Meditation on Psalm 119:51-52
The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law. When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord.
There are two significant truths about these verses we should be aware of in our daily walks as Christians. The first truth is that we as Christians will be persecuted in this life. Jesus says in Matthew chapter 10:22, “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake”; he also says earlier in this chapter (verse 16) that he is “sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves”. We can be assured that the world will reject us when we keep the law of God. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18). The world hates God and does not submit to God’s law (Romans 8:1-8). They are proud and arrogant; therefore they will hate you just like they hate God. The psalmist brings this to our attention in Psalm 119:51 when he says “the insolent utterly deride me.” In other words, the proud continually mock or slander him. This should not be a surprise to us. Jesus said this would happen. Our response to this persecution should be the same as the psalmist’s: “but I do not turn away from your law”. Why is it that we will not turn away from this law? That brings us to the second significant truth, which is found in verse 52.
The Bible constantly tells us that the law of God gives us life! Proverbs 7:2 tells us to “keep God’s commands as the apple of our eye, so that we may live”. David said in Psalm 19:7 that “the law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul”. He also says in Psalm 19:9 that “the rules of the LORD are more to be desired than gold”, and are like honey to his lips. It is no surprise that the psalmist takes comfort in the rules from of old. There is a threefold use of the law that would be helpful to consider at this point. The first use of the law is to be a mirror, showing us how perfect and holy God is, while revealing to us how sinful we are. This is valuable information because it aids us in our walk of sanctification and helps us to be more in awe of who God is. The next use of the law is that it serves to restrain evil. The law serves to protect the righteous from the unjust. The dread of punishment for breaking a law can prevent crimes from occurring. The final use of the law is that it reveals what is pleasing to God. As Christians we want to honor and glorify God with everything we do. Therefore, we must know the law and keep it close to our hearts so that we may live according to the purpose of God, bearing Christ’s image. Jesus said in John 14:15, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” This does not mean we receive our justification because of our works, rather our works prove that we are justified and truly know and love God. The rules of God are for our comfort; they reveal to us the path of life. If you want to obey and delight in God, then you must abide in God’s word.
Are you being persecuted? Does the world hate you like it hated Jesus? Is there a difference in your life compared to the lives of those who are in the world? Do you take comfort and delight in the law of the Lord? Is obeying God’s commands a dreadful task for you? I encourage you to pray and ask that God would give you a heart that delights in him and his rules.