Be good to your servant while I live,(Ps. 119:17-24 NIV)
that I may obey your word.
Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.
My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times.
You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
those who stray from your commands.
Remove from me scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.
Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.
Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counsellors.
As the Psalmist faces difficulty, distress and opposition, the word of the Lord comforts and counsels him. He requests that the Lord be good to him and he promises to obey God’s word. The goodness of the Lord will help him to obey. The Psalmist is humble before the Lord, recognising that he has no inherent right to the goodness of the Lord and that he needs God’s support to help him obey God’s word.
We never master God’s word. That can be seen in the request that the Psalmist makes for the Lord to open his eyes that he might see the wonderful things in the word of God. Every Christian has been given the Holy Spirit and He is our teacher, opening to us the deep things of God hidden in the word.
We all are strangers and pilgrims on this earth. We are citizens of heaven and need the heavenly revelation found in God’s word to guide us. The Psalmist has spent many hours in the word of God. His appetite for the word is so great that he can describe himself as being consumed with longing for the word of God at all times. If that doesn’t describe us, the time to start developing this kind of appetite is now.
The Lord rebukes those who do not follow God’s word. The Psalmist describes them as arrogant. It is arrogant of us to neglect or disobey God’s word. The arrogance arises because it is like saying that we know better, or we don’t need God’s counsel. These are wisdom Psalms and there is a contrast between the wise way and the foolish way. Those who have chosen the foolish way are not content to pursue their chosen path, they engage in slandering the Psalmist and those who have chosen the wise way. The Psalmist recognises that the scorn and contempt of the foolish has come his way because he is following the Lord’s commands. It is a sad state of affairs when rulers of a nation or of a church sit together and slander those who seek to live according to God’s word. There is a high level of intolerance shown to anyone who seeks to live according to God’s word today. The Psalmist seeks his comfort and counsel through meditating on God’s word. The word of God is a delight and is trustworthy to be our counsellor.
Lord God, our appetite for Your word seems so inferior to what we see in the Psalmist. We have so
many resources today to help us understand Your word, forgive us for our frequent neglect of Your
word. Help us to get to that place in life where Your word is a delight to us, where we’re longing to
know more of what Your word teaches. Instruct us in the way of salvation for Christ our Saviour’s
sake, in whose name we pray. Amen.