PSALM 119 MEDITATION: WEEK TWENTY Look on my affliction and deliver me

Verses 153-160

WEEK: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

October 26: Verse 160--"The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever." The psalmist summarizes God's word with two ideas: truth and eternality. God's word holds these two absolutely. This means that what he says is absolutely trustworthy, for it is always true and always present. But let us always realize the direction of travel here: the Word is true and eternal because God is true and eternal. He--the lover of our souls--is absolutely trustworthy. Also important for the context of this psalm is the realization that this also means his justice is absolutely trustworthy. Those who worship and follow themselves will in the end experience his sure wrath. For those who worship and follow God, the end is endless relationship with him--also known as heaven. Oh, yeah!

October 25: Verse 158--"I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands." When I first started looking at this section a few days ago, I considered the 'disgust' in this passage to be a conscious choice. As I read it over this morning, though, the thought came to mind of the natural human response to something repulsive (Like the time I discovered tiny maggots in a dried fig I was about to eat. It was all I could do to keep from upchucking right there in front of a class of 12 three-year olds.) . Could it be that the psalmist's response here is more like my response to the maggots--that the very notion of faithlessness repulses him to the point of vomiting? Maybe.

October 24: Verse 157--"Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies." Two things come to mind. First, if this is David--and I think it is--did he not swerve with Bathsheba? But then, maybe that's a good point to make. David was God-focused when surrounded by enemies, but he was done in by his own desires. Second, do you think there is any skoosh room in not swerving? Is it an all or nothing? Is it like the trendline on a data chart?

October 23: Verses 156, 159--"Great is your mercy, O LORD; give me life according to your rules... Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love." While these two verses are separated by two verses, they may just form an inclusio/chiasm: mercy--steadfast love, rules--precepts. The verses between the inclusio deal with the enemies of the psalmist and of God. The contrast is stark. There really are two different worlds here--two different peoples.

October 22: Verse 155--"Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes." At first glance this sounds like works righteousness, but since other passages (Eph 2:8-9 for example) teach that salvation is by faith, the passage cannot mean that. What might it mean? It is possible, even likely, that the salvation here is not eschatological salvation, but rather temporal salvation--deliverance from trouble, etc. It may also refer to the experience of God's steadfast love. Either way (or something else), their life choices continually drive them further from God and his ways. Choices matter.

October 21: Verses 153-154--"Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law. Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise!" This brings to mind the idea of 'facing' so common in the OT. When the psalmist calls God to look on his affliction, he is asking for more than an informing glance; he is asking for person-to-person, face-to-face relationship. It is here that deliverance and life are found. It is here that we understand the promise. It is here that we live lives that do not forget God's law. It is here that we love.

October 20: Affliction. Deliverance. Life.

All verses are quoted from the ESV.

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