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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

January 26 2024


Friday, January 26

Keeping the Right Focus

 

Psalm 119:161-168

“SHIN”

161 Princes persecute me without a cause, But my heart stands in awe of Your word.

162 I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure.

163 I hate and abhor lying, But I love Your law.

164 Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous judgments.

165 Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.

166 LORD, I hope for Your salvation, And I do Your commandments.

167 My soul keeps Your testimonies, And I love them exceedingly.

168 I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies, For all my ways are before You.

 

Psalm 119:161-168 is the twenty-first stanza of this psalm, and every line or verse begins with the twenty-first letter of the Hebrew alphabet “SHIN”, in the Hebrew Bible. During our time of study in Psalm 119, we have noticed that the writer practiced a balanced life of faith, hope and love by keeping the right perspective about life and what was going on around him.  We especially notice this quality in this stanza.

 

In verse 161-162, the psalmist kept a deep respect for God’s Word and rejoiced despite the difficult challenges he was facing. Back in verse 23, we saw that the princes, the government authorities, began their campaign against him by speaking against him (v. 23), but now they were persecuting him in a direct way. They were probably trying to destroy him financially and otherwise, but the psalmist was not afraid of his persecutors because he stood in awe of God's Word. Once again, we learn that when we fear God, we need not fear anyone else. He respected the Word and rejoiced in the Word at the same time, for the joy of the Lord and the greatness of the Lord are friends, not enemies. The princes wanted to rob him, but he found great wealth in the Word of God (see vv. 14, 72). The promises of God in the Bible are better than money in the bank, because they will never lose their value, and nobody can take them from us.

 

In verse 163, the psalmist expressed hate for lying, falsehood and deceit but love for the Law and the truth of God’s Word. We are instructed in Psalm 97:10 to “love the Lord, hate evil".  Throughout this psalm he reminded us that he loved God's law but hated every false way (vv. 97, 104, 127-128). Here he declared that he loved God's law but hated falsehood. Revelation 21:17; 22:15 also reminds with that “whoever loves and practices a lie will not enter the heavenly city and will be banished from God's presence forever”. Today we are surrounded by the wicked “who breathe out lies”! Instead of being discouraged, we should turn to the truth of God’s law that helps us keep the right focus!

 

In verses 164-165, we observe that the psalmist practiced praise and worship and as a result experience peace and stability. The devoted Jewish worshiper would praise God and pray three times a day (Psalm 55:17; Dan. 6:10-11), but the psalmist went beyond that and worshiped seven times a day. This phrase “seven times a day”, means "often, or “many times”, beyond what is expected." The legalist would set a goal and be proud that he reached it; the Spirit-filled believer sets no goal but goes beyond any goal he might have set. Just as prayer can bring peace to our hearts (Phil. 4:4-7), so praise can bring peace as well.

 

Focusing on the Lord, asking for nothing, and totally lost in our praise of Him, has a way of making the problems look much smaller and the future much brighter. But praise also helps us to have poise in our Christian walk and to not stumble (Jude 24) or cause others to stumble (1 Cor. 8:13; Rom. 14:13). The singing saint is a stable saint, walking on a level path even when the enemy digs pits and sets up obstacles.

 

Finally in verses 166-168, we find the psalmist “hoping” or literally waiting on the LORD for His salvation and deliverance. But while he was “waiting” he continued to be obedient! Like the psalmist, we are waiting for "the salvation of the Lord," when the Lord shall come and set His creation and His people free (Rom. 8:18-25; 13:11; Heb. 9:28; 1 Peter 1:9). This is the "blessed hope" that every believer anticipates and longs for (Titus 2:13). But as we wait and hope, we must walk and work, for we want to be found faithful when Jesus comes (Matt. 24:45-51).

 

Yes, when we love His Word, we will also love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:6-8) and live like those who are ready to meet their Lord (1 John 2:28). We will keep focused on the truth of God’s Word and not be overwhelmed by the deceitfulness of the wicked all around us.

 

God bless!

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