Smeared With Lies (Meditation on Psalm 119:69-70)
The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.
There is a cost to being a true Christian in this world. There is a cost to delighting in and obeying and God’s law. History has shown this over and over again, as well as the text in front of us. We see that the insolent, or less specifically the unbeliever, has a negative response to the psalmist and his righteous behavior. I believe there are many reasons for this but we are going to focus on just one. It just so happens to be stated in the next verse; “their heart is unfeeling like fat”. This phrase means that the unbeliever’s heart has no delight in or any sensitivity to God or his law, and therefore Gods people. John 3:20 states that unbelievers hate the light, and this light is God’s law that exposes our sin (Romans 3:20b).
But why would the wicked slander the righteous with lies if it’s only God and his law that he hates? The Bible gives a couple answers. First, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his disciples that they are salt and light. Second, Paul tells the Ephesians that they are to be imitators of God and to take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them (Ephesians 5:1,11). So it’s no wonder that the unbeliever does his best to conjure lies that could damage the reputation of the godly. We have all experienced the temptation to stray from Gods law in order to be accepted in the eyes of unbelieving friends, coworkers, or family. But that is not the response of the psalmist. He keeps the precepts of God and delights in his law. By doing these things, he is the light that exposes the sin of those around him.
The psalmist would have also been a prophetic voice in exposing the sin around him in his day. Greg Bahnsen says this about true obedience to Gods law, “genuine Biblical obedience cannot be restricted to a concern for our own personal conduct, but full obedience embraces an interest in the obedience of those around me to the laws of God. The Christian must assume the responsibility to exhort those in his home, church, society, etc. to keep the commandments of the Lord.” I exhort you to meditate on these verses and ask yourself, am I giving in to the temptation to stray or soften the Lords commandments for the sake of gaining approval? Or am I following in the psalmists footsteps delighting in God’s law and keeping His precepts? Or better yet, am I following the Lord Jesus footsteps who is the true substance of this psalm.
I pray this text points us to our merciful savior, Jesus Christ, who abided in, delighted in, and obeyed God’s law perfectly for us. And when he was reviled, slandered, and mocked, he entrusted his soul to the Father. He has given us an example to follow and the hope that as we share in his sufferings, we will share in his glory if we continue faithful to the end. He has not left us to do this on our own, but He has mercifully given us His Spirit and His Word that powerfully works in us to abide, delight, and obey (1 Thessalonians 2:13).