As we learned in the last post, as God’s servants, everything we have is from his hand. So we must humbly remember that even what we give to God was first given to us by God. This understanding of his position was at the heart of David’s prayer and praise that we read from 1 Chronicles. This understanding of his status as a servant (or steward) is why David went on to say:
“My soul is crushed with longing After Your ordinances at all times.” – Psalms 119:20 NASB
David’s passion for the word of God is palpable. He was a steward who lived off the grace of God’s word and was crushed with longing for more. In language similar to the Song of Solomon, David longed for God’s word like a lover for his companion. In Psalm 42:1-2, David longed as a deer panting for water—a matter of life or death.
Psalm 119:131; Psalm 63:1; Psalm 119:40 all communicate the same truth in slightly different ways. God’s word was vital to David. He seemed to understand what Jesus so famously pointed out to the devil in Matthew 4:4 “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.”
We might ask ourselves, “Am I crushed with longing after God’s ordinances?” The answer should be yes! And yes for many reasons, not least of which is that God’s word literally sustains life. It is not only vital, it is our vitality.God’s word sustains our life. It is not only vital, it is our vitality. #biblestudy Click To Tweet
“You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, Who wander from Your commandments. Take away reproach and contempt from me, For I observe Your testimonies. Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes.” – Psalms 119:21-23 NASB
Verse 21 is a fundamental truth statement. God rebukes the arrogant, the cursed, and whoever wanders from His commandments, full stop—following that David wrote that he was not one of the arrogant and that he desired God to take away reproach and contempt that were clearly present in his life.
How this was manifested is seen in verse 23. Princes sat and talked against him. We’ve all wrestled with wagging tongues and spiteful people. It’s a challenging truth that James taught us—our tongues can set the world on fire. What’s exceptionally hard is when other people’s tongues are setting your world on fire.It’s a challenging truth that James taught us—our tongues can set the world on fire. What’s exceptionally hard is when other people's tongues are setting your world on fire. #gossip Click To Tweet
But David also provided us with the antidote for when people speak against us. This could take the form of gossip, defamation, slander, ridicule, etc. David faced all these things throughout his life. While princes sat around and talked about him, what did he do? He meditated on God’s word. But why? And how did that work? This is where it all comes back to who David’s counselors were. Let’s look at verse 24:
“Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors.” – Psalms 119:24 NASB
The last half of that verse, when translated, reads, “they are the men of my counsel.” How does meditating on God’s word help in the face of personal attacks? The answer is that in the midst of chaos, you are giving heed to better counsel.In the midst of chaos, WE can give heed to better counsel. #wordofgod Click To Tweet
But remember, David didn’t have David. He didn’t get to read the book of Psalms. But he did have others to look too. He could read the testimony of Moses, Joshua, Caleb. He could meditate on God’s faithfulness with Joseph. He could sing the songs of previous prophets.
God’s word is the counsel we need when life gets hard, or when we face people who relentlessly talk against us. This counsel is better than social media and public opinion, it’s better than friends and family, and according to Psalm 13, it’s even better than the counsel of our own hearts. David’s counsel can be our counsel—the word of God.
Let’s tie all of this together. Each of us is a servant of God. As such, we don’t brashly demand anything from God, but we can and should appeal to Him to deal bountifully with us. And the bounty we’re seeking is peace and rest so that we can cease from striving.
The reason is simple; we want to keep God’s word in joy. We know we will need open eyes for this too, acknowledging that we are strangers living off of God’s grace. In this life, we will face trial and confusion and hurt. There will be many who offer us counsel, there will be many who even speak against us, but we must remember that God’s word is our true counsel.
Have you been in a position in your life where the counsel of God’s word was in opposition to the counsel you received from people? Which did you choose? How did it turn out? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.