Quite plainly the psalmist who wrote Psalm 119 had a rough life. Because he kept God's law he, according to verses 22, 23, was reproached and held in contempt. In verses 25, 26 he writes "My soul cleaveth unto the dust. Quicken me according to Thy word. I have declared my ways, and Thou heardest me; teach me Thy statues." Now that his soul cleaveth to the dust means that he lies prostrate in the dust so full of grief is he. Our versification expresses it thus (PRC Psalter):
My grieving soul revive, O Lord,
According to Thy word;
To Thee my ways I have declared,
And Thou my prayer hast heard.
Therefore he prays that God will quicken, that is, revive him. But we are so apt at once to call down God's wrath upon the enemy, and it takes a long time before we pray that God will teach us His statutes, so that we have peace and comfort.
How spiritual then is the psalmist! He had gone with his troubles to the right Person and with the request for that which would help him. He wanted to know God's statutes more fully, and does not want to hide his love for God in order to have a pleasant life for his flesh. He wants to serve God more fully. God comes first, not his flesh.
Looking to the future, when the antichrist is here, and we cannot buy or sell, when things will really get rough for us, shall we withdraw and hide our love to God? Or shall we, as the psalmist does, pray for a clearer insight as to what pleases God? Shall we seek to please our flesh, or our God Who is our Creator and Savior?
The answer is plain in these verses. Ridicule, contempt, persecution must never slow us down in works of love to God. They should spur us on to walk more fully as those redeemed by the blood of Christ and born with His life. Anti-christian ridicule and persecution should move us to a more Christian witness, not to more fleshly comfort.
Read: Psalm 119:25-40
Psalter versification: #324:1
Meditations on the Heidelberg Catechism
Through the Bible in One Year
I Samuel 26
I Samuel 27
I Samuel 28
Quote for Reflection:
"… We are at the same time reminded that we ought to undertake the care of our brethren; for it would be a shame for any one to be content with his own salvation, and so to neglect his brethren. It is then necessary to join together these two things, - To stir up ourselves to repentance, - and then to try to lead others with us." – John Calvin