Psalm 119:161-168: Princes Persecute Me Without Cause
June 21, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
It is one thing generally speaking to be under attack, but it is another thing to be under attack without any reason for it. It is still worse to be under attack when the person who is attacking you without any reason is a person of considerable authority. Imagine what it would be like then to find that “princes persecute you without cause” (119:161)? What would you do when a president begins a personal vendetta against you for no reason? Where would you find the strength to keep on going, the wisdom to know what to do, the power to survive—and not only survive but thrive?
The psalmist has one answer to that: that strength comes from God’s Word. But that one answer is broken down into many subsections. Here’s what he does to survive the strain of being attacked by a person of great authority when there is no reason for that attack.
- He has a greater fear. “My heart stands in awe of your words” (119:161). However fearful a prince may be, he has a greater fear still.
- He has a greater joy. “I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil” (119:162). When other things are taken away from him, he still has great spoil, great treasure, in God’s Word.
- He has a greater morality. “I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law” (119:163). His code is higher than that of those who are persecuting him.
- He has a greater discipline. “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws” (119:164). He does not merely “have a quiet time” or “do his devotions”; his discipline is substantial and regular and constant.
- He has a greater peace. “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble” (119:165). When other causes of peace are taken away from him, this one cannot be take away.
- He has a greater hope. “I hope for your salvation, O Lord, and I do your commandments” (119:166). His future may be in put jeopardy at one level by those attacking him, but his future hope of salvation is not impacted or diminished in any way whatsoever.
- He has a greater spirituality. “My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly” (119:167). When others look askance at his piety, he has a source of greater spirituality, the love of God and his Word.
- He has a greater integrity. “I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you” (119:168). When a prince threatens him with bringing out secrets against him, he knows he is secure for his ways are all open before God.
Perhaps this morning you are facing an unwarranted attack from a powerful person. Or if not, you may well face that situation one day. And if you do, then remember: the strength to survive will come from God’s Word: greater fear, joy, morality, discipline, peace, hope, spirituality, integrity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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