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The Scriptorium

Evil Days

Resist it. Psalm 119.113-120

Psalm 119.113-120

Pray Psalm 119.115.

Depart from me, you evildoers,
For I will keep the commandments of my God!

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.

Read Psalm 119.113-120; meditate on verse 115.

1. To whom does the psalmist address his words?

2. What does he want of them?

More than any previous stanza, the samek verses seem to be aware of the presence of wickedness and its strong allure. The “double-minded” and “evildoers” are always near (vv. 113, 115). So also those “who stray” from the Lord and practice deceit with their tongues (v. 118). The wicked are as dross (v. 119) to be cast away as worthless.

Paul wrote that “the days are evil” (Eph. 5.15-17). Consequently, we must not allow our time to be encroached upon or taken over by wickedness in any form. If we shelter in God and His Word (v. 114), we will find a shield to protect us against temptations and threats. Obeying the commandments of God, and all His Word, will keep us from straying (vv. 115, 118) and allow us to know His upholding grace and truth for all things (v. 117). So, too, remembering the promise of God that He will discipline His people when they turn away from Him (v. 120).

God shows us how to deal with wickedness: Put it away from you (v. 119)! Command it to be gone (v. 115)! Reject the ways of wickedness (v. 118)! Seek the company of those who fear the Lord, and make sure you fear Him and not the threats of men (vv. 120).

And let your mindset and heartset be on the Word of God, to know, delight in, and obey it always. Evil has no power over those who stand firm in the Word of the Lord (Matt. 4.1-11).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
It is not advisable to dabble in evil or ignore the Law of God!

As Christians we must do things the way God says to do them (Ex. 20.1-17). We must not waffle in our obedience, or quibble about His ways. He knows best. We don’t (Deut. 32.46, 47). We must despise the sin that dwells within and without us, depart from evil, and demand that evil depart from us. Solomon twice warned that, “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished” (Prov. 22.3; 27.12); and he encouraged us that “by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil” (Prov. 16.6).

David wrote an appropriate prayer for us to pray regarding evil: “Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men…Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies” (Ps. 139.19, 21, 22).

I was lovingly warned years ago to, “Watch your deviations!” And I freely pass that warning on to you. Falling into sin happens gradually. We let this little thing into our thinking, or we allow that little sin to gingerly creep into our way of life. We slowly begin to tolerate things that were once displeasing to us (and most assuredly are displeasing to God) because the world tells us we should. Or we think we should. Thus, we gradually deviate from the Law of God. We mistakenly test and try Him. We should not.

Here is what we should do: We should keep our eyes fully on God and stay focused on what He has called us to do. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2.10). And we should pray like David did.  After he had prayed against the wicked, he prayed for himself: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139.23, 24).

Striving to be holy, as God is holy, is a full-time job (1 Pet. 1.16; Ps. 90.12). 

Our psalmist wrote a checklist to help us reach that goal:

  1. Don’t be double-minded.
  2. Don’t mess with evildoers.
  3. Don’t be ashamed of your hope.
  4. Don’t stray or deviate from God’s Laws.
  5. Don’t be like dross.
  6. Do hope in His Word.
  7. Do love His Law.
  8. Do observe His statutes continually.
  9. Do fear Him and His judgments. (Ps. 119.113-120)

Consequently, “He who heeds the word [the checklist] wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he” (Prov. 16.20), and “Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!” (Ps. 144.15) 

“Evil has no power over those who stand firm in the Word of the Lord.”

For reflection
1. Why do you think Christians fall into wicked practices from time to time?

2. What should we do if we find this to be the case in our own lives?

3. How can believers help one another to hate evil and wickedness and cling to what is good?

The dangerous influence of fellowship with wicked men is but too evident from observation; and to this it is owing, that few continue in their integrity to the close of life, the world being fraught with corruptions. From the extreme infirmity of our nature, it is the easiest thing in the world to catch infection, and to contract pollution even from the slightest touch. The prophet, then, with good reason, bids the wicked depart from him, that he may advance in the fear of God without obstruction. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.115

Pray Psalm 119.116-120.
Call on the Lord to keep You in His pathway and to guard you from all evil and affliction this day and throughout the week ahead.

Sing Psalm 119.116-120.
(Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
Uphold me by Your Word, Lord, and keep me from all shame.
Let me live ever forward to glorify Your Name.
Lord, hold me up! Sustain me in all Your holy way.
To keep Your statutes train me, and help me to obey.

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.

In trembling and in fear, Lord, my flesh before You quails,
for when Your Word is near, Lord, then dread in me prevails.
I fear Your holy wrath, Lord - a sinful wretch am I!
Help me to keep Your path, Lord, to live and not to die.

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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