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The Scriptorium

Where Your Treasure Is

Make sure it's in the Word. Psalm 119.161, 162

Psalm 119.161-168 (1)

Pray Psalm 119.161, 162.

Princes persecute me without a cause,
But my heart stands in awe of Your word.
I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure.

Sing Psalm 119.161, 162.
(Hymn to Joy: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee)
Lord, I take my stand with gladness on Your holy, righteous Word.
I rejoice as with great treasure in Your holy Law, O Lord.
Princes persecute me daily; without cause they seek my harm.
Yet I stand on Your Word squarely; hold me with Your mighty arm.

Read Psalm 119.161-168; meditate on verses 1
61, 162.

1. What was the psalmist facing?

2. How did the psalmist regard God’s Word?

It doesn’t get much worse than when the government is out to get you.

Jerusalem and Judah during the period in which the psalmist was writing was a mixture of faithful believers and people who were compromised in their faith. Sadly, some of the most compromised were those in high places – priests and rulers. They had found that by tolerating, if not embracing, foreign gods, they could make political alliances that were lucrative all around.

Such people could not tolerate those like our psalmist who were forever calling them out for their sins. Those who had power could be brutal toward the prophets of God, and our psalmist was no exception. He was being persecuted. We don’t know how or to what extent, but the government was on him to lighten up and leave them alone. He had the word from the government; he also had the Word of God.

The psalmist treasured the Word of God more than he feared the words of men. He stood “in awe” of God’s Word. This becomes true of all those who read and meditate on God’s Word consistently and at ever-greater depths. Consequently, they treasure that Word and its teachings, and they will not back down from it no matter how severe the threats.

When the Word of God is our greatest treasure, our hearts will be in awe of Him, and we will not fear what men might do to us.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
It has always been thus, that “because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; but by a man of understanding and knowledge right will be prolonged” (Prov. 28.2). And as the many “princes” seek to control the narrative of the whole it seems as if the righteous have been silenced. But that is never the case. The “princes” are only people. “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish” (Ps. 146.3, 4).

Jesus warned us not to fear them, but to “fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10.28). He is the One who loves us, chastens us, guides us, and protects us. “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him” (Prov. 30.5).

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding;
for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her” (Prov. 3.13-15).

Our focus must change from one of fear to joy found in the bounteous grace of God’s Word and truth. Jesus said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Lk. 12.32). And He told us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6.33), and when we do, Jesus confirms the validity of our seeking by telling us that where our treasure is, “there your heart will be also” (Lk. 12.24).

When our heart is ensconced in His Kingdom, then we will no longer act as children, “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting…” (Eph. 4.14); but we will have God’s understanding and knowledge “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4.12). Without fear, because our heart is “rejoicing” in God’s Word, and we have found “great treasure” there. Princes may think they rule over us, but we know better! Our heart stands in awe of God (Ps. 119.161, 162).

“The LORD shall reign forever—your God…Praise the LORD!” (Ps. 145.10)

For reflection
1. Why do we not need to fear what men might do to us?

2. How is the Word of God like a great treasure? How does God intend that we should “spend” this treasure?

3. What does it mean for you to be “ensconced” in God’s Kingdom? How is that apparent in your daily life?

Those whose hearts stand in awe of God’s word, will rather endure the wrath of man, than break the law of God. By the word of God we are unspeakable gainers. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.161, 162

Pray Psalm 119.166-168.
Bring your day before the Lord in prayer, task by task. Commit yourself before the Lord to keeping His Word and living in His salvation throughout the day.

Sing Psalm 119.166-168.
(Hymn to Joy: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee)
Lord, I hope for Your salvation and I keep Your holy Word.
All Your precepts and commandments I love as I love You, Lord.
All my ways are spread before You; my soul keeps Your holy Word!
More than life itself I love You and Your Word, O righteous Lord.

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.
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