Phil. 4.13).
Make it your goal to stay near Him Who stays near to you always. Know that the desire of wicked men and spirits is to separate you from God and His Word, and thus to rob you of all true and lasting meaning, purpose, happiness, peace, and power. Their words and suggestions are lies; God’s Word is truth.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
We don’t like to think of ourselves, or people in our church, or family members, or friends as wicked; but sure enough, right here in Psalm 119.150, the wicked are referred to as those who are far from God’s Law.
What does it mean to be far from God’s Law? Is it a condition that anyone could be afflicted with at any given time? Do we ever ignore God’s Law or follow someone else as our king? Or love and serve something else with more fervor than we love God? Do we ever tweak the commandments to serve our purposes?
Because God is near, He knows if we are straying away from Him and His Law. We draw comfort from His nearness, but we should also tremble and fear too. He doesn’t miss a beat of our hearts and lives. “Whenever we sin it is in the Presence of the Lord. He has promised to be with us always, and that means He is with us as we set our feet on the path of rebellion, corruption, and sin.” (ReVision, 10/28/22, www.ailbe.org)
To flee the condition of wickedness is of prime importance. James gives us the key: “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (Jms. 4.7, 8).
Truth is what we seek. God’s Word is truth. Jesus is “The way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14.6). We have a choice, to let wickedness draw near or the truth of God’s Law. Samuel put this same choice before the people of Israel who had already made the bad decision to serve another king. He said to them, “Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king” (1 Sam. 12.24, 25).
Our God, Who is near, is full of love and forgiveness, ready to guide us into all truth:
“The LORD is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.
The LORD preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy” (Ps. 145.17-20).
When we stay near to God’s Law and submit to His truth, the desire to do wickedly will be the furthest thing from our hearts and minds. God will keep us in perfect peace when our mind is stayed on Him, because we trust in Him. (Is. 26.3). Far from wickedness and near to Him.
1. How do you experience the nearness of God throughout the day?
2. How can remembering that God is near help you in resisting temptation?
3. What can you do to help those who are far from God and His Law come to know Him as near?
He encourages himself from the consolatory consideration, that God, when he sees his own people sore pressed, comes forward, seasonably to afford them succor. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.151
Pray Psalm 119.152.
Ask God to show you how His Word – testimonies, judgments, commandments, promises, precepts, and so forth – should lead you in working your Personal Mission Field today. Seek specific guidance for upcoming activities.
Sing Psalm 119.152.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
Your Word has been from old, established by decree.
More precious than the finest gold, Your Word gives life to 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.